4 Ways to Have a Happy Kitchen

Hey, lighten up! There are easy ways to get that happy feeling in your kitchen.
goodbye guilt

Avoid Unhealthy Dinners

Mix and match: Stock pantry staples like whole grains, beans, nuts and dried fruit. Shop weekly for produce and lean protein, then cook ahead (think hard-boiled eggs and grilled chicken). A healthy meal (say, farro salad with chickpeas, roasted red peppers and feta) is now minutes away.

See our Every Day pantry essentials

Get Out of Recipe Ruts

Shake off menu blues by dusting off your cookbooks. Member service Eat Your Books (eatyourbooks.com) lets you search its database of 100,000 titles. Make shopping lists and search by on-hand ingredient (in way less time than it’d take to check 14 different indexes for "chicken").

How to get the most out of your recipes

Test Kitchen Challenge No more boring dinners!

Don't Waste Food

Refashion "vintage" leftovers, says dietitian Jackie Newgent, author of Big Green Cookbook. Puree grilled veggies with hummus for a dip, or mix rice pilaf with ground poultry for burgers. And don't overlook scraps: Toss clean strips of citrus peel into hardened brown sugar to soften it.

Turn restaurant leftovers into a new dinner

Make a meal for Thanksgiving Friday

Learn when foods truly expire

Remove Kitchen Clutter

Toss out all your extras, from dishes to spices, says Julie Morgenstern, author of SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life: A Four- Step Guide to Getting Unstuck. Then, establish activity zones -- food prep and cooking, serving, cleanup and recycling, and paperwork -- and stay in the zone.

VIDEO: How to clean up clutter

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