5 Kitchen Hacks to Help You Out in 2018

Lately, we’ve all been emailing — lots of people — to get their Christmas shopping done. And now January is upon us, and that means a whole lot of thanks for getting the essentials done. But while these calendars and gift lists are great, they don’t account for another significant, unavoidable item of the end-of-year (well, not as much as the rush of last-minute buying).

Every month of the year, it seems, people discover an array of mistakes they make, and the mistake we make most in the kitchen is not keeping up with the email that we probably should have forwarded more than a year ago.

Related: Shrink, Stretch, Redeem! The 3 TIPS Every Cooking Expert Uses

Email crumbs

The name “cinnamon rolls” gets stuck in your head, and the moment you make your own in the dishwasher the very next day, your oven becomes overwhelmed. You wouldn’t ask someone to move their box, so please, don’t ask someone to move the liner and insulation from the back to the top of the dishwasher compartment, especially when it has shown up above, instead of, say, the food vessel you use to hold your cookware. That may look like a leaky valve, but it’s just supposed to be there, and holding onto it will keep everything safe from getting out of whack. Do you have stainless steel drips rings? (Do not!)

Watch the video for other stovemount clangers! (Plus: more kitchen tips, tricks and trends.)

First you won’t realize how much you need

It’s easy to get lulled into a sense of laziness when you are early into the year, and “just” doing the usual, but this is the time to draw out the end of year’s supplies you may have stockpiled or forgotten (or maybe that storage drawer still says “seasonal food stuffs”). But you will really realize how few items you need when there’s just so much of everything and it’s more of a challenge to get through than it needs to be.

Cake recipes are too familiar, but more foolable

Just one of my resolutions this year: more cake experiments and fewer cookie recipes. After all, unless you like baking, you don’t like doing the actual baking. Now, that’s definitely true for a lot of people, and you should thank them. But there are actually a lot of people who not only appreciate learning recipes and ways to incorporate new flavors, but also prefer baking with unfamiliar ingredients and/or flavors. (Meanwhile, if you’re already baking great, why not just call it a cookie now?)

Half of our life is now cake time, but then only half of cake time is always cake time

Trying to figure out a recipe that you just don’t understand, even for a tricky recipe that uses more complicated ingredients that you don’t even have on hand, can be a disaster. You hate cold water; your family hates sometimes using cake mixes; you don’t know what a cake pan is, so nobody can help you; and everyone hates using yet another kind of baking dish. So your life is a series of “If it doesn’t float, it doesn’t make the cake” scenarios that can lead to freakouts and major kitchen disaster zones. Instead, keep experimenting with recipes that are significantly easier to cook and master, and take what you learn from your tried-and-true cakes (after that 1,800-calorie Krispy Kreme Whoopie Pie) and put it into your other recipes to help you out with less-hard to get ingredients that might have already been in your routine.

Meal planning for a busy household will keep you on track

It’s not just the chore that can be onerous to do each day, but the actual amount of time it takes you to make a meal each day, especially during the year that every day is the 10th Day of Christmas. Any task that you’re doing over-planning will be too much of a hassle and result in too much food waste. Here are some suggestions for following a pre-planned meal plan throughout the year.

The only thing more tricky than planning a meal is planning your family’s lunch — since it always ends up missing someone — and certainly wondering if you should eat it, since you’re generally pretty okay with it or not. But going back and forth on this makes for an impossible task and makes your food cost a lot more than it has to be, and knowing that in advance makes the tough decision easy to make.

This article originally appeared on Foodandwine.com

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