What do you do when lasagna explodes all over your kitchen and it looks like it will take hours to clean up? In this post, I’ll go over my lasagna fiasco and how I cleaned up in only 20 minutes.
How not to cook lasagna
For those of you who know me, you’ll know that I’m not a cook. Not only am I not the kind of home cook that makes brownies or baked potatoes, I’m not even a “boil spaghetti and throw some sauce on so I can adult at life” kind of cook.
In fact, about a year ago, I decided that I was done cooking dinner. As the stay at home parent in this family, it SHOULD seem like cooking dinner is just part of my job, right? How can you just decide to be done doing something that is as vital as feeding your family?
Well, that is, I’m done cooking dinner on a nightly basis. After one too many times of yelling at my toddler when I was trying to make something edible and failing miserably, I decided that this was not the kind of mom I wanted to be. I didn’t want to be the mom that put burnt, soggy dinner on the table every night and lost her cool in order to do it.
I wanted to be the fun mom, that didn’t care about what others thought or what healthy meal craze was currently going on. Instead of spending that time yelling and stressing out, I wanted to spend that time playing and bonding. You know, doing the things that I’m actually good at.
And so, we switched from cooking dinner on a daily basis to doing freezer meals in batches and haven’t looked back.
So, when I decided one day that I was going to use up a box of lasagna noodles in my pantry that had been sitting there since who knows when, you know that this was a really big deal. I had never made a lasagna before IN MY LIFE. What in the world prompted me to start now, when I have two children at home, one of which being a newborn?
When it came time to prepare the lasagna, all was going really well. My baby decided for once to nap in the Rock and Play while my 3 year old was off napping in his room. I quickly rushed around, pulling all the ingredients out, running to my computer to read the recipe, then to the spices cabinet to grab the ingredients I needed.
All was going well. Until….I dropped the giant mixing bowl filled with the sauce mixture. Luckily, it landed flat and I didn’t lose the entirety of our dinner like the time I dropped an entire pot of chili. But the sauce splattered EVERYWHERE.
It splattered on the floor, the dishwasher, the cabinets, my hair — even the wall! I scooped the bowl up and finished the lasagna with what I had left and threw it in the oven to bake.
The heart pumping disaster was over, but now I was left with the aftermath. And while it was tempting to wipe the sauce off my face and just go sit down and and eat a cookie, I decided to take twenty minutes to quickly clean up as much as I possibly could.
Here’s what my kitchen looked like:
How to speed clean your kitchen in 20 minutes
1) Clean up saucy mess.
Obviously this isn’t a typical step. But when you have sauceaggedon splattered all over your kitchen, it’s a great first step.
2) Throw out trash.
I start all my non-sauce cleaning sessions with throwing out trash. It’s the quickest way to gain momentum.
3) Put away left out food items.
This includes things like cereal boxes, peanut butter jars and oatmeal from breakfast.
4) Corral dirty dishes.
This step takes dirty dishes that are scattered all across the kitchen and quarantines them into one small(ish) area by the sink. Even if you stopped here, you’d be left with a kitchen that looks infinitely cleaner than the one you started with.
5) Fill dishwasher with dirty dishes.
Next up is to quickly load the dishwasher as fast as possible. If your dishwasher is clean, empty it. If it’s full of dirty dishes, run it.
6) Hand wash dirty pots with time remaining.
At this point, if you still have time, you can start tackling the hand washing. No stress if you don’t get around to washing every single item. You’re making progress!
The Final Result
This is what my kitchen looked like at the end of my 20-minute cleaning session:
Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Does it look soo much better than it had 20 minutes prior? You betcha.
Don’t set a goal of “Clean kitchen.” That sets you up for failure. What if a kid starts crying or a diaper needs to be changed and you’ve only cleaned half of the kitchen? If you focus on reaching perfection, you’ll fall short every time. Focus on making progress and every step you take will be a success.