I am a house proud person who cannot tolerate clutter in the home. However, as a working Mom who is always short of time, I admit the fridge is often overlooked. As a result, I often end up buying duplicate portions of groceries and had to throw away expired food items. For this new year, one of my resolutions is to keep the fridge well-organised. Not only will an organised fridge keep the food fresh for a longer time, it helps to cut down on grocery costs as well as time in cleaning out the clutter.
Let me show you why I was aghast to open my refrigerator after CNY. It’s messy with food groups all randomly chucked in. The air flow is not optimum as the valves were blocked. This makes the fridge works harder at keeping the contents cool, adding to my electricity bill.
One fine Sunday, while the children were out at the park with Daddy, I decided to give the refrigerator a make-over with simple home organisation stuff I found at Ikea. I am pleased that it now looks much much neater.
Here, let me share 3 simple tips to transform your refrigerator:
1. Bag it!
Organise the fresh produce in the freezer by categories, put them into these Ikea Ziplock Bags, then label with washi tapes (using a permanent marker). Now I can tell at one glance what I need to replenish and how much stocks I’ve left before I head to the supermarket. The bags keep the contents fresh and also keep the items from contaminating the other produce.
2. Bin it!
Compartmentalize your cool zones and group similar grocery items with these Ikea bins so you know exactly where to reach for items when you need it. The bins maximise fridge space and significantly reduce clutter. Dispose away all items that have passed their ‘Best Use By’ dates.
3. Bottle it!
Since I have several ingredients for salads tucked away in different parts of the refrigerator, why not chop them up and store in jars? What is appealing about these salad jars is that we can prep them on Sunday, and they will be good for consumption till end of the week. Eating a jar full of colours make meal times more fun and appealing. These KORKEN Glass Jar with lid from Ikea are ideal for making these bottle salads as its rubber gasket seals in the freshness. Since they are portable and packs a punch (in nutrients), it makes a good dinner option for Daddy to bring along for his night classes.
How to Assemble the Salads:
1. Start with a dressing, vinaigrette or good old extra-virgin olive oil. Keep your jar upright to avoid dressing from touching the veggies and making them soggy.
2. Add your harder veggies like carrots, radish and chickpeas. Then layer your other veggies; like cherry tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, bell pepper and cucumber.
3. Pack the protein. For a more filling meal, add a choice of protein like grilled chicken or ground beef, sauteed tofu, cubed or shredded cheese, tuna, diced boiled egg etc.
4. Time for the greens. This should take up about 1/2 of your jar. Make sure your greens are dry. Try using several different types of greens for variety. I like romaine, kale and baby spinach.
5. Healthy fats are important. They help your body absorb all of the vitamins and minerals from the veggies. Add some nuts, seeds or avocado to your jar.
Keep the salad in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy. Most salads will keep for about 5 days. The fun part comes when you’re ready to eat because you get to shake the jar to distribute the dressing. Once shaken, pour the salad into a big plate or bowl and enjoy.
Here are 5 easy DIY Bottle Salads, one for each weekday:
- 7 Layer Salad with Avocado Dressing
- 1 Romaine Lettuce
- 1 can Chick Peas, drained and boiled
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, diced and boiled
- 1 cup Frozen Peas, thawed and boiled
- 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup Red Onion, sliced
- 2 Hard-boiled Eggs, sliced
- 1 cup Shredded Cheese (Cheddar or Mozzarella)
- Few slices Ham, cooked and diced
- 1 large ripe Avocado
- 1 cup low-fat Plain Greek Yogurt
- 2 tbs Lemon Juice
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 2 tbs Honey
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a blender, cover and blend until smooth.
- Layer the salad ingredients in the jar, with salad dressing at the bottom, followed by chick peas, bell pepper, green peas, cherry tomatoes, onions, ham, hard-boiled eggs then finally greens and cheese.
- 1 Bag of Mixed Salad Greens
- 1 skinless chicken breast, grilled
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Mandarin Oranges, peeled
- 1/4 cup sliced Almonds, toasted
- 1 tbsp White Sesame Seeds
- 1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp Grated Fresh Ginger
- 1 tbsp finely chopped Chinese Parsley
- Juice of 1 Lime
- 1/4 cup Oil
- Preheat the oven to 185 C. Place chicken in a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub chicken with one tablespoon olive oil. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
- In a bowl, combine the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, and lime juice. Grate the ginger directly into the bowl. Finely chop the parsley, then add to the bowl. Pour in the oil slowly as you whisk continuously. Whisk until completely combined.
- When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes. Dice the chicken into chunks, then add to the skillet with the sesame seeds and toss to coat the chicken.
- Assemble the salads in your jars in the following order: dressing, chicken, mandarin oranges, toasted almonds and greens. Twist on the caps and store your salads in the fridge.
- 1 small Pumpkin, diced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup Kidney Beans, boiled
- 1/4 Red Pepper, diced
- 2 cups Baby Spinach
- 1 tbsp Dried Cranberries
- 1 tbsp Sunflower Seeds
- 1/4 cup Mango Puree
- 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tablespoons Water
- Preheat oven to 180C. Place the pumpkin in a bowl, add oil, and stir to coat. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a pan, and roast for 20 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked. Allow to cool.
- Puree the mango and mix with the balsamic vinegar and water. Set aside.
- Start layering the salad in the jar, beginning with the mango balsamic vinaigrette. Top with kidney beans, diced red pepper, roasted pumpkin, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and baby spinach.
- Screw top on securely, and store in the fridge. When you're ready to eat, give the jar a good shake to mix everything up and enjoy!
- ¼ cup Red Onion slices
- ½ cup Cucumber slices
- 4 large Red Radishes, sliced
- ¼ Avocado, chopped
- 2 pcs grilled skinless Chicken Breast, chopped
- 1 cup of Baby Spinach or Romaine Lettuce
- 2 tbsp sliced Almonds, toasted
- ½ cup fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 tbsp Honey
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- ¼ tsp Ground Pepper
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Chia Seeds
- 1 ½ tbsp Olive Oil
- Make dressing by whisking together all ingredients.
- Take a mason jars and layer salad ingredients. Start with 3 tablespoons of dressing in each jar, divide remaining salad ingredients in half and start layering in this order: onions, cucumbers, radishes, chicken, avocado, greens and almonds.
- When ready to serve, shake each jar and pour into a bowl.
- 2 kiwi, peeled and diced
- 2 cups Pineapple, diced
- 1 cup Orange, diced
- 1 cup fresh Strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 cup fresh Blueberries
- 1/4 cup plain Yogurt
- 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- Divide fruit between 4 mason jars and layer (starting with kiwi, pineapples, orange, strawberries then blueberries). Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk all dressing ingredients until smooth. Pour dressing over layered fruit.
- Cap lid on jars and refrigerate until ready to serve.
With these 3 simple tips, the fridge is now more organised and tidy. I can see everything at one glance and there are no more clutter. Plus these salad jars look so delectable and easy to reach anytime of the day. Here’s to a more organised and healthier life!
IKEA ITEMS USED: KORKEN Jar with lid ($2.90), ISTAD Plastic Bags (Small, $2.90/60pcs), ISTAD Plastic Bags (Medium, $3.90/50pcs), ISTAD Plastic Bags (Large, $5.50/30pcs), RATIONELL VARIERA Box (Muted Colours, $9.90/each).
Disclaimer: This post is a collaboration with IKEA Singapore. We received a gift card to purchase some of the items mentioned in this post.