I decided to clean out the kitchen pantry.

I couldn’t stand it anymore. Everything was scattered around with no system in place to store items. Canned food mixed with flour and pasta. It was horrible.

Sound familiar? If not, then you don’t have two boys, a wife and mother-in-law who rummage around looking for things.

I finally figured out the system they use. Find an empty spot and put it there, no matter what it is! It seems this system holds true for the refrigerators, pots and pans, and anything else that needs to be stored in the kitchen.

Now, as a chef, you can imagine how annoyed I was. In a professional kitchen, we have to have everything in its place.

But what put me over the top was shelf liners. Who in the world came up with that idea for kitchens? Probably a great salesman. Companies can’t sell them fast enough to cover dirty and stained shelves. Here’s an idea, how about removable cleanable shelves like you have in your refrigerator. Restaurant kitchens don’t use shelf liners, they use cleanable vented shelves.

When I started cleaning the pantry every shelf was littered with flour, rice, sugar -- you name it. All the liners were rolled up, wrinkled and just added to the mess.

That’s when I made up my mind. Sell the house, build a new house and design my own kitchen with lots of storage, cleanable shelves, a computerized inventory system, walk-in refrigerator and freezers, and a state-of-the-art oven.

Then I heard my wife yelling to hurry up and finish, “You need to get dinner ready.” I began putting everything away and realized I had eight different barbecue sauces, six different hot sauces, five different mustards, olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, walnut oil and some kind of Jamaican peppers. Maybe I added to the clutter a little myself. But I still hate shelf liners!

Now what about a quick dinner.

Lemon Herbed Chicken and Potatoes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

Juice of 2 fresh lemons

3 teaspoons oregano

1 cup chopped red onions

3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped

1/2 tablespoons olive oil

2 Idaho Russet potatoes (cut in quarters length wise)

2 tablespoons butter (butter flavor spread)

4 chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat

salt and pepper to taste lightly

Directions

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, oregano, garlic and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Whisk to combine.

Place the chicken breast and potatoes and onions in a 2 -inch roasting pan so they are in a single layer. Add the herb mixture. Coat chicken and potatoes well. Cook in 350 degrees regular oven, 30 minutes until golden brown and no pink in chicken (165 degrees).

Costa Magoulas is dean of the Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management at Daytona State College. Contact him at (386) 506-3578 or costa.magoulas@daytonastate.edu.

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