Chili Cheese Spaghetti Squash _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- For an easy slow-cooked dish, try Chili Cheese Spaghetti Squash.

There’s nothing like summer organizing and that includes the kitchen. Clean out old frozen foods that somehow got stuck behind other things; stack and weed out plastic storage containers; clean out old spices and under-the-sink cleansers.

Recycle old cooking magazines, perhaps donate cookbooks you no longer use, and maybe update really old cookie sheets or cookware.

Since I frequently use my slow cookers, I find that while I clean the inside stoneware where the food cooks, I tend to not look as closely at the outside. Take time to not only clean the exterior periodically, but examine for any noticeable issues, such as frayed cords.

Walk through a department store appliance section or browse a favorite online shop for some of the latest small appliance offerings.

Lost or broken a lid to your cooker? Take a few minutes to look on the maker’s Web site for replacement parts. Using lids from another older cooker may not provide the proper seal.

An organizing day may take a little longer than planned, but is often well worth it. And while you’re at it, take a minute to look through old recipes. You might just find an old friend as I did.

Julie Kay is a columnist for The Advocate. She can be reached at