If you’re ready to save a little time in the kitchen each week, check out these time-saving tips that can help!
Homemade meals are great for eating healthier and saving money. However, trying to cook meals during the week can get hectic if you’re balancing work with your family’s busy schedule.
The good news is that it is possible to make home-cooked meals during the week with a little bit of help.
Try these 10 time-saving tips in the kitchen!
1.Organize Your Tools
How many times have you been in mid-cooking mode and can’t find the potato peeler? Inventory all the tools you have and organize them according to use. Keep like items together with the frequently used items close to your central work areas. Keep less frequently used items in storage space that is not close to the stove or sink.
2.Plan Your Meals
This may seem daunting at first, but it’s the single most effective tip to save your sanity during the busy week. When you know what you are making and what you have on hand, cooking is a breeze. Dedicate an hour or two on the weekend to plan out the week’s meal. Meal planning will also help you save time and money at the grocery store.
3.Keep Basics in Stock
Keeping basic ingredients on hand will make putting together dinner easy. Pantry staples like flour, sugar, herbs, spices, grains and oils have a long shelf life and should always be readily available. Refrigerator basics such as milk and butter and produce such as onions, carrots, celery, fresh garlic or potatoes should always be in stock in your kitchen.
4.Keep a Shopping List
Having a shopping list tacked onto the fridge or pantry will help you keep up on what’s in stock. As your family uses the last bit of milk, they can make a note so there won’t be any surprises in the middle of your cooking efforts when you sadly realize you are out. This will also help you save time when it comes to making the weekly shopping list before you head out to the store.
5.Pre-cut your Produce
This step is a game-changer. Most veggies can be cut and stored in the fridge in airtight containers. By pre-cutting, you are only pulling out the tools used for slicing, dicing, grating, and chopping once and only cleaning up once. Then, when it comes to cooking your weekday meals, all you need to do it pull it out and pop in your dish. Some produce should not be pre-chopped. This includes avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers or green leafy veggies—they will bruise and discolor.
6.Use Prepackaged Convenience Items
Canned beans, tomatoes and quick-cooking grains are great staples to keep in your pantry. They are inexpensive and are already “cooked” and you can easily add them to your recipe without worrying about additional cook time. Frozen vegetables are another pre-package staple that can speed up your cook time.
7.Use a Slow Cooker or InstaPot
These miracle appliances make cooking a delicious meal a breeze. You can basically toss in your ingredients and go about your day until it’s time to eat. Using some of your pre-cut produce and canned staples prepping a slow cooker and InstaPot meal even faster.
Food that takes longer to cook like a whole chicken, pot roast or other large cuts of meats can be cooked ahead of time. Cook the meat in a crockpot on the weekend and use it in meals during the week. Portion them out and store them meat in freezer-safe containers. Don’t forget to pull out a container and pop it in the fridge to thaw before you head out for work.
9.Clean As You Go
At the end of the meal, you don’t want to face the daunting task of cleaning up your mess. Load the dishwasher, clean cutting boards, and other cooking utensils as soon as you are done using them. Cleaning as you go makes cleaning manageable at the end of the meal.
What’s healthier and faster than take-out food? Leftovers. Double or triple a family favorite recipes and freeze or refrigerate the extras. On the days you just don’t have it in you to cook, pop those leftovers in the microwave and you are done.