The price of fast foods is almost as high as eating at restaurants these days, and it’s no wonder that more people than ever are eating their meals at home. The problem lies in weighing the time saved, picking up fast food against the time spent in the kitchen.
There is no doubt you will cut your food bill almost in half if you cook 98% of your meals at home, but it’s hard to fit in all that cooking when most families are two-earner families. Time is a precious commodity.
The good news is that there are simple and easy ways to cut time in the kitchen that will amaze you and encourage you to cook even more! Not only will your family eat healthier foods, but you can also spend that extra money on fun activities.
How To Save Time Starting Today
Don’t spend time chopping up only part of an onion or pepper and put the rest in the refrigerator. You already have the chopping board and knife out so why not chop the entire food up and then you can freeze or refrigerate. Now you have prep done for the next meal you need an onion. Onions and peppers keep exceptionally well in the freezer and thaw out quickly.
Another excellent idea for prep work is to take any kind of peppers or onions and once chopped place them in an ice cube tray. Add a tiny bit of water and freeze. Once the cubes are frozen, you simply pop them out and store them in a freezer bag. It’s so easy to take out a hub of peppers or onions right from the freezer and into the dish you are cooking. Prepping this way means only one chopping and clean-up time, and that will save you lots of time down the road.
Cooking Your Entrees in Bulk
Cooking your main entrées in bulk is extremely easy to do and can be done in a short amount of time. By utilizing your stove, oven, slow cooker, and other appliances, you should be able to cook a whole week of meats or casseroles in less than four hours. Talk about saving time!
Meat and casseroles will last an entire week in the refrigerator; however, you can also freeze cooked entrees and eat them at a later time. This tip alone will save you hours in the kitchen.
Making a Menu and Grocery List
This tip will not only save you time; it will save you money. Make your menu first and then create a shopping list from the menu. Go over each item you plan to cook and see if you already have some of the ingredients in your pantry. What you don’t have goes on the grocery list.
Even if you don’t cook all the week’s entrees at once, having a menu takes the guesswork out of what you will eat every night for dinner. Whenever possible, prepare enough to pack in lunches the next day for those that take a sack lunch. Most meats make a great sandwich!
Get Creative with Leftovers
If you have leftovers, don’t let them go to waste. It doesn’t take a lot of leftover roast beef or pork to make great chopped BBQ sandwiches. Leftover chicken is great for casseroles or chicken salad. You are not only saving money but being creative. Your family will love all these great meals, and the bulk of the work has already been done. Again, you spend less time in the kitchen.
Clean-up the Easy Way
Clean-up is never fun, but there is a way to make it seem almost effortless. The first step is to make sure the dishwasher is empty. Next, rinse and place in the dishwasher each dish or utensil you use during the preparation of the meal.
While waiting for something to boil or be stirred, you can clean off the kitchen countertop and wipe it down. The trick is to wash and clean as you go. There are tons of seconds and minutes you are in the kitchen while food is cooking that isn’t being utilized. By the time you finish eating, the only dishes left to wash should be plates, utensils, and the dishes the foods are in.
Spending time in the kitchen doesn’t need to take all of your extra time or be a drudgery. It’s easy once you organize your time with these five tips. Don’t forget to include the family, and you will be out of the kitchen in a flash.