Whether you work, stay at home or find yourself somewhere in between, we all look for ways to cut our time in the kitchen. If you have children living at home (regardless of age), your mornings and evenings are probably a little crazy (if not, I’d love to hear how you manage that) and those are the times our families need us most: meal time.
Here’s a few tricks I use to help me stay ahead of the game:
1) Make your meat do double (or triple) duty. For dinner the other night, we had chicken stir-fry. Rather than just cooking enough chicken for tonight, I made about 3 times what I actually needed. I used a simple salt and pepper seasoning, and once it was cooked through, pulled out two-thirds of the chicken to use later this week. Some of it will top a nice green salad and the other will become a delicious, fruit filled chicken salad that we’ll have in wraps.
2) Apply the same principles to your veggies. Tonight’s stir-fry contained celery, carrots, peppers (red, yellow and orange, broccoli and spring onions. As I cut each up, I packed away some of what I chopped to use in other things later this week. The celery and onions with find their way into tuna salad for sandwiches. Part of the peppers will be in breakfast omelets Wednesday and the rest will find there way into a turkey wraps. The broccoli will be perfect to snack on, or may even find itself steamed with a little lemon juice.
3) If you’re making a meal you eat frequently, make 2 and freeze one. Love a good casserole, make 2 and toss one in the freezer. Big fan of homemade spaghetti sauce? Make a double batch and freeze one. So on and so forth. Many great meals are perfect for the freezer, and if you can’t make the entire dish ahead, there are always parts you can prepare and freeze.
4) Cut corners where you can. There’s no shame in no-boil lasagna noodles. Even better if you’re making 2 lasagnas and putting one in the freezer. And frozen veggies, they are a perfectly acceptable substitute for fresh. And because they are picked and flash frozen, they’re often fresher than the ‘fresh’ produce in your supermarket. Want to grill pizzas? If you don’t have time to make your own dough, there are a variety of pre-made crusts available that will work just fine.
5) Don’t stress yourself out about keeping your kitchen clean while you cook. Really, you will spend more time wiping up after yourself and trying to be ‘neat’ than you will just letting go and dealing with the mess at the end. It’s kind of like trying to clean up a playroom while the kids are still in it. Just let go, focus on the cooking and leave the cleaning for later.
These are just a few of the tricks I use to help me get ahead in the kitchen. What tricks do you have up your sleeve?