Today I am excited to be teaming up with a group of blogging friends on a Five Simple Ways project. We are all sharing five simple tips covering different areas of your home and life.
I am sharing with you five simple ways you can save time in the kitchen.
We all spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Between fixing breakfast, lunch, and dinner, washing dishes, cleaning up, shopping, and everything else we do everyday, it adds up to a lot of time in the kitchen.
So, today I want to share with you five simple things that I do to save time in the kitchen.
1. Menu Plan- Take the time to plan your menu for the week or month. I know I have said it before, but menu planning is my number one time saver when it comes to cooking. When I have a menu plan, I avoid the 5 o’clock panic of what is for dinner. It also keeps me from making unplanned trips to the grocery store. If I have a plan, I know what I need ahead of time and it simplifies my grocery shopping.
2. Keeping the Pantry Stocked With the Basics- Keeping a well stocked pantry is so important to saving time in the kitchen. It will save you extra trips to the store and will enable you to put together quick and easy meal at any time.
If you have a pantry stocked with the basics like canned tomatoes, canned beans, pasta, rice, potatoes, basic spices, and a few other things, then you will always be able to put together meals like one pot spaghetti, potatoes and sausage, a simple soup or chili, or mexican rice and beans.
3. Freezer Food- We all have those days where things do not go as planned. Unexpected things are going to happen. Kids get sick, cars break down, and many other things happen that can change our plans. We can make those days so much easier just by keeping a few simple things in the freezer.
Now I am not talking about a ton of freezer meals here. I keep it pretty basic, but you will often find things like taco meat in my freezer. I cook it ahead of time. Then all I have to do is pull it out of the freezer and use it in tacos, burritos, nachos, or enchiladas.
I also keep cooked chicken in the freezer. I can use it for soups, casseroles, chicken sandwiches, or chicken tacos. Other things that freeze well are chili, soups, meatloaf, and meatballs.
4. Cook Once, Eat Twice- I often find myself planning ahead and cooking things that I can use over several days. I can make a large batch of chili and we can eat it for several days, but we don’t have to eat it as chili every day. I can serve the leftover chili as chili or I can serve it over baked potatoes or even make a chili casserole.
Also, if I have several dishes that I know need ground beef, it is easy to brown it all at once and use it throughout the week. The same idea goes for chopping vegetables. If I am going to be using chopped onions and green peppers in several recipes throughout the week, I can save a lot of time by chopping them all at once.
5. Use Shortcuts- Do not be too hard on yourself. It is okay to occasionally use paper plates to save you time in the kitchen. It is okay to keep things on hand like pasta sauces, frozen french fries, cake and brownie mixes, and other things that make kitchen life easier.
I usually prefer from scratch homemade items, but it is okay to give yourself a break occasionally and do a few things that save you time and make life in the kitchen easier.
What are your tips for saving time in the kitchen?
For more Five Simple Ways Tips please visit:
- 5 Simple Ways to Live a Natural Lifestyle by Laura from Heavenly Homemakers
- 5 Simple Ways to Decorate on a Dime by Myra from The Casabella Project
- 5 Simple Ways to Take Better Photos by Melissa from A Familiar Path
- 5 Simple Ways to Make Money From Your Blog by Carrie from Springs Bargains
- 5 Simple Ways to Have a Successful Homeschool Day by Connie from Smockity Frocks
- 5 Simple Ways to Save Money in 2011 by Toni from The Happy Housewife
- 5 Simple Ways to Dress Fabulously for Less by Jen from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
- 5 Simple Ways to Organize Your Home by Laura from I’m an Organizing Junkie
- 5 Simple Ways to Start Using Coupons by Jenny from Southern Savers
great tips and I agree, menu planning is the key – I FINALLY embraced menu planning in 2010 and it has made my life MUCH easier and by posting it for the family, they know what to expect, can ask for tweaks earlier in the week, and also can see they may not like tonight’s dinner but they will like tomorrow night’s dinner so less whining. The biggest lightbulb for me in menu planning is you can PLAN some basic meals – frozen meatballs is ok to plan – I throw it in my crockpot and then boil spaghetti and presto a meal, and if I make a full bag of meatballs, I have enough for grinders for later in the week. Hotdogs/hamburgers are a meal – its ok to plan for it – not each meal has to be some gourmet thing – this has made my meal planning do-able since I always thought to menu plan you had to have elaborate meals but breakfast for dinner or soup/grilled cheese is a-ok!
The cook once/eat twice and freezer meals has made my life easier too – if I make bbq chicken or teriyaki chicken, I make extra, freeze some, and bingo if someone needs a quick dinner before an activity or I want a heartier weekend lunch, I can thaw it out quickly and put a good meal on the table. Having cooked chicken in the freezer makes a great ingredient in chicken/broccoli alfredo, quesidillas and so so many more easy meals!
The Happy Housewife
Great tips Lynn! I’m glad to hear you use paper plates Lynn, because I use them too. It really does make lunch easier and we can get back to homeschooling.
I agree with #1 whole heartedly! I’ve done it a variety of ways over the years, and while my children were young and I was in control of their social calendars 🙂 I went with the scheduled plan with a specific meal for each day…usually driven by what was on sale or I had in my freezer. However, as my kids have become young adults with social calendars that can mess with my ‘plan’…I now list what meal options I have for 1-2 weeks and pick one each morning once I get a schedule check from the kids at breakfast.
This works well for me when I travel too. Today I showed hubby the list of meal options that are easy to make (including the precooked ground beef in 1# bags in the freezer) and he is good to go (along with help from the older kids that can cook too)
Loved your tips today!! Thanks!
Great tips! I always make a flexible menu for our house because we never know when we may have company pop in and need more servings. I keep the ingredients for 8 can soup handy as it will serve a large group and all I have to do is heat it up and make some cornbread, corn muffins, or just serve crackers with it! Everyone that has eaten it, can’t believe it is just canned vegetables with some canned chili!
I would love a to see a post about the basics to keep in your pantry. I see you gave some examples. If you have time a more involved post about what basics you keep in yours.
@kathleen, Thank you for the idea. I have had others request that and just have not done it yet. Thanks for the reminder. I have put it on the schedule to post about later this month.
The most helpful thing I do is buy meat in bulk and freeze it in a portion appropriate for my family. I take 1 afternoon a month (or whenever I get a great sale!) and spend it in the kitchen. For instance, if I buy a 5lb roll of ground beef, I fry it all at the same time, then freeze it in 1 pound bags. Then things like tacos, spaghetti, hamburger helper, or anything you need a pound of ground beef for take at least 10 minutes left. With chicken, I think about the meals we like. I like to cut some up in chunks, leave some just as breasts, and I season some of it as well, cutting prep time later.
This also helps on nights I don’t want to cook at all… convincing my husband to make tacos is much easier when all he has to do is thaw, add seasoning and cut some tomatoes!