Food & Drink

Fantastic Ways to Save You Time in the Kitchen

Fantastic Ways to Save You Time in the Kitchen

Many of us are always on a search to find ways to be more effective so that we have more time, more energy and more freedom to do what it is that we were each meant to do, whatever that may be.

The number one new years resolution every year topping the charts is to eat healthier or to lose weight. By February, most find themselves entrenched in busy schedules and convenience foods start to sound healthy. A fast food hamburger’s lettuce and tomato does not count as a salad. So, we’ll start here.

At some point, I had a revelation. I am not as busy as I like to imagine I am. It is very likely that you too aren’t as busy as you think. I know….ludicrous! Who the heck am I to tell you that you’re not busy?

Honestly, we are busy doing something 24 hours a day. Busy sleeping. Busy eating. Busy working. Busy with children. Busy cyber-stalking on Facebook. Busy pinning thousands of ideas on Pinterest that we will do when we have more time. Busy driving kids around. Busy watching our favourite show.

The problem isn’t that we’re out of time. The problem, more often, is that we’re not using our time effectively. Have you ever heard the saying, “You have to be willing to do what no one else does, to live like no one else does.”? It’s a good one.

Anything worth having is going to take sacrifice, change, adjustments. It may be easier to drive through a drive-thru, microwave a frozen dinner, have a bowl of cereal for dinner, however we all know where that goes.

Here are some little tips and tricks to help us all along the way. No need to change everything over night, just take one little step. That’s it. When you see how easy small changes can be, bigger changes are not all that big.

10 Fantastic ways to save you time in the kitchen

  • Treat your kitchen like a restaurant
  • Clean as you go
  • Keep a shopping list in a convenient place
  • Cut your produce all at once
  • Batch cook if and when you can
  • Pre-package your own frozen smoothies
  • Purge
  • Use your crock-pot
  • Meal plan
  • Put your kids to work

Okay, let’s go through each of these points in further detail, below.

Treat your kitchen like a restaurant

Counters should be free of clutter and ready to go. Cupboards should be organised in a functional way. Items needed to cook with should be near the stove.

Highly used items should be easy to access; less used items should be placed higher up or behind other items in deep cabinet spaces. The fridge should be clean. Put like items in rows, oldest in front, newest in back. If you’re making the effort to cook more of your own healthy meals, kitchen prep is the secret.

Clean as you go

Clean as you cook is another great method to save you time in the kitchen. Nothing is more rewarding in the kitchen than when you’re done cooking and the kitchen is basically clean.

Keep a shopping list in a convenient place

Write down what you’re out of and groceries needed for a few meals. Try to do just 1 shopping trip each week. This will save you hours of shopping.

Cut your produce all at once

Stop telling yourself you’re going to drag that cutting board out everyday. On your weekend prep produce for the entire week. Chop carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, whatever else you are cooking or snacking on.

Wash and store lettuce for salads. Store in the fridge in air tight containers or plastic bags. Here is a fantastic idea for storing produce, especially salads.

Batch cook if and when you can

If you’re making 1 freezer-friendly meal, you can really save you time in the kitchen by making 2 or 3. Foods like chilli, casseroles, pre-marinated meats, lasagnas, uncooked meat loaves, uncooked meat balls, and uncooked hamburger patties.

Set a day aside to make a few of these meals. Give your kids away (just for the day). Date and store your easy-made-meals in the freezer for those nights you don’t have time to cook.

Pre-package your own frozen smoothies

If you are using juice smoothies or veg smoothies, do the work for the next few days, all at once. Cut fruit, place flat on cookie sheets and freeze. When frozen, divide the fruit pieces up into plastic bags for easy smoothies, 1 or 2 servings per bag. Buy over-ripe bananas on clearance for this purpose. Save time and money.

Purge

It may seem strange, but an excellent way to save you time in the kitchen is to purge. f you haven’t touched a small appliance in 6 months, you probably won’t in the next 6 months.

My kitchen is small, cabinet & counter space is prime real estate. If you’ve made a commitment to yourself to get healthy, have your kitchen reflect that choice. Get rid of foods that are not going to help you on that journey.

Use your crock-pot

If you don’t have one get one. The crock-pot isn’t just limited to winter stews or soups. Make slow cooked meats for fresh taco salads or shredded meats for wraps. And think outside of the box, don’t limit the cooking ideas to just dinners. If you know you have a busy morning, make “baked apples” or quiches the night before for breakfast.

Meal plan

I know a lot of people cringe when they see this one however take small steps. It takes time to get used to planning and implementing. Start with just planning 2 or 3 meals a week. When you get the hang of it add one more night and so on.

Put your kids to work

Get a little competition going. The kids and I race to see if they can clean the living room & dining room faster than I can finish the dinner dishes. Each evening you can get 3 chores done in the time it takes to do one.

Summary of ways to save you time in the kitchen

The above 10 methods are some fantastic ways to save you time in the kitchen. Just to reiterate, they are;

  • Treat your kitchen like a restaurant
  • Clean as you go
  • Keep a shopping list in a convenient place
  • Cut your produce all at once
  • Batch cook if and when you can
  • Pre-package your own frozen smoothies
  • Purge
  • Use your crock-pot
  • Meal plan
  • Put your kids to work

All the best with saving yourself a few hours a week!

Sarah Wilkins

About the Author

Born in Australia, Sarah currently lives in the USA with her husband.