15 Simple Time Saving Kitchen Tips
Sharing 15 Simple Time Saving Kitchen Tips today to help you work smarter not harder. I can honestly say, I have never met someone who wasn’t looking to save time or money- myself included. Even as a busy work at home, homeschooling mom of four the one place I could certainly spend the most time is in the kitchen — does anyone else have kids with hollow stomachs?
I am always looking for kitchen tips and ways to cut a corner or two in the kitchen: but, most importantly without putting my family’s dietary needs at risk and without compromising our healthy living lifestyle. Cooking gluten-free, dairy free,and nightshade free has certainly had a learning curve of its own. However, like anything once you have your routine down and a good plan –the shopping, cooking, and clean up can be streamlined allowing more time with family and less time spent slaving over the stove.
Kitchen Tip #1) Keep a well stocked pantry, freezer, and fridge….see how my family of 6 shops once a month here.
2) Organize Your Shopping List – whether you organize your list based on the layout of a specific store or if you simply do it like myself — which is, by store location (Trader Joe’s, Costco, Farmers Market, Etc.). Regardless of how you do it, the key is knowing exactly what, how much, and from where you will need to purchase a particular item(s).
3) Bake and cook in bulk- Why should waffles and pancakes only be served on the weekend? Why make one meat loaf when you can make two? While you have the griddle or waffle iron out double or in our case triple your favorite recipe, make extras, and freeze the rest for later. Once they are cool place in gallon sized zip-lock bag and freeze. Those busy school mornings that were once filled with heavily processed convenience waffles from the grocery store are now spent enjoying a homemade family favorite. We take the homemade waffles straight from the freezer and pop them directly into the toaster–no thawing necessary–grab, toast, and enjoy.
Soups, stews, stocks, and sauces are the perfect big batch cooking items.Take my tomatoless sauce recipe for example a batch made on a Sunday afternoon can be froze in individual size portions and used for weeks to come. Make the mess once and enjoy the fruit of your labor for weeks to come.
4) Pre-cut, dice, chop, and freeze produce that is used regularly.Buy onions and peppers in bulk– prepare and freeze in quart sized freezer bags for later use. I can not emphasize enough how much time this step alone saves–no more cutting onions for chili, meatloaf, and sauces–it’s a one time deal. Buy, cut, freeze, measure out what you need, and refreeze the rest. (Do not thaw the entire bag– just measure out the desired amount for use).
5) Dinner and Lunch Salads in a Flash — no excuses. Making salads admittedly although, one of my favorite things to eat is not my favorite thing to make– too much washing and cutting for this girl. I have found buying lettuce, giving it a quick wash, a rough chop, a spin through the salad spinner, and then proceed to line the spin basket which contain your mixed greens with paper towel it is there that you can safely store them for future use (I have kept washed and prepared greens for up to a week using this method of storage).
6) Keep a garbage bowl on the counter for all the peels, wrappers, and scraps that our not needed for your meal. A large bowl or container on the counter during your food prep can save a fare amount of time walking to and from the garbage can– hey, every bit helps, right?
7) Clean as you go — I have experimented with this several times, but I still feel I save the most amount of time when I clean as I go. Who really likes cleaning a pile of dishes at the end of a meal prep? I work better when I start and end with a clean space. A sink full of soap can be a great start for soaking dirty pots, pans, and utensils–a spray bottle of vinegar water can be a life saver for keeping the counter tops clean and crumb free eliminating any potential gluten cross contamination issues.
8) Ice cube trays don’t only make ice – make batches of frozen basil, mint, and coffee cubes for all of your future recipes. Fresh basil frozen into cube form is the perfect fit for a pot of homemade soup. Add a thawed coffee cube to your favorite brownie recipe–and mint, oh’ how I love thee–from teas to flavored water there is nothing quite like it.
9) Cook ground meat in large quantities in your crock-pot. Yes, if you have never done this your missing out. Simply put a bulk amount of raw beef, turkey, etc. in your crock-pot (it can still be frozen) cook on low/medium heat. Cook until heated and cooked through. I find in our crock-pot I can cook 3 lbs in 2-3 hrs–a quick rough chop with a spatula, let cool, and freeze in recipe size portions for future dates.
10) Buy chicken, beef, and pork in bulk, prep, marinate, and freeze. Let’s make something clear–I do not like cleaning meat. So any opportunity to make the process a one shot deal I’m going to jump at it.
11) Make that 5 lb bag of fresh chicken breasts your new best friend–trim of all fat, prep for kabobs, chicken nuggets, chicken strips, fajitas, and just plain marinated breasts. I like to prepare any marinades in advance and then add to the gallon zip-lock bag of prepared meat. While the meat thaws it is marinating in all of those juices adding extra flavor and moisture to your dish.
12) Wash grapes and strawberries in those perfect colander like hole containing packages. Make what you have work– there is no need to dirty another kitchen gadget if the freebie one it came with will work. Spray, wash, and rinse your produce in the package.
13) Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel-spouts, and other stem like produce can be cut directly off the stem straight into a colander. There is no need to cut it on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife and holding one end of the stem cut away from you with a downward motion (this works best if you do it over a sink) cut the produce off directly into the colander where it will then be washed, rinsed, and used.
14) Portion out snacks when you first arrive home from the store. Whether you are separating out baby carrots in snack sized bags or pretzels. Those few extra minutes of prep when you first get home can make a world of difference when packing lunches or when temptation for a convenience snack should arise– be prepared and plan ahead.
Although, the kitchen certainly does take up a good deal of our time– it doesn’t mean there aren’t a few areas we can cut some corners–whether, you are a newly wed, a half crazed mom like myself, or a seasoned veteran in the kitchen the recipe is the same- work smarter not harder.
I would love to hear some of your kitchen saving tips–share them in the comment section below. I love hearing from you.
Image courtesy of Simon Howden/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Sharing my homemade tomato-less sauce recipe today for all our allergy sensitive friends and family.
When I first discovered that our son could not eat tomatoes I thought- “eh, its not that bad”. However, the more I started to meal plan I quickly realized how frequently we use them. It soon became clear that this nightshade intolerance would be the nagging little sister to a gluten intolerance. I needed a new ‘tomatoless‘ base for everything from chili to taco’s and this is what I cooked up in my homestead kitchen-
Yields: 6 Cups Sauce
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- 3 Carrots (diced)
- 2 Stalks Celery (diced)
- 1 Small-Medium Onion (loosely diced)
- 4 C Beef or Chicken Broth
- 1 C Water
- 1 C Pumpkin or 1 C Sweet Potato Puree’
- 4 Cooked Beets (peeled and sliced)
- 2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 T Lemon Juice
- 2 T Garlic Powder
- Salt and Pepper to taste
2. Sautee’ carrots, celery and onions over medium heat until onions are translucent and carrots are slightly softened.
3. Add broth, water and pumpkin puree (or sweet potato puree) and simmer 2-3 minutes.
4. Add sliced beets, vinegar, lemon juice and seasonings and continue to cook 5-6 minutes or just
until hot (DO NOT over cook the sauce or it will turn brown from over cooking the beets.)
5. Using an immersion blender, puree’ and serve immediately or freeze in portion sized containers. I use a silicone muffin tin like this one, freeze individual portion sizes, pop the frozen sauce cups out, and then freeze in a gallon zip-lock for later use.
Get Your Printable Recipe Here