That word probably describes all of us, unfortunately. I am slowly moving toward a less busy life by being more aware of my commitments (and not saying “yes” to everything). BUT, my days are still busy with homeschool, homemaking, five kids, and crochet. 😉 Any time I can find a way to save time on things but still produce great work…I am all for it.
I could spend hours each day in the kitchen – I love cooking and baking, trying new techniques, experimenting with recipes,…and eating. Because we have five kids and homeschool, I don’t always have the time I want in the kitchen. So, making the most of my time in there is important, as well as finding ways to save me some time in there.
Here are three ways I have found to save time in the kitchen:
For me, it is imperative that I plan out a list of meals for each week. I know a lot of moms assign meals to specific days of the week, but I don’t like to do that. If I look and see a certain meal assigned to the day, I have a mental thing where I suddenly no longer have a taste for that food. Haha! But, if I just have a list of 7 meals from which I can choose, depending on my tastes for the day, then I am a happy camper. Meal planning ahead of time saves me TONS of time in the kitchen. Knowing what meals I have planned and shopped for gives me peace of mind that I don’t have to worry about finding a recipe that I have all the ingredients for…or starting a recipe and finding out half way through that I don’t have one of the key ingredients (been there!).
2. Prioritize My Day
It might seem odd to work in my daily plans as a way to save time in the kitchen (or maybe it doesn’t because you do it too!), but each morning I write out my three to five most important tasks for the day. Usually, school and chores and both listed, but if we have appointments or plans with friends or a library trip planned, I write those in as well since they would be a priority for us. Once I have my list of important tasks for the day, I can see how much time I will have in the afternoon to work on dinner. If we have a 3:00PM appointment, obviously I will have less time for dinner, so I will be sure to choose a dinner off our meal plan that requires less hands on work. If I see a slow cooker dinner, I may choose that and get it all prepped in the morning before we have to be anywhere out of the house. Prioritizing my day helps me plan ahead either that morning or even for the following day’s dinner because I know how busy I am on certain days, rather than just winging it and rushing through everything and scrambling at 4:00 to get something on the table in the next two hours.
3. Make Doubles
You have probably heard people talk about making double of a meal – one to eat that night and one to store for another night. I rarely make an entire double meal, but I do make doubles of things that require a lot of time for me. Bread is one of those things that takes a good chunk of my time. We eat a bread with almost every meal – biscuits, rolls, breadsticks, flatbread, cornbread, etc. I almost always make them from scratch and by hand (my preference is by hand, though I do use the bread machine from time to time). What I will do to save me time on a future meal is make double the biscuits; we’ll eat half or so for that night’s meal, and then I just put the rest in a air tight container for another meal. Sometimes dinner biscuits become biscuits and gravy the next morning (a HUGE time saver, since then all i have to make is the gravy!) or we’ll butter and jam them for lunch. Regardless of how they get used, it saves me time for that second meal not having to mix up and roll out another 12-15 biscuits.
If you don’t think you’ll get to the second half of the items doubled, you can just wrap and freeze them! If I double a soup recipe, I know we probably won’t have a second dinner of the same soup that week. I just let the extra soup cool and then scoop into freezer friendly containers and through them in to freeze until we need them. That saves a lot of time, whenever we use the second batch, because all I have to do is thaw and reheat!
When we know the days ahead will be super busy, I plan accordingly to double a few things here and there to cover us during the busy times. Salad, breads, soups, mac and cheese casseroles, taco meat, and a ton of other things are so easy to double (requiring little to no extra time while doubling!) and store for a more hectic day. If I make a salad for dinner, I always purposely make it gigantic, so I can just pack it up in a container and it’s all ready to go for the next meal when someone wants salad.
So those are three super helpful ways that I save time in the kitchen. I am sure there are so many other ways to save time; those are just the ones we use all the time and save me a huge headache each day! 😉
Do you have any tips for saving time in the kitchen?? Please share! The more time we can save, the better!!