One of the best ways to save time in your day is to simplify your cooking and meal routine. В Here are the best time-saving cooking tricks to make your life easier.
Plan Meals Ahead of Time
Planning ahead makes cooking much less stressful and chaotic. The trick is to find a meal planning strategy that works best for you. One way is to rotate meals. If you know how to cook ten meals, cook those ten meals in a cycle until you’re ready to try something new. Or, you can designate a meal type to the day: Mondays are casseroles, Tuesdays are meat and potatoes, and so on. Finally, you can create a monthly plan. For instance, the first Monday of the month is chicken enchiladas; the second Monday of the month is lasagna. You can find my monthly meal plan at the end of this post. For recipe inspiration, try websites such as allrecipes.com or recipesource.com. These websites will allow you to search for recipes by preparation time and cook time, and create your own cookbook.
Once you have your meal plan, you can create your grocery list. This eliminates last minute small trips to the grocery store which can be a big-time zapper! Better yet, take advantage of technology and use a website to create your list. My favorite is www.Ziplist.com it allows you to upload your own recipes and plan your meals, then it creates shopping lists for you which you can e-mail to family members. They also have an app for smartphones so you have your meal, grocery shopping, and cooking information near you at all times.
An added bonus to meal planning is that it helps you eat healthily. When you don’t know what your next meal is going to be, it’s easy to grab the nearest junk food because it’s quick and available. You’ll also be less likely to buy junk food at the store because it won’t be on your meal plan. Meal planning has been my greatest asset in eating healthy.
Plan Your Cooking Time
Look at your schedule and find when you have the most time to cook. If you have extra time in the morning, a slow cooker can be your best friend. If all your free time falls on the weekends, make dinners for the week and freeze them. The website http://freezermealsforus.blogspot.com is a great resource for make-ahead recipes.
The Art of Time Saving Cooking Tools
The good news for busy people who like to cook is that it’s never been easier to chop, slice, and peel your way to a family dinner. Stocking up on time-saving food gadgets can cut your cooking time in half. Use a food chopper or processor instead of hand chopping ingredients. Instead of tediously peeling garlic bulb by bulb, use a garlic peeler. Use a Hot Shot when you need hot water quickly. A salad spinner lets you wash all vegetables at once, rather than one by one. The list of time-saving gadgets is endless. Take a stroll through your local cooking store and you’ll be shocked at the creative tools that have been invented!
Store Food Strategically
This tip is especially helpful for mid-day meals and snacks. If you are able to, keep food at your place of work and have your husband do the same. This will cut down on the time you spend making lunches the night before (or, let’s face it, the morning of) your workday. You can also keep snacks in diaper bags, or in small Tupperware ready to grab before you head out the door. This will save you the time of getting food together before you head out with your kids.
One surprising secret: you don’t have to do it all! I know this is shocking news for moms. If you have children who are old enough, have them help clean while you are cooking. Ask your husband to set the table. This isn’t only good for you its good for them.
The more you try these time-saving tricks, the more you will see what works best for your family and find some tricks of your own. When you do, please post them here!
Here is my meal planning calendar. I use a monthly rotation schedule and learn two new recipes each month. Each week I choose the breakfasts, lunches, snacks, sides, and desserts that sound good. Remember that I follow a (mostly) Paleo lifestyle, so my meal plan is a vegan’s worst nightmare – except for the snacks and sides which are mostly veggies. As with all my printables, I would encourage you to use this as a template, but make adjustments according to what works best for your family. I’m not always by-the-book with this plan – I allow changes depending on what sounds good and what’s on sale. However, keeping this plan ensures that I always know what I’m going to eat, even if I don’t have time to learn a new recipe or look at the sale items that week. Don’t forget to add this to your family notebook! Meal Planning Calendar