Sometimes, as much as you love cooking, your hectic schedule doesn’t allow you much time in the kitchen. But here’s some good news: there are simple things you can do to cut down on time – so you can still cook for the family despite your busy life!
Here are our top ten kitchen time-saving hacks to make your life easier:
1. Wash Fruits and Vegetables Before Storing
All fruits and veggies, even the organic ones, need a good washing before use. But if you do this task right after buying them, you’ll save a few minutes of prep time.
To do so, soak the produce in a solution of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice for five minutes. Let them air dry on a towel before you store them. You can dry your leafy greens using a salad spinner.
Pro-tip: if you scrub the root crops well, you can eat them without peeling the skin. Another great time-saver.
2. Prepare Everything During the Weekend.
Procrastination is one of the greatest enemies of cooking, yet many of us are guilty of doing it. We tend to prep dinner at the very last minute, and even if you had every intention of making a delicious meal for dinner, sometimes, it’s simply not possible after a long hard day.
But if you plan, cook, and store all your dishes during the weekend, you won’t have to worry about slaving in the kitchen after work.
Plus, you get a well-thought-out dinner every single day. For instance, you can cook pasta on Sunday, seal it in an airtight container, and refrigerate it. Then reheat and top with your favorite sauce any day of the week.
3. Buy Nutritious Canned Products
Specifically canned beans. Because while beans are yummy and nutritious (a half-cup serving contains 7 grams of fiber), they just take too long to prep and cook. So if you want to speed things up a little, canned beans are not a bad idea.
Yes, they may contain a good amount of sodium – but there are brands that offer “reduced sodium” alternatives, and if you rinse them well before cooking, you reduce the sodium content by 35%.
4. Cook in Large Amounts
Cook your dishes as if you’re serving an entire football team. This is especially ideal for foods that can last for weeks and months in the freezer, such as chili and spaghetti sauce.
This doesn’t just save you time cooking but cleaning up as well. And since you’ll be buying the ingredients in bulk, you’ll also save money.
Store your dishes in an airtight containers to ensure their integrity. Also, label each container so you’ll know how long it’s good for.
5. Shop Once A Month
This hack will not only save you time, but money as well. You’ll save on gas and cut down the chances of impulse-buying too.
Before you head to the supermarket, plan and make a list of everything you need for the entire month. That way, you don’t risk buying way too much or not enough.
You also might want to schedule your grocery shopping on a day when your store offers discounts. And since you’re already out anyway, try to do as many of your errands as you can.
6. Use Fast-Cooking Whole Grains
By now we’re sure you know that whole grains are a much healthier option than processed ones. But, considering how long they take to cook, it’s challenging to fit them into your diet.
Good thing quinoa is here to save the day. This superfood only takes 20 minutes to cook and is as healthy (if not healthier) than most whole grains.
But if you just can’t get enough of brown rice, you can cook a bunch of it at once and store it in the freezer. To reheat, defrost in the microwave until warm.
7. Buy Pre-Cut Produce
Whether it’s chopping, slicing, or mincing, cutting produce always takes up a lot of time. So what’s an easy way to get rid of this step completely? Buying pre-cut veggies.
Cut down on precious time by buying pre-cut veggies, such as mirepoix, a mixture of diced onions, carrots, and celery, in any grocery store. If your recipe calls for shredded cabbage, you can find various coleslaw mixes in the market as well.
8. The Slow Cooker Is Your Best Friend
If you want a super tasty dinner but don’t have the time, the slow cooker is the perfect tool for you. This kitchen item cooks your dinner for eight hours without supervision – so you can leave it on while you’re at work!
9. Make Overnight Oatmeal
This is especially great for those eat-and-go mornings. Overnight oatmeal is so delicious and filling – a perfect way to start your day. And, it’s easy to prepare the night before.
Just combine rolled oats, almond milk, chia seeds, honey, and whatever fruit you’ve got into a jar, refrigerate overnight, and enjoy the next morning.
10. Clean While You Cook
A huge pile of dirty pots in the sink is never a pretty scene. And sometimes washing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen takes as much time as cooking. To cut down on time, you can start washing kitchen items in the middle of cooking.
For instance, you can wash bowls and utensils you no longer need while your dish simmers in the pot. While you’re at it, throw out vegetable peels and wipe the counter clean as well. That way, you won’t have as much stuff to clear out at the end of your meal.