It’s flu season, and one way you can stay healthy is to eat at home rather than eating out. In addition, when you cook at home, you have more control over what you are feeding you and your family. You have more control over your health.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the five benefits of eating at home. The main reason most people eat out is that they feel as though they do not have time to cook.
You don’t have time to cook, and you and your husband are on your way out to dinner. It takes you 10-15 minutes at the least to drive to the restaurant, another 5-10 minutes to be seated (unless it’s rush dinner hour), 10 minutes before you can order your food, another 15 minutes before the food arrives. You understand by now that you could have prepared a simple meal at home, and you have not yet begun eating.
Cooking from scratch at home is economical in two ways. First, you save money on your food. Second, you save even more money on future medical bills.
Here are several ways to save time in the kitchen (and enjoy a day off cooking more often):
1. Organize your kitchen.
If it takes you a long time to find any cooking utensils, cooking will consume much of your time.
Be sure that your refrigerator is organized with like foods being together. All spices should be within easy reach when you are by the stove.
2. Wash dishes after every meal.
When you begin to cook, you will be delayed if half your dishes or utensils are in the sink waiting to be washed. On the other hand, if all dishes are clean upon your entrance to the kitchen in the morning, you will save much time.
3. Plan ahead.
After dinner, immediately make lunches using leftovers to save time in the morning. You will need to refrigerate the leftovers anyway; take an extra minute or two to portion them into lunch containers. The next morning, all you need to do is move the containers from the refrigerator into lunch boxes.
You can also plan ahead with crock pots. After breakfast, assemble your dinner ingredients into the crockpot, and you will have an almost effortless and delicious dinner waiting for you.
4. Freezer cook.
There are two popular ways to freezer cook. One way is to double your recipe and put half of the cooked meal into the freezer. One day when you are particularly busy, all you will need to do is thaw the food and heat it up.
Another way to freezer cook is to take an entire day to make multiple meals. You can choose whichever way works best for you.
Soups, casseroles, beans, and meat freeze well.
5. Save more elaborate meals for weekends or special days.
Some people think that they are a failure if their family is not served a meal that took an hour or more to prepare. Most meals that I cook are simple. They include rice, vegetables, and meat; and my husband and I enjoy them.
6. Batch cook.
I do this one to two times a week. I’ll make enough food for three to four days. Those next few days, meals are effortless. Batch cooking has saved me many a stressful morning. My husband’s lunch is already cooked, and all I need to do is heat up his breakfast and add some fruit, honey, and cinnamon to it.
7. Use a pressure cooker.
When the day has been full, and dinner is in 1 hour, you can use the pressure cooker to make tasty meal for your family. If you have a meal in the freezer, your work is almost finished. Just put that meal in the pressure cooker!
8. Keep some cooked meat in the freezer.
Meat takes longer to cook than most other foods. You can quickly thaw the meat, add a couple of sides, and your meal is ready. Be sure to thinly slice or shred the meat before you freeze it. It will thaw more quickly.
9. Cook an entire chicken.
Chicken is very versatile. You can roast it and eat it with vegetables for one meal. Then you can make soup with it for another meal. Use more leftovers for sandwiches or wraps. The possibilities are endless!
10. Clean as you go.
Before you begin to cook, clean the sink and fill it with hot water and dish soap. While you wait for your rice to cook, wash all the dishes and utensils that have accumulated thus far. After your meal, all you will need to do is wash plates, utensils, and glasses.
What are some of your best kitchen time-saving tips?
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