Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to increase your kitchen efficiency…and tell others your magic tricks too!
This is the last of the “top 3 tips” for the four pillars of Kitchen Stewardship:
You can’t deny that cooking real food takes longer than convenience food – it’s called “convenience” for good reason!
But home cooks and nutritionist mamas all over find ways to make their time in the kitchen more stream-lined, less hectic, and simply more doable. I know there are some rock star tips out there, and I can’t wait to hear what you think saves you the MOST time (or sanity).
Just like the other Monday Missions this month, the real mission is to share the love – so type out your top 3 and then share in the comments on this post or with your own community of friends.
I’m sure you’re wondering what my top 3 are…and I am, too! I do sooooo many little bitty strategies to save time and sanity. Plus I’m not sure if I succeed! Am I sane? Am I? Am I? Honestly, the jury is out most days.
But I wouldn’t ask you to do something I’m not willing to do myself, so I’ll buckle down and turn the thinker on….here goes!
My Top 3 Kitchen Time-Saving Strategies
Number One: Making in Bulk
Particularly on those crazy days when I feel like I have negative amounts of time, like I wake up behind the game already (you know those days?), I am never more thankful that I was able to cook ahead on other days. You know, the days where I can barely keep up.
I make muffins, dressings, and granola in triple and quadruple batches, usually, and I almost always make either a double batch of soup or just a really big recipe (new soup coming tomorrow!). Soup leftovers are lifesavers, I’m telling you.
I make other things in double, too, but for whatever reason soup is more like the loaves and fishes than other dishes. It just stretches, without seeming like I’m in the kitchen all day or spending an arm and a leg on ingredients. (Like making 5 pounds of homemade chicken nuggets all at once and freezing them for lunches. Sure, it saves time, but you feel like you need to take out a loan to buy organic chicken breasts and it takes forever to get them all through the egging-breading system!)
Did you grab this soup cookbook yet? I made one soup already last week and have two more planned for this week. I loooooove soup! This is a great, great book at $9.97. It comes with a free printable, “chicken stock cheat sheet,” when you buy here at KS.
Bottom line: making food in bulk saves time getting out ingredients, time doing dishes, and really helps make real food possible and also fast when you reap the benefits of your bulk cooking – that’s REAL convenience food, folks, when you gave yourself the gift of planning ahead!
Number Two: Doubling up on Dishes
I feel like I’ve shared this tip a zillion times, but hopefully it’s a new idea for someone out there. Whenever I can, I try to use a dish, appliance or utensil, at least twice before adding to to Mt. Dishes.
- If I’m measuring salt and baking soda, back into the drawer go my measuring spoons. Those are not dirty yet!
- If I’m shredding cheese in a food processor, I’ll make chickpea wraps, blender hummus, or black bean burgers immediately after, no washing in between. Or I could shred cheese for that amazing cheeseburger soup pictured above, then make biscuits in the food processor right afterward. Nothing wrong with a little cheesy biscuits!! (Make the soup a double batch and watch time practically appear before your eyes!)
- I use my blender double time a lot – for pancake batter and smoothies, to chop nuts and then make batter or smoothies, to puree strawberries for homemade fruit rolls and then make smoothies…you get the picture. So think about it – what do YOU use your appliances or maybe mixing bowls for that could double up without washing in between?
Number Three: Packing Lunches While Putting Away Dinner
This tip is from my eBook The Healthy Lunch Box, and it’s priceless – but you have to remember to do it and be really on the ball. I don’t think I’ve done this one well since January kicked off, but I’m trying to get back on the horse, for real. So many snow days…
Anyway, the strategy is to utilize the time of putting away dinner to partially (or fully) pack school lunches. For example:
- Before the spoon comes out of homemade ranch dressing, put a plop into each kid’s Lunchbot (also found on Amazon), and toss in some cut carrots and cukes leftover from dinner too. (That’s actually a Planetbox and an ECOlunchbox 3-in-1 pictured above.)
- If you can use any of dinner leftovers for lunch, make it happen as you’re storing the leftovers rather than getting everything out again later that evening or the next morning!
- If I’m smart – and I’m not – I’d wrangle my kids to help pack their own lunches right after dinner too, since that’s a time they’re mostly captive and fairly content.
If I was more organized, I’d probably save more time…but I struggle with that. Here’s one of my attempts to get my kitchen organized with some decent tips for you!
And while you’re thinking about slow cookers, check out this amazing roundup of gluten-free slow cooker recipes.
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to a few eBooks from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. See my full disclosure statement here.