If you have ever been in the kitchen, you will know how much it takes to sit down and enjoy a meal with your loved ones. This is something that has become increasingly difficult to do in our ever-busier lives.
It takes time, even though we may enjoy a home-cooked meal. And the fact that we all have limited time for meal planning, grocery shopping and preparation, makes it all the more important to plan your time in the kitchen and what you do when you are inside it. After all, nobody wants to be a slave of the kitchen or who has the time or the energy to visit the market every day?
Here are some time-saving tips for working professionals as well as everyday cooks to save time in the kitchen. We can all enjoy more time with our loved ones without engaging in excessive culinary labour.
- Plan and prepare right—
Have you ever finished a long work day only to find out you don’t know what to cook for dinner or there is nothing really worth cooking? It’s a horrible feeling and you start feeling guilty for not having stopped at the grocery store on your way home.
So, what’s the solution? The solution is to plan ahead. Schedule some time in your weekend to plan meals or go grocery shopping.
Do a quick inventory search to see what you have in your kitchen. Then plan meals around those items. Fill in any gaps with ingredients on your shopping list.
To ensure that you are prepared for any new recipes you try, be sure to read the entire recipe. Keep a list of essential kitchen ingredients that you can add to as needed so you don’t run out halfway through a meal.
Consider what is available in season when planning your meals. You’ll enjoy stronger flavours and save time bringing home only seasonal items.
Try to make a few quick weeknight meals with just a salad and a side dish. Stir fries, pastas, and casseroles are all great options when the weather isn’t too hot.
Stick to your weekly meal plan by sticking it on to the fridge door. It’s a great way to relieve stress and not have to worry about dinner.
- Don’t shop if you are hungry
You’ll find yourself tempted to buy only the items you love irrespective of if they are healthy. This is not good for your wallet or waistline.
- Wash veggies and fruits before you store them
It is a great way to speed up your daily kitchen chores by cleaning out fruits and vegetables before storing them.
We all want organic food, but it is not possible for many to afford organic produce. And that is why proper cleaning of your fruits and veggies is extremely important. Even organic produce should be properly washed before consumption. By cleaning all veggies and fruits before storing, you won’t have to deep clean them before mean preparation. This will save a lot of time.
- Veggie cutting should be done once or twice a week
Cut up the vegetables for soups, main dishes and salads. Then store them in airtight containers in the fridge. You’ll only need to take out the tools and utensils used for cutting, dicing or grating your vegetables once, and then only clean up afterwards.
Avoid using pre-cut avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, or green leafy vegetables. They will bruise or get discoloured. You must add them freshly chopped.
- Store snacks in portions
Make sure to portion snacks before you put them away in the pantry. This is especially helpful for quick and easy access. Also, if possible, cut the cheese into small cubes and then store it.
- Pre-setting the table
Don’t forget to clean up the dishwasher if it’s running every day. Put aside all the cutlery, tableware and dishes that you will use for dinner. Place them on the table and keep them there until dinner.
- Keep all the utensils you will need for tomorrow’s meal ready
Clean up after the dinner meal and get out the cooking utensils for tomorrow’s meal. Stack the pots and utensils in a safe place on the stovetop or at the top of a countertop.
- The work area should be clutter free
Keep your work area and chopping board clean and ready to use. This will make using the kitchen easier and your work more efficient.
- The most commonly used utensils should be placed around the gas stove
You can use a quirky piece of pottery, or a large, mouthed jar to store frequently used utensils near the stove. This is especially useful for rubber spatulas and wooden spoons. You want to grab the items you need quickly when cooking. You can also hang your items from hooks or mount them onto the wall.
- Cupboard arrangement should be done keeping your convenience in mind
Your cupboards should be arranged so that routinely used items of cookware can be reached easily, and are not hidden behind granny’s bone China crockery. Although slow cookers, food processors and woks are not as beautiful, you still want them handy to be able to save time.
- Create a space for your recipes
You can have a designated spot to read recipes, probably near your chopping board – this will ensure that you don’t need to move your recipe stand around to make more counter space.
- Get a sharp and handy set of knives
A set of sharp knives strategically placed in a central location in your kitchen can greatly speed up your work.
Keep them on a magnet by the stove or at your chopping block.
- If you don’t have the time to prepare full-fledged meals, opt for ready to cook food to reduce time in the kitchen
Ready-to eat, instant food mix, heat and serve, whatever you want to call it, ready-to eat meals are some of the most convenient products on the market. Here are some of the most important benefits of using them
—They are time saving
You just need to heat and eat these products, which is a great alternative to traditional cooking. These ready-to eat meals can be prepared in a matter of minutes. This option is ideal for college students and working adults who don’t have the time or desire to cook an elaborate meal.
—They are readily available
There has been an increase in ready-to-eat foods over the years. There are many options in the ready-to eat category today.
Look for a brand that is safe and which uses cutting-edge technology to prepare their food. It must pass all safety checks before it hits the market. It should be completely safe to eat.
—They are a practical option
Pre-made meals are convenient for people who don’t have the time or budget to cook. This is an easy way to enjoy home-cooked meals without having to do all the hard work.
Aren’t these some really amazing ideas to reduce time in the kitchen. Well yes. However, if you are especially interested in ready to eat food products, you will be happy to know they are also available online. You can choose from a huge variety of brands and dishes.