Kitchen Hacks: A Time-Saving Guide
Though you may wish that you could spend more time in the kitchen preparing your meals, in the modern world, this is not always a possibility. We all live such busy lives these days, and it can be easy for frozen food and takeaways to become the norm. However, these tend to be the unhealthier option, and you can also rack up quite the food bill. So, let’s take a look at a few top time-saving kitchen hacks which will help you in you to prepare more of your own meals during the week.
To stop yourself aimlessly wandering around the supermarket and picking up items you don’t really need, you should remember to create a shopping list and bring it to the store with you. This involves planning your meals for the week ahead, but it also helps to cut back on those trips where you have to rush out of the house because you have forgotten one or two things. If you are looking to save yourself a bit of time, you could create a shopping list template in which you add one or two things as needed, rather than writing out a new list each and every time you head out to the store.
Create a Meal Plan
Following on from the previous point nicely, meal planning is one of the best ways in which you are going to save yourself time and money on a regular basis. If you find yourself to be constantly short of time, the internet provides an invaluable resource in which you can look up easy recipes and input ingredients to generate some meal options. Once you have a repertoire of meals built up, it is so much easier to draw on it to make what you want during the week.
Read the Recipe Properly Before Cooking
If you are the kind of person who just scans over recipes without really taking anything in, you are much more likely to find that you are missing a crucial ingredient or you don’t have the time to complete a task as it should be done. Read through a recipe properly and you will be able to determine if something is too time consuming or beyond your skill level in the kitchen.
Use a Slow-Cooker
One of the best time-saving pieces of equipment that you can invest in is a slow-cooker. This way, you can simply spend a few minutes in the morning chopping up your ingredients, before letting the cooker take care of the work during the day. If you prepare your ingredients the night before, remember to take it out of the fridge to warm the pot to room temperature. Otherwise, it could crack when it is placed over the heat.
Always Make Enough for Leftovers
Since you are spending plenty of time making a meal anyway, it makes sense that you prepare enough to enjoy on another day. Dish the leftovers out into separate containers and you have something which you can take with you for lunch the following day. You could even put some in the freezer if you are planning on storing it in the long-term.
Simplify Your Meals
Rather than going for meals which require a significant time investment to prepare them properly, you could instead go for ones which only need a handful of ingredients. To make your life even easier when it comes to your weekly shop, you could choose recipes which have common ingredients that you can stock up on in bulk.
Learn to Juggle Your Meal Prep
It certainly takes a little while before you can prepare a whole meal in which everything is ready at the same time and you don’t overcook a single ingredient. Work backwards from the time you want to eat dinner and think about which ingredients need to start cooking first. If it helps you out, you could write out a timeline of what you need to cook at each particular time. Again, it really is a case of practice making perfect.
Keep Your Kitchen Cabinets Organized
The more organised you keep your kitchen cabinets, the easier it is going to be to locate your ingredients when you are in a bit of a rush. As well as this, you will also be able to tell much more easily when you are running out of a particular ingredient and you need to stock up.
Clean As You Go
Half the battle of maintaining your kitchen is cleaning up, and you can save yourself a great deal of time and effort by doing this as you go along. Keep your sink full of soapy water and you can throw things in there to soak straight away. This way, you are not having to deal with any food which gets dried on and takes an age to clean properly. Also, you should keep a wet cloth to hand so that you can clean up as you go along. By the end of the meal, half of the washing up battle will already have been taken care of.
Invest in Good Equipment
The better the equipment you invest in, the better it tends to work and the longer it will last. This goes for your cutlery and cooking equipment to your appliances like your kettle and coffee maker. Take a look at the 10 best coffee makers reviews from Your Best Picks if you are currently in the market for one. Invest in good-quality equipment, and you will eventually have a kitchen of which you can be proud.
Keep Your Cookware Strategically
When you are organising your kitchen, you should keep your items in a way that makes them easily accessible. So, your most-used utensils are best in a jar next to the stove which puts them within arm’s reach at all times. Once you have them all on display in this way, you don’t have to spend any extra time rifling through your drawers to find what you are looking for. Other pieces of advice to follow include keeping your pots and pans closeby to the stove, your strainers near the sink, and your knives and cutting boards in close proximity to one another.
Always Have a Backup Meal Choice
Perhaps you have had a particularly long day at work or you are simply too exhausted to make the meal that you had originally planned to. In these situations, it is always a good idea to have a ‘Plan B’ meal. It should be something easy like a pasta dish which only requires you to have a couple of ingredients that can be stored for a long period of time to hand.
Make Breakfast the Night Before
Starting your day off with a nutritious breakfast is one of the best ways to set yourself up for the day in front of you, but the morning is usually the time of day when you are at your most rushed and you are least likely to spend a long time preparing a nutritious meal. You could simply throw a few smoothie ingredients into a blender and store it in the fridge overnight. Maybe you could soak some oats, nuts and seeds for granola or prepare some oatmeal in a crockpot overnight.
Keep an Ongoing Shopping List
We have already talked about writing a shopping list a little earlier on, but if you are ever worried about running out of ingredients, you could keep an ongoing list in your kitchen. This way, anyone who finishes off the last of a particular item can then write it up on the list and you won’t have to find you are missing that crucial ingredient when you are halfway through preparing your meal.
Learn How to Properly Chop Vegetables
Take a bit of extra time learning how to properly chop vegetables and you will make life so much easier for yourself. There are plenty of YouTube videos out there which lay out this process for you and demonstrate what you have been doing wrong all this time. And many of the techniques are relatively straightforward, meaning that you don’t have to be a professional chef to improve your cooking habits.
Use One-Pot Recipes
There are plenty of one-pot recipes out there which will save you so much time in both cooking and washing up. There are all sorts of tasty curries, casseroles, and stews which you can make in just a single pot.
Following these simple tips to save yourself time in the kitchen will ensure that you can prepare more of your own means and live a lifestyle which is both cheaper and healthier. With so many recipes available online which focus on efficiency and speed, there are more resources than ever to give you a helping hand. Ultimately, it is all about being a little more organised, and before you know it, everything should seem so much quicker.