You have a lot on your plate. You’re probably working, raising kids, and running a household. You may have help, or you may not. One thing is certain is that you’re busy and need to save time wherever you can to ensure that you keep serving healthy meals to your family. These time-saving tips for busy cooks will help you.
- Read Your Recipes – Before you start cooking anything, you need to read through the recipe before you get started. It’s helpful to read it the day before in case you need to marinate something or thaw something out. Plus, you can identify anything you don’t have, substitutes you might use, and determine whether it’s the right thing to cook or not.
- Use Recipes – Even if you’re cooking your famous chili and don’t use a recipe for it, take the time to write down what you use. That way, you can make sure you don’t leave out ingredients, and that wipes out anyone’s excuse for not helping or cooking instead of you.
- Shop with Lists – When you go shopping, always know what you want to make, what you already have on hand, and what you need. The list will save you from forgetting. Even if you’re going for just a couple of things, writing a list will help you avoid a time-wasting return trip.
- Prep Your Ingredients Before Cooking – When you’re ready to cook, first prep each ingredient according to the directions. Then you can easily put together the recipe without having to keep reading the instructions again and again.
- Store Your Purchases Correctly – When you come home from the grocery store, you need to put the ingredients together in such a way that makes them easier to use. For example, you may want to prep and chop some of your ingredients, or you may wish to separate larger purchases into smaller storage amounts for ease of use.
- Everything Doesn’t Have to Be Peeled – It depends on the produce, where you bought it, and other factors, but you don’t really have to peel everything. Even carrots don’t need to be peeled. They just need to be washed.
- Use the Right Tools and Pans – When you use the right tools and pans, you automatically save time. For example, a grill pan cooks entirely differently than a regular thin nonstick skillet. A heavy bottom pan cooks differently from a lighter pan. Nothing can beat the crispy crust. A proper iron skillet allows developing on your protein flavors better.
- Make Extra – Cook for your freezer as well as for the recipes you’re making this week. For example, if you know that you want to make chicken salad, chicken soup, or chicken enchiladas and you’re fixing roasted chicken Sunday night, make two roasted chickens. Cook two casseroles if they’re freezer friendly. One for your recipes, one for later, and one for tonight. It doesn’t take more time to do both.
- Save Parts of Your Meals for Later – Even if all you have left from the turkey is a carcass and 1/2 cup of gravy, save it. These ingredients can be used to make broth or to add additional flavor to another dish without wasting.
- Make More One-Pot Meals – Making meals that can be cooked in only one pot is a time saver in terms of the actual cooking but also in the cleanup. Having fewer pots and pans to wash is always a great thing, especially if you still get a really good meal out of it.
Saving time is all about planning. If you plan what you’re cooking, you’ll save time shopping, save time cleaning up and save time through the entire process.