You CAN get out of the kitchen FAST while still fixing great meals for your family. It’s true… I did it for many many years. Today I’m going to share with you my favorite home time management and cooking tips which will help you save TONS of time in the kitchen by:
- Planning in advance
- Cooking ahead
- Freezing ahead
- Using Leftovers
Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.
Get Out of the Kitchen Fast Tip #1: Planning in Advance
Plan in advance on the weekend—whatever your weekend may be—for the coming week. Think about all that your family has going on in the coming week. Does your kid have any practices? Do you or your spouse have to work late? Will your family be attending midweek Church?
If you answered “Yes” to any of the above then you’ll know to plan a quick meal from one of the suggestions below.
Get Out of the Kitchen Fast Tip #2: Cooking ahead
Cooking ahead is one of the easiest and most fool-proof ways to give yourself nights off from cooking.
Yeah, that piqued your interest, didn’t it?
Say I know Harmony had an evening hockey game on Tuesday. I would do something like make tacos from the beef I’d cooked ahead on Sunday when I was making spaghetti. When cooking something like this ahead you could either put it in the freezer or fridge (if it’s within a day or so).
Taking a look at the picture to the right over here this is definitely something I’d do… it doesn’t take any more effort to cook a second chicken than it does the first. You could have leftovers or simply freeze it after it’s cooked and then thaw when needed.
Get Out of the Kitchen Fast Tip #3: Freezing ahead
This is different from cooking ahead… even though some of the hamburger from above may end up in the freezer. In the above example I took some hamburger and split it up for a couple of different meals. When I talk about freezing ahead, I’m referring to making batches of something and putting extra up for the future… such as the chicken mentioned above.
For instance, I have a meatloaf recipe I particularly love and when I make it I’ll make 75 servings at one time. (For those of you wondering it takes 11 pounds of hamburger.) Now, I don’t cook all 75 servings at one time. I put enough in my favorite cast iron skillet to make the size I want and then scoop it out and put it in a freezer bag for some other time. I make a few of those and then some for stuffed peppers. Then I’ll use whatever’s left for beef and gravy. I’ll put in some frozen corn and put it all over noodles.
They love it.
When I want a night off I’ll pull something out of the freezer. As a matter of fact, tonight we’re having BBQ sandwiches (from the freezer) from when I cooked a pork loin overnight several weeks ago.
Get Out of the Kitchen Fast Tip #4: Utilizing leftovers
Leftovers have been a lifesaver in my life and it’s a good thing my kids always loved them. You can have them as is or you can repurpose them.
For instance, leftover rice could be used in stir fry. Leftover spaghetti sauce could be used for crockpot chicken parmesan.
The trick is to try to make double when you cooking… again, as in the chicken from above. Since you’re already cooking it really takes minimal more effort… certainly much less than cooking from scratch tomorrow night.
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This is the first post in my “Home Time Management and Cooking” series.
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Which do you think would be first on your list to try? Hit “Reply” and let me know.To Your Success…
Mary Segers B.S., MSW
Your Home Time Management Expert, Coach, and Speaker
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Image of lasagna courtesy of plyato / FreeDigitalPhotos.net