10 Time-Saving Tips for the Kitchen
When life gets hectic, finding the time to prepare delicious and healthy meals can feel like a monumental challenge. From busy work schedules to kids’ after-school activities, it sometimes seems like there are never enough hours in the day. And all too often, homecooked meals are the first priority to fall by the wayside – but not anymore!
But with these helpful kitchen and meal preparation tips, you can cut down on the time you spend in the kitchen and simplify your everyday routine. Here are our favorite tips and tricks for saving time and making meals as easy as possible.
Best Time-Saving Tips for the Kitchen
1. Use meal-prepping to your advantage by creating a simple system – that you can actually stick to!
If meal-prepping sounds like something you don’t have time for, think again: with the right approach, a quick prep session can save you hours every week. Preparing some basic meal components ahead of time doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming, and you can completely customize the process to suit your needs.
For example, you might grill some chicken breast for weekday lunches, mixing it up with various salads and veggies depending on what you have on hand. Or, you can make a big pot of vegetable soup in the slow cooker at the beginning of the week, then portion out several bowls for easy dinners.
2. Create a weekly menu so that you’re never stuck without a plan.
One of the most universally-dreaded questions is, “What’s for dinner?” Luckily, when you have a weekly menu, you’ll never have to wonder what you’re going to eat tonight – or any time of day.
Sit down at the beginning of the week (or whenever works best for you), and write down the meals that you’ll be preparing. Depending on your preferences, you might decide to plan your dinners but leave breakfast and lunch up in the air. Or, you can create a menu that covers everything down to daily snacks – it’s completely up to you!
3. Make a shopping list before you head to the store.
Sure, creating a shopping list takes time, but it helps you make sure that you’re ready for the week ahead with a stockpile of must-have ingredients. You’ll be able to streamline the overall shopping experience, and also make sure that you have everything on hand for a variety of great meals.
Instead of spending your time in the kitchen wishing that you hadn’t forgotten an important element of tonight’s dinner, you’ll be perfectly prepared for some quick and fuss-free cooking and a delicious meal.
4. Wash all of your produce before putting it away.
It may sound overly obvious, but you might be surprised at how much time you spend by washing your produce before storing it.
After a shopping trip, set out all your produce on the counter. Then, thoroughly wash everything so that it’s ready to grab and go. Not only will it make meal prep that much easier, but this tip can also help you stop wasting produce.
5. Have a few basic staples on hand for anytime meals.
There’s nothing more frustrating than staring into the abyss of an empty fridge or pantry, especially when you’re hungry. Instead of wasting time with a late-night grocery store trip, make sure you’re always prepared with a handful of versatile necessities.
Non-perishables such as dried pasta, canned vegetables, dried beans, and pre-made sauces can be used to whip up a wide range of meals in minutes.
Also, having a solid collection of spices will add flavor to even the most basic meals, elevating your dining experience to the next level.
6. Save time – and waste less – by making enough for leftovers.
Leftovers might have a less-than-stellar reputation, but the truth is, they can help you seriously cut down on your time spent in the kitchen. In fact, reinventing your idea of leftovers is one of our favorite kitchen tips.
If you aren’t a fan of basic leftovers, give yours an upgrade. Yesterday’s chili makes the perfect topping for cheesy chili dogs, while the roasted chicken from Sunday dinner is perfect for Monday’s chicken soup or pot pie.
7. Use smart swaps whenever possible.
Consider your go-to meals and the ingredients you use most, then look for easy ways to simplify the routine.
For example, if your family enjoys a variety of chicken dishes, picking up a rotisserie chicken from the store can be a great start to a delicious dinner. The chicken can be shredded and seasoned, then use in an array of meals: chicken enchiladas, Caesar salad, spicy chicken tacos, chicken salad sandwiches, and so many others.
8. Find recipes for sheet pan dinners and one-pot meals.
One of the biggest sources of wasted time in the kitchen is the after-meal cleanup. Nobody wants to face a stack of dirty dishes after a filling meal, especially when you’re short on time. But recipes for one-pot and sheet pan meals decrease the number of dishes dramatically, giving you more time to relax.
All you need to do is toss together some basic ingredients, put the mixture in the oven or on the stove, and enjoy a restaurant-worthy meal in next to no time.
9. Invest in small appliances that will do some of the work for you.
Making a meal doesn’t always mean standing in front of a hot stove or oven; in fact, you can often get away with next to no cooking time at all. Small kitchen appliances like the crockpot and Instant Pot have forever changed how we prepare meals, doing nearly all of the work for us.
With a crockpot (also called a slow cooker), you can toss in some basic ingredients in the morning, then come home to a piping-hot meal that’s ready to eat. The Instant Pot can cook frozen meats and dried pantry staples within minutes, so even last-minute meals can be delicious. And with a virtual plethora of online recipes for the Instant Pot and slow cooker alike, you’ll truly never get bored.
10. Don’t be afraid to let someone else cook for you every now and then.
Even with the best time-saving tips for the kitchen, there are bound to be days (or even weeks!) when whipping up a homemade meal is next to impossible. But before you make your way to the nearest fast-food drive-through, here’s an alternative: make a quick stop at Gelson’s for one of our signature Meals to Go.
Prepared by the talented catering team, each meal can be customized to suit your personal preferences. Feed up to a family of four with each meal package by ordering online and simply picking up in-store.
Shop at Gelson’s Supermarket for All Your Time-Saving Cooking Necessities
Whether you consider yourself a budding home chef or are just getting started in the kitchen, having great ingredients on hand is key to preparing delicious meals – and saving time doing it! Make grocery shopping easier than ever by choosing Gelson’s as your one-stop-shop, the neighborhood store where you can find everything you need to cook at home.
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