Do you ever feel like you are living mostly in your kitchen?
There are some days I feel like I am spending my entire day in the kitchen preparing a meal or just something related to cooking meals.
When I look at my day, I found out I spend a good portion of my day planning, preparing, and serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I definitely cannot forget about all the snack requests too from the tiny humans that live in my home. Not mention on top of all of that, there is the constant shopping that needs to be done in order to keep up with the daily consumption that is going on in my home right now.
If you feel like this is you too, then let’s see if I can help you by giving you some bits of your time back.
To save you even MORE time, I want to share my 12 favorite time and money-saving kitchen tips.
Tip #1 – Portion Out Snacks
You can easily portion out snacks for your family to grab and go. These are perfect for on the go snacks or to easily pack your kid’s lunches. Use reusable containers to create your own family favorite DIY snacks. Some snack ideas you might like to try are trail mix, cheese cubes, veggie sticks, crackers, dried fruit, and chips.
Tip #2 – Cut and Chop Once a Week
Take a look at your weekly meal plan if you do one. Figure out what day you can cup up and have all your ingredients prepared for any upcoming meals. You can chop up the onions, grate your cheese, and slice your vegetables. By cutting and chopping ahead of your meal, you are saving yourself time. I love this tip because it’s perfect for those unexpected busy days that pop up in your week.
Tip #3 – Label Your Items
Do you ever look in the fridge and wonder how long that jar of pasta sauce or the container of leftovers has been in your refrigerator? Stop wondering by labeling everything! You can label things with a permanent marker. Things you can label are your freezer meals to leftovers. Make sure you write the date you prepared the freezer meals or when those leftovers were made. You will save time by not trying to figure out what is in the frozen container or if your food is still fresh in the refrigerator.
Tip #4 – Double Your Meals
Cooking a meal once and eating it twice is one of my favorite time-saving kitchen hacks. If you are making lasagna for dinner, make two family-sized batches and freeze the other one to be eaten later. Other meals you can cook but eat twice with are soups, casseroles, and sauces.
Tip #5 – Slow Cook Your Meals
Slow cookers are life-changing when it comes to preparing meals. If you don’t own a slow cooker, it is definitely a good investment to make. Slow cookers are great for those busy days during your week when you don’t have enough time to prepare dinner. Using a slow cooker saves you time by allowing you to focus on other tasks you may need to complete. It even makes getting dinner on the table stress-free!
Extra Tip: Spray the inside of your slow cooker prior to each use with cooking spray. This will help simplify cleaning up afterward.
Tip #6 – Create an Ongoing Shopping List
Keeping an ongoing shopping list will ensure you keep the essential items you need to make meals in your home. Make sure you keep the shopping list in an accessible place where everyone in your family can update it. I keep a whiteboard on the wall in our laundry room. The whiteboard is split up into three different categories: Grocery Store, Target, and Costco. When someone in the family wants an item from one of these places or something needs to be restocked, they write the item they need on the whiteboard under the category. This is a great way to help save you time when you go shopping.
Tip #7 – Make Baking Easier
You can create a mess-free and easy clean up when it comes to baking in your kitchen. Line your cookie sheets and pans with parchment paper. You can also use silicone liners. This will help you save time when it comes to cleaning up.
Tip #8 – Fill Your Containers
When it’s time to take inventory how do you easily figure out what needs to be restocked? The answer is clear containers! Clear containers help you easily see and take inventory when it comes to replenishing your essentials. Things you can store in clear containers are baking ingredients, cereals, pastas, and fruits and vegetables in the fridge.
Tip #9 – Eat Me First Bin
Do you always find yourself tossing away food or finding leftovers you probably should have eaten? If you do then you should make a Eat Me First bin! An Eat Me First bin is a bin you keep in your refrigerator or an area on a shelf with leftovers. You can also include any foods that are about to expire too. This bin will let everyone know that these food items need to be eaten or used when preparing a meal before they go bad.
Tip #10 – Prepare the Trash in Advance
Place a few extra empty bags in the bottom of your trash container before replacing it with a new trash bag. The next time you take out the trash you will have a new bag ready to put on. What a great tip to save you time!
Tip #11 – Use Ready Made Product Meals
Preparing a homemade meal can save you money, but when you are limited on time it is always a good idea to have ready-made food items on hand. For instance, pre-cut vegetables and fruits (I like to get the frozen packages and keep them stored in my freezer), frozen pizza, refrigerated cookie dough, boxed cake and muffin mixes.
Tip #12 – The Power of Foil
Did you know that the foil rolls in their boxes come with tabs that lock them in place? Each of the boxes has tiny perforated tabs on the side of them. Punch in the tabs and you won’t have any more flying rolls across your kitchen.
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