Whether it be cooking, eating, cleaning, the list goes on and on, its no wonder that its considered the heart of most homes.
However, even though we do have to spend lots of time there, theres no need to spend unnecessary time if you can help it.
I’m talking about time that you could use for other things, time that makes a difference elsewhere if saved here – and thats where this post comes in!
Take a look at these time saving tips to see exactly how you can save time from today in the kitchen – you may just surprise yourself!
Rethink where you store things
Getting organised in the kitchen is a very tangible way to save time each and every day.
It will save time more than anything else listed – as every second counts!
Theres no quicker way to sap the hours than to have to continually be hunting for things all the time – so getting the right storage and systems in place, and everything in the right place, will really help.
- Place your plates/cups/cutlery as close to the dishwasher/sink as possible – saving time every time things have to be put away after being cleaned.
- Keep the most used items in easy reach, and the least used items further away (higher or lower shelves) – that way you won’t spend ages each day getting to things to use.
- Place childrens things at their level so that they can help themselves more (getting breakfast sorted, getting a drink etc….)
- In terms of food storage – use the right containers for the job – that way you are spending less time opening and closing ill-fitting lids, or taping down plastic bags of food etc….
Every second really does count!
Gadgets can be a real blessing in the kitchen, giving ways to make lengthy tasks much faster, so why not some or all of the following!
NB – I have to say this though – don’t spend money on gadgets if they will just add to your clutter – get things because they will help not hinder – and also make sure that they are easy to maintain and clean, otherwise you are making more work for yourself overall! (Lesson over!)
- Mandolin – If you are forever taking time slicing and dicing then this gadget will make things really quick and easy! (alternatively spend some time learning great knife skills – good video below!)
- Halogen Ovens can speed up cooking time (reader tip from facebook – thank you!)
- Food processors can help blitz, puree, blend, whip etc… or a stick blender is also a great idea and much smaller to fit in cupboards and get out when needed.
- One touch can opener – so you can do other stuff while its working!
- One touch jar opener – pass the jam anyone!!!
- Garlic press – makes light work and much less smelly hands afterwards!
- Hand mixer – great for batters and baking especially – and saves muscle power too!
- Small chopper – great for quick chopping of smaller items
Spend less time chopping!
We’ve already looked at using a chopping helper to make swift work of chopping, but why chop much at all?
For some things like making soups and casseroles, its usually enough to really roughly and quickly chop the ingredients up, as they will break up during cooking and a lot of the time can be pureed anyway at the end.
Work out whats actually going to be seen in the final meal and make time for that stuff only!
Alternatively of course – just buy ready prepared veg and fruit – although more expensive it can sometimes be a lifesaver (and is usually heavily marked down at the end of the day so you can grab a bargain!)
Use a timer
How many times have you stood by a saucepan of water waiting for it to boil, or a saucepan with food in waiting for it to cook? I know I used to do that far too often – especially when I used to be easily distracted by other chores!
I learnt slowly how long each of these things took to cook/boil etc….. and now I can put a pan of water on the cooker, set the timer for 4 minutes and know that it will be boiling when I get back to it, then add pasta and set the timer for 7 minutes and when I hear the bell I know that I will have perfect pasta every time.
In those 4 / 7 etc… minutes I can then go and do other things safe in the knowledge that the food isn’t spoiling and things are getting done as fast as possible.
It saves time for you as you don’t have to hover anymore!
Have things ready
Theres no quicker time waster than going to the kitchen to prepare the tea and finding you have run out of something crucial.
The time taken to get to the shops, or to work out what you can cook instead is huge, and mounts up over the days/weeks.
Having a meal planner and using this to do your food shops should really help to stop this issue, as will ensuring that when you are nearly out of something that is a kitchen staple (flour, butter etc….) that it goes on the shopping list so you will replenish it before you run out.
Wash and clear as you go
Theres nothing worse than finishing a lovely meal, taking the plates to the kitchen only to find what can only be summed up as a bomb site!
Not only is clearing up after you’ve eaten the last thing you will be wanting to do, the food has probably congealed and stuck hard to the saucepans and worksurface so you have to spend even longer clearing it all away.
The trick is to clear as you go – have a bin bag or the bin itself to hand so that you can put peelings, wrappers etc… straight into it, load the dishwasher as you go, rinse cans for recycling as you use them etc….
It all adds up – but doing it as you go means you should only be left with the plates and cutlery by the end of the meal – bliss!
Freeze ahead meals and make double!
Cooking from scratch can be really time consuming every evening, so why not make it easier to have home cooked meals more quickly on some nights when you haven’t got the time to start from the beginning?
If you do make a meal from scratch then why not make double or triple and freeze the extra portions ready to defrost and cook another day?
This makes much more sense financially and health wise rather than reaching for a takeout or ready meal.
Prep multiple meals in one go
Why not make the most of your time in the kitchen one night and make more than one meal?
For example – if you use the same or similar ingredients then its probably just as easy to make a bolognese sauce at the same time as a tomato pasta sauce and a lasagne for instance – that way you have prepared the next few days meals in one go – and in one time-span!
Get clever with your cooking time and it will transform how long things take!
Use leftovers wisely
Even if you don’t freeze extra portions of a meal you may want to use the leftovers (and extra that you’ve cooked on purpose!) for the next days lunch.
Use meat from a roast in sandwiches, or serve a cold pasta salad using what you cooked the night before.
This means that nothing goes to waste, and you have pre prepared yet another meal ready to pull out the next day!
Make things easier
Use simple recipes or recipes that you already know – and don’t beat yourself up about it – its fine to go all out once in a while, but easy meals are fantastic time savers!
Last but definitely not least is using delegation.
After asking the lovely people who read my facebook page what their favourite time saving tips were – my favourite one was this – makes me laugh every time!
“I get my husband to cook – saves heaps of time!
And the lady has a point – after all – if you do all the cooking in the house, do you really have to?
Can you share with your partner so that you both get some evenings freed up, or is a child old enough to cook certain meals now as well?
Worth thinking about….
Being clever with how you prepare meals, what you prepare, and when you prepare things can transform you into an uber-organised cook in no time!
Less waste, less evenings cooking from scratch, less to clear up, and most importantly of all – less stress for you!
So why not try some of these tips out and see how you go – and as always I’d love to hear of any more tips you have – just let me know below!