Cooking Together

3 easy ways to save time in kitchen

If you enjoy cooking, then you know the joy of sitting down with those you love to share a meal together.  Something that’s not always easy to do with our increasingly busy lifestyles.

And, as much as we might enjoy cooking, it all takes a lot of time. Meal planning, grocery shopping, preparation, cooking and clean up all cut in to our precious hours.

No one wants to be a kitchen slave.  And who has the time to go to the market every day?

If you’d like to save a bit of time in the kitchen, here’s 3 simple ways for saving time from professional chefs and every day cooks.  So we can all spend a bit more time with family and friends, enjoying the fruits of our cooking labors.

Image by Fidel Fernando

WASH FRUITS AND VEGGIES BEFORE PUTTING THEM AWAY.

No doubt we’d all love to buy organic, but this doesn’t fit into every budget and sometimes the selection of organic produce is limited. And even organic fruits and vegetable should washed before consuming. They’re grown with fertilizers and soil enhancers and have been handled by a variety of workers.

Half fill a sink with cold water and add the following:

  • 1 cup white or cider vinegar

  • 1 tbsp. baking soda

  • The juice of half a lemon

This is going to fizz-up like a grade 8 science experiment, so don’t be alarmed. Place all your produce in the solution and let them sit for 5 minutes, turning any bobbing pieces to fully cover all surfaces. Scrub the skins of root veggies with a brush so you won’t have to peel them later. Rinse, and dry leafy greens in a salad spinner, air drying the rest on a tea towel before storing.

Healthy Cooking

CUT UP YOUR VEGGIES ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK.

For soups, salads and main dishes cut up your veggies for the week and store in the fridge in air tight containers. This way, you’re only pulling out the utensils and tools used for slicing, dicing, grating and chopping once – and only cleaning up once.

* Don’t precut avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers or green leafy veggies that will bruise, discolor or weep. They need to be added freshly chopped.

Business Plan

PLAN AHEAD

On the weekend, or before your work week starts, schedule some time into your calendar for meal planning and grocery shopping.

Take a quick inventory of what’s on hand in the kitchen, and plan some meals around what you already have – then fill in any ingredient gaps on your shopping list.

If you’re trying out new recipes, make sure you read them all the way through to ensure you have everything needed. And keep an ongoing grocery list of kitchen staples, adding items as they get low so you don’t run out mid-meal.

When planning your meals, give some consideration to what’s available for in-season produce and meats. The flavors will be more robust, and you’ll save time trying to find hard to source items.

On weeknights, try to plan a few one-pot meals that only need a salad or a side dish to complete – stir fries, casseroles, pastas and stews all work well when time is crunchy.

If you’re stuck for meal ideas, Google some of the items you have in the pantry plus ‘recipe’ for a bit of inspiration.

Post your meal plan for the week on the fridge and stick to it. Not having to think about what to make for dinner is a great stress buster.

And don’t go shopping when you’re hungry, or you’ll be tempted to stock up on convenience items…not the best for the budget or the waist.

Cocoa Puffs may seem like a good idea when your walking down the cereal section with your tummy rumbling, but trust me, they’re not.