We are all busy, and we all want to spend time doing things that are important to us, be it spending more time with the kids, enjoying a hobby or focusing on our careers. Not doing routine tasks like cooking. Still, today I want to show you that there are ways to save time in the kitchen, so you still get to eat a healthy homemade meal without spending hours preparing it.
There are lots of advantages to cooking several dishes at once.
1. If the oven is already warm from the previous dish, you save a bit of energy not having to warm it up for the next. You also save a good 15-20 minutes which is the usual warm up time.
2. You only have to clean after yourself once.
3. You can increase your productivity by focusing on one task. Let me explain: If you are preparing one tomato for a salad, you need to wash it, drain it, chop it, wash the knife and board. If you prepare a dozen tomatoes, extra wash and drain time per tomato is marginal, and you can cut them all quicker since the knife and board are already there. So slice a tomato so it is ready for tomorrow’s sandwich, chop some for tonight’s guacamole, and pour the rest into your pasta sauce for the week.
The same goes for food you need to process. Put bigger quantities in the mixer so you only clean it once, and do all your recipes at once, or freeze the surplus, whether it is pasta sauce or pepper stuffing. Most things freeze well, except potatoes, they get all mushy. If you have a doubt just google it
When I bake a pizza, right after, I bake bread in the hot oven. If there is extra space, I put a Pyrex with a pasta dish or a flan on the size, so it cooks at the same time. Don’t cook smelly dishes with bread though, like fish and bread, because bread would absorb the flavors and smell fishy.
There are lots of recipes that you can cook a day or two before, so why not use Sunday night to prepare a few meals for the week? You can prepare pasta, rice or beans, even potatoes, and use them in several dishes over the week. Like pasta + sauce, pasta salad, pasta casserole. So those are three pasta recipes that only needed one 10 minute pasta cooking. You just saved 20 minutes. And a bit of energy.
You can prepare hard boiled eggs, muesli, pasta sauce, even salads in advance if you don’t pour dressing on it. So in the morning you can make your lunch to take to work in two minutes with the hard egg, pasta and a couple of vegetables.
You can also prepare one dish and freeze one meal portions so you don’t get bored. You will need a big freezer for that, but if that makes you stop having take out twice a week, it will pay for itself in no time.
Use movie night to cook dishes that require a long time, like stew or lentil soup, so you can keep an eye on it during the commercial breaks, and eat it the next day when you have a busier night. Cooking doesn’t have to be for tonight, you can do it when you have some time and reheat when you are busy.
The easy way for a quick snack is usually to open a bag of chips or peanuts, which is expensive and unhealthy over the long run. But if you have diced vegetables (carrot, cauliflower, cucumber, radish…) ready, and prepared a yoghurt sauce, you have your snack. You’ll need to keep the veggies in a tupperware and eat them quite quickly. Hummus is easy to do if you put the chickpeas in the slow cooker, they’ll be ready the next day and cold by the evening. Just add lemon, olive oil and sesame seeds and you have a nice quick healthy dip.
If you apply those tips, on a busy night, you should be able to reheat dinner in 10 minutes. And thanks to bulk cooking and multitasking, you shouldn’t have to spend more than two nights a week preparing dishes.
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