Most of us have enough going on in life that we don’t want to spend a lot of extra time in the kitchen. There are lots of easy little changes you can make to your routine that will help you save a lot of time so you can have more time for your family and the other priorities in your life. Here are some easy kitchen tips from our Groceries On A Dime e-books to get you started.
- Make simple meals. One-dish meals can contain your meat, your vegetable and your bread.
- Things to do the night before:
- Plan your meals.
- Put things in the refrigerator to defrost.
- Pack lunches.
- Set the table for breakfast. Prepare breakfast foods the night before. For pancakes, mix dry ingredients the previous night. In the morning, add wet ingredients and cook.
- Cook Once, Cook Big:
- Make large batches of beans and store in 1- or 2-cup portions.
- Make large batches of granola and store in an airtight container. If used for lunches or snacks, divide into single-serving plastic bags or containers.
- Brown a large portion of ground beef and store in 1-cup portions. You can also do this with roast, pork and round steak.
- Cut up extra ingredients for another meal when using onions, green peppers, etc.
- Cook double batches of rice or pasta to be reheated later in the week.
- Buy staples that you use often in quantity.
- Make double or triple the amount when you prepare main dishes. Freeze. Label with the name of the dish and cooking instructions. Later when you are too busy to cook, put in the crockpot on low or set the timer for the oven to start dinner before you get home.
- Place all pre-made meals in one part of the freezer. That way your husband and kids can easily find the meals when you aren’t at home.
- Try exchanging meals with another family. Cook double the amount and take half over to them. Later, they cook double and bring it to you. That is one less night you have to cook and it brings variety to your menu.
- Have family members help. There is no reason why the kids can’t help out with the cleaning, including dishes and other chores, so that you have time to prepare meals. Have everyone remove his or her own dirty place setting from table and put away 4 or 5 additional items. The table will be cleared quickly using this method. Wash your dishes right away. If you don’t let them sit, the food will not get stuck on them. This will save you a lot of time because you won’t have to do extra work trying to scrape food off the dishes when you’re cleaning the kitchen before the next meal.
- When unloading the dishwasher, set the table for the next meal.
- Put away containers and clean up as you cook.
You can make EASY and delicious meals at home in less time than eating out! You’ll save a ton of money on food and your family will thank you!
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I agree with all you have said in those tips about saving time in the kitchen. One of the things I have done for a long time is to cook up a large amount of ground beef, usually with some seasonings and onions that would go with everything, freeze in one-cup portions, and then when I am ready to make chili, spaghetti, etc., I don’t have to go through browning onions and ground beef before I am ready to make those meals. What a time saver that really is!! Chili can be done in no time as well as other foods. Not only are your ideas time savers, but also they are money savers in that you won’t be running out to a fast food place with inferior meals. Keep up your fine work.
Grizzly Bear Mom
As a single I cook mass quantities and store just a little different. I make mini meat loaves. I cook a pound of beans but freeze them in 2 cup portions. I could a pound of s l o w cook oatmeal and scoop cuts out of it for breakfast all week.
An article on organizing one’s freezer would be very welcome!
My 2,5 year old son and 6,5 year old daughter are my big helpera. He will stir batters for me, cut bananas and avocado and eggs or sausages, soft things. He sets the table, cleans up messes and such. when I let my perfection go I realised it is big help. list, my picky water is picky no more. He even tried soup when he helped making it. :-) Daughter wants to do things all on her own. She sometimes makes breakfast for us, except the coffee. For her it is very important to do things not because she is told to do it but because she sees it needs to be done. She helps clear the table. She likes to put things in the fridge, especially on the top shelf she feels big that way. Sometimes having them help out takes longer, but most of the time it really is helpful. And the best part is, that since I work outside the home and really would like more time with them, this gives us the opportunity to hang out and talk. Great! Suppose it is good for them to know how things work too, for when they are older. I just wish that they will continue to like our kitchen time!
Years ago when I was a single parent with 2 girls at home, I shared my Townhouse with my Mother. She moved in with the girls and I. We had 2 other sets of single Mothers in the complex and we all got along and so did our kids. Since all 3 of us worked and worked different days, and shifts, we watched each other’s kids too. Grandma was always home for after school and would watch anyone who needed her, and I was home by 3:30 so it wasn’t for long she needed to be the care person. Anyway we set up a system. One of our days off we cooked for everyone. And each of us took our day. That meant twice a week we were off the hook for supper! There were 11 for a meal. The mom that had the most kids and the least money usually got the job of making spaghetti and salad ( everyone loved that!) We did the roast dinner ( easy and no leftovers!) and the other Gal loved making more exotic things. (to us they were exotic, like garlic bread and Cesar salad. This was the late 1970’s and early 1980’s). So we had a wide variety of meals And 2 evenings a week with no meal to make at all! I think we all saved a lot, making bread or buns to go with the meal didn’t cost much and tasted so good, and with friends even pork and beans and buns was a fun time, or hot dogs and French fries.
Just an idea for other single Moms that have a circle of friends who might enjoy this even if it was once a week or every 2 weeks, you get out, visit, and your kids get to visit and have fun with you.
When I was a single parent of one, I cooked one day a week. Depending on my menu for the week, I might have ground beef browning on one burner, a chicken or two simmering to be deboned and portioned, etc. I also made pancakes – lots of them. He was a picky eater at times and I found I could hide almost any fruit or veggie in pancakes if I added enough cinnamon and vanilla. I cooled them on racks like you do cookies, then stored in Ziploc bags. That made it so easy to pop some in the microwave every morning. They also doubled as snacks. I’d warm them and spread them with butter and a little honey.
He’s grown and gone now and I’m a disabled widow on a fixed income. I still have the mindset of cooking in quantities. Since my husband died, I have a tendency to not eat or be satisfied with a can of soup. I’m getting back into cooking in quantity. I just freeze in single serving sizes. I have a chest freezer, an upright freezer and a huge freezer on the bottom of my fridge. By having premade or partially premade foods in the freezer, I can and do throw together good meals in minutes.
My food saver is the most used appliance in my kitchen now that I keep it on the counter and plugged in. I have a container next to it with rolls of bagging material and sharpie markers. My step kids bring their families to see me and they all know how to seal any bag they open.
Sarah @ SarahTitus.com
There are some fantastic tips in this article. I liked #6. A lot of times I forget to label my food when I put it in the freezer. Need to get better at that. LOL
My favorite tip is to prep veggies beforehand. I like to clean carrots, celery, lettuce and certain fruits as soon as I get home from the grocery store. I store them in mason jars with plastic lids so it’s easy to see what I have. Having those veggies ready to go makes food prep faster and more pleasant after a long day. Plus, there is less food waste. Works for leftovers too!