5 Working Dad Tips To Save Hours Per Week Cooking
When you are too busy or too tired to cook, the quality of your life can suffer. Having to throw together unhealthy fast food or settle for frozen pizza because you are overtaxed eventually takes its toll. But who has the time to cook meals from scratch? Short of having a personal chef or using a food prep service, it may seem like an impossible task. We are going to show you five things you can do to reclaim your time and also be able to eat a healthy family meal. And it's not hard. All it takes is implementing one or more new strategies.
Cook All Your Vegetables At Once
Chef Tamar Alder, author of An Everlasting Meal, suggests pre-cooking all your vegetables right away when you get them home from the market. Although you may sacrifice a small amount of freshness, this method ensures that you will always have delicious, healthy, vegetables to serve every night of the week.
If you are too tired from your busy day to cook, those “fresh” vegetables that you bought are going to sit in the refrigerator anyhow. And we all know the feeling of opening up the vegetable drawer a week after grocery shopping only to have to chuck out produce that has gone bad.
Prep, Chop, Slice, And Dice In Advance
This is similar to cooking your veggies all at once, except that this method is for raw foods. If you want to get more salads and raw veggies into your families diet, this is the perfect method. Any fresh vegetable that won't brown can be prepared in this way, saving you a ton of time.
Lettuce can be washed, torn and stored in a ziplock bag with a paper towel to keep it fresh, crisp, and ready for a healthy salad anytime. Peppers, onions, carrots, garlic, and fresh herbs can all be cut and stored the same way. When its time to make a salad, simply take out your pre-washed, precut, ingredients for quick and easy assembly.
If you are going to go through the motions of making lasagna, take the extra time to double or triple your recipe and freeze for later use. Batch cooking will save you the prep time of preparing the same meal over and over. Not all meals can be frozen, of course, but many dishes lend themselves perfectly to this technique.
There are many resources online to help you find recipes that freeze well. Adventures in partaking has some terrific recipes and tips for batch cooking that will not only save you time but can even save you money.
Small Appliances Are Your Friends
If you want to make your life easier, we suggest you dust off your small kitchen appliances and put them to use. Blenders and food processors can help with the preparation of sauces and other recipes, primarily when you are utilizing cook -ahead methods. When you bring these helpful tools out of hiding and use them for a few hours of food preparation, not only do they speed up the process, but you only have to break them down and wash them once.
And don’t forget your trusty appliances for everyday use. Gadgets like rice cookers let you set and forget rice, quinoa, and other grains. Some of the best air fryers on the market today can make healthy, delicious, crispy fries, fish, or veggies without the added fat of deep frying. Your tried and true slow cooker is worth another look as well. A fully cooked hot meal at the end of the day is well worth a few minutes of morning preparation. For a ful llist of appliances that can potentially help out your time savings, see Honest Product Reviews Kitchen Appliances section.
The last tip we have for saving time is to get your kitchen space organized. Throw out the old spices and pack up or give away things that are cluttering your space. Make sure that the tools you need are always clean and handy. Set your preparation area up with a basic set of sharp knives, cutting boards, and items you use every day.
Make sure you have plenty of plastic storage bags in all sizes to easily keep food fresh and ready to use. (These can be washed and reused.) Freezer safe food storage containers will help with batch cooking and don’t forget to have clean towels and mild detergent to keep your workspace tidy.
Whether you use just one or all five of these techniques, you are bound to discover more time on your hands. As an added benefit, your wallet may thank you. Less time in the kitchen means more time making precious memories with the ones you love, so start some new habits and reclaim the dinner hour.