These 10 tips to cooking faster and more efficiently will help you gain confidence in the kitchen! Spend less time cooking and more time with your kids and family!
At the end of a long day, do you really look forward to making a healthy, nourishing dinner for your family? Or is it so time consuming and energy-sucking that you completely dread it every day?
Maybe you want to get better and more motivated to cook healthy dinners. Maybe you just want to get faster so you can spend more time with your babies and less time in the kitchen.
My 10 ways to start cooking faster (yes, literally reducing the amount of time you spend in the kitchen) will help you stop dreading cooking, and help you start being more efficient so you have more time in the evenings with your family.
1. Organize Your Recipes
Are you recipes scattered everywhere in your kitchen, stored on Pinterest, or in random screenshots on your phone?
If you don’t have all your recipes in one place, it makes meal planning, meal prepping, and your kitchen in general, feel pretty dang chaotic.
Having a recipe binder makes it so easy to meal plan because you have a book full of recipes you’ve tried and that your family loves. Plus, when it’s time to start cooking, you’ll know exactly where the recipe is. Super fast!
If you want to start a recipe binder, check out my blog post with free printables here!
2. Meal Plan
This one is huge because it saves so much time. Schedule when and what recipes you are making during the week. This simple task will eliminate any guesswork or scrambling to find a recipe to make on the evening you are cooking.
It also helps you save time at the grocery store, and it allows you plan ahead if you need to thaw things from the freezer!
3. Meal Prep Ahead of Time
Once you have meal plan for the week written down, look over those recipes together.
Are there any common ingredients like onions or bell peppers that need to be chopped up?
Do you need to mix up a marinade or make homemade enchilada sauce beforehand?
Can you make a double batch of quinoa on Monday and use the leftovers for Wednesday?
Prepare as many ingredients as you can ahead of time and store them in your fridge until later in the week.
4. Use Less Dishes
This one is huge and can save a ton of time if done right. Especially for you crazy days in the week, look for recipes that use one pot, sheet pans, or are made in the slow cooker. These recipes typically do not use very many dishes at all, which can save a ton of time on clean up.
5. Read the Recipe First
I don’t mean just skim it. Actually read the recipe all the way through. This way, there will be no surprises midway through cooking the meal. It will help you feel more confident and better prepared to make that meal really quick!
6. Gather Your Ingredients
Isn’t it the worst when you have veggies on the stove about to burn, noodles boiling and ready to be drained, and you still need to find the paprika in the spice cupboard? Ugh, it’s a nightmare.
A super easy (and maybe obvious) tip, is to gather all your ingredients first and set them on the counter. That way, you’re not digging through your cupboards trying to find ingredients.
Look through the recipe and try to find things or steps that you can at the same time. For instance, can you saute the vegetables while chopping up the meat? Can you boil the water for some noodles while preparing the salad?
Think about thing you can do simultaneously to help save time in the kitchen!
8. Pre-wash Your Vegetables
When you get home from the grocery store, spend a few minutes washing your veggies under cold water. Use these reusable produce mesh bags to put your produce in at the store, then wash your produce inside the bags when you get home. It’s literally so easy.
That way, when it’s time to cook dinner after you get home from work, you’ll have one less thing to do. #winning
9. Clean As You Go
This one is huge for me, because if I don’t do this, my kitchen ends up being a disaster at the end of the meal. And my husband and I don’t want to spend a bunch of time cleaning up after eating dinner. We want to spend time with each other and our baby!
Try rinsing the cutting boards, knives, and measuring spoons and putting them in the dishwasher before you’re done cooking. It’ll make cleaning up that much easier.
10. Use Your Freezer
One of the things I’ve been doing lately for meal planning is choosing recipes that will make good freezer meals (like casseroles and slow cooker “dump” recipes). I’ll double the recipe, serve one for dinner and put the other in the freezer (in one of these pans) for later.
Here’s a couple of the freezer meals I like making:
- Healthy One Pot Mac and Cheese
- Southwestern Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Meatballs With Chimichurri Sauce
- Balsamic Marinated Chicken w/Honey & Rosemary
If all else fails, you’ll have some freezer meals to turn to in a pinch!
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By using my 10 tips to make cooking faster, I’m confident you’ll be able to spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the meals you make with your family!