TodayI’ve got more meal planning tips to save time in the kitchen. You can also read my first meal planning post. Today I want to share a few more tips that will help save time with meals.
Cook in bulk and freeze a load.
One of the things I’ve found works really well for me is to cook more than I need and freeze some. When I make spaghetti bolognese, I always make a big pan full and then freeze individual portions of the meat mix. This will then do for a lunch for myself or more family meals at another time during the following week or so. This works with curries, shepherds pie, lasagne, stews, chilli con carne… This means you’ve got good food that you don’t need to cook from scratch each time.
Check out these Freezable Recipes from BBC Good Food.
Choose a shopping day and stick with it.
When I was a kid Sunday was bath day. Obviously somewhere along the line bath day turned into an every day event and Friday was shopping day. My dad would take us after work and we’d call in for fish and chips on the way home. But again, somewhere along the line this became an almost daily event too until about 6 months ago. I decided things were getting out of hand. I was spending way too much time and money food shopping. Now I have an online shop delivered every Tuesday to last the week.
Okay, I admit I do pop into my local shop for a treat at the weekend now and then but it’s not for essential meals. I’ve found it works better to shop weekly rather than do a great big shop once a month.
Remember to take what you need out of the freezer the night before.
Or of course in the morning for the day’s evening meal. I keep my meal planner in the kitchen where I see it often and it’s a good reminder.
Use your slow cooker.
Honestly, for me and I know many families, the slow cooker is a God send. I use mine more in the winter months for things like stews and chilli’s… When my sisters and I were growing up and my dad was working long hours on the land, my mum would make a slow cooker meal that we could eat at our normal meal time and it was still ready for my dad whenever he came home and it was always packed with hearty goodness.
Check out these Slow Cooker Recipes from CookingLight.com
Rotate your supplies
I have spent years working in bars, and one of the absolute basics was that when you put new bottles out, you moved the bottles already out to the front and put the new bottles to the back ensuring that the drinks that would go out of date the quickest were always brought to the front.
Do the same with food and drink supplies at home. If you buy new tinned produce, bring the old stuff to the front and put the new stuff to the back. This means you do a quick rotate every shopping day. Never put your new stuff to the front, you’ll end up with a load of things way past their sell by date.
Make life easy for yourself.
Unless you’re passionate about cooking, which I admit that most of the time I’m not, stick to plain and simple. We don’t need to be cooking fancy pant meals from scratch every day. Stick a couple of chicken breasts in some foil with a bit of oil in the oven and baking potatoes, sling a few chopped peppers, chopped red onion and courgette slices in a roasting dish with a drizzle of oil and let it cook. Nothing fancy, just plain, good food that doesn’t need you to follow a complicated recipe and doesn’t need a million ingredients.
Get yourself a signature dish and then another…
Learn how to make one meal really well, you know the sort you can whip up with your eyes closed. Spaghetti Bolognese is a great starter. And a great one to teach your kids before they leave home.
Most weeks we have a Spaghetti Bolognese, Omelette with salad, a chicken dish with baked potatoes and salad… Meals do vary as to the time of year, but we have our favourites. I know how to cook them in a flash and they just get done quickly.
If you’ve got kids get them helping out
Seriously, if you have kids, you’re not doing them any favours running around exhausted after them. If they are of an age to help out get them working (if they can walk confidently, they can help in my book). Get your kids to help set the table, clear dishes, make drinks, help prepare simple meals. I’m not talking about the fun in the kitchen baking experiences kids love, that’s not a time management tip. I’m talking every member of the family pitching in and doing what they can.
Meals that freeze well
Some meals really lend themselves to cooking in bulk and freezing either as a family meal or in individual portions.
I almost always have curry, beef stew and lasagne in my freezer. I found a great post with more ideas at 10 Awesome Recipes That Freeze Well.
Do you like my tips or have more tips to share? Please leave a comment below. I love hearing from you.
This blog post is part of a series. To read the rest of my time-management tips, go to Time-Management
OVER TO YOU
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