Can you guess what household activity takes the longest every single day? That’s right… cooking. With 3 meals a day and family to feed, 4-6 hours a day is not uncommon if you include the time to prep, cook, and clean. Since we all only have 24 hours a day and 6-8 of those hours are spent in the dream world, the amount of time left over can seem very minimal. What this article is meant to do is to help you take back some of those hours every day and put towards what you really want to do.
Save Time with Better Kitchen Organization
Double Prep & Freeze Foods
A very easy way to save time during dinner is to bulk prep your ingredients or freeze applicable food items. This way, you can eliminate the prep time and go straight into cooking, which can be about 15 minutes depending on your meal. Veggies are great to prep and usually take the longest if you have many ingredients - such as for a vegetable stir-fry. Some foods can be frozen such as rice, pasta, beans, stew, or soup and they taste great reheated!
Cook More Dinner & Save for Lunch
In the case that your meal isn’t great to be stored in the freezer, consider making leftovers to store in the refrigerator. Many people don’t like leftovers because reheated food usually doesn’t taste as great as fresher cooked food. One way to make reheated foods taste better is to add a few tbsp of water (steam) and a few fresh ingredients like tomatoes or fresh herbs. By reheating food for lunch, you can save prep time and keep washing to a minimum.
Clean As You Prep and Cook
We all know how dishes can easily pile up after the meal is prepared. It’s common to wait until after eating dinner before washing and by that time, it’s not likely that you’ll be ecstatic. The solution is to clean while you cook. There is always time in between your prep when you can clean. For instance, you’re waiting for the water to boil, pan, oven or food to heat up. Even if you have 15-30 seconds, something can be washed. You can even get a helper during the prep.
Assess Kitchen Pantry Cabinets & Shelving
How we store our ingredients in our kitchen pantry plays a big and fundamental role in a variety of ways including but not limited to: saving time, a decrease in mental effort, ease of finding ingredients, minimizing total walking distance in the kitchen and more. Without a proper kitchen pantry, finding your items can be a hassle and sifting the shelves behind all the bags, cans and ingredients can drastically decrease your cooking experience. It may be time for a kitchen pantry upgrade.
Use Spice & Ingredient Containers
When we’re making a meal, the last thing we want to do is fumble around looking for ingredients. Many times, we may not know what ingredients we want to use for the particular meal, and thus, seeing them all is a great way to decide. The problem comes when all of your spices and ingredients are hard to see at a glance. A solution to this problem is to use uniform spice and ingredient containers with labels and grouped together for easy viewing.
Intelligent Kitchen Workflow
Another foundation to a better kitchen organization is through proper grouping and categorization of your pantry items. You want to minimize the amount of walking back and forth, drastically reduce decision-making time on ingredients, and increase the kitchen workflow. Some ideas are to assess your common staple meals, whether they’re for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You may find that some foods you eat often and regularly.
For instance, if your breakfast is generally the same, keep those ingredients together, whether they’re in the refrigerator or in your pantry. Same goes for lunch. Do you have ingredients that are only for a certain type of meal and nothing else? You may want to group those together too. Everyone’s lifestyle is different and is ultimately up to you to figure out.
Ask For Help
This last part may be a challenge for some. For some reason, many are not comfortable asking for help and at it’s roots, irrational. If you’re already putting energy in the preparations and cooking, then it’s only fair for those who eat the fruits of your labor help. Your children are the first candidates. It’s important for them to learn to contribute to the family/group and learn to clean up after themselves. If you have frequent coming guests who eat a lot of your meals, it’s not impolite to ask for help. In fact, they would be happy to help! Do this and you’ll be surprised how much more enjoyable your time in the kitchen can be.
Implementing the tips above will save you a huge amount of time in the kitchen so take action right away. Also, if you’re in the New Orleans Area, you have a unique opportunity to have a kitchen pantry designed in a 3D software, specific to your needs and lifestyle for FREE. Bayou Closets offer Free In-home Designs and Consultations so call (504) 475-2029 today.