As much as I love to bake and cook, I don't want to spend all my precious time in the kitchen when I can be doing other things, so there are some ways to cut your kitchen time by half that I would like to share. The kitchen is often seen as the hub of the home but we all lead busy lives and many of us may not be able to dedicate as much time to the kitchen as our mothers or grandmothers. Here are some ways to cut your kitchen time but still cook wholesome meals.
1. Plan Ahead
One of the ways to cut your kitchen time is to plan ahead. I plan my meals at the beginning of each week so that I know whether I have the right ingredients and can determine what I need to buy. It saves the gasp of horror as you realise you have run out of that essential ingredient you need to cook your favourite dish. Being prepared is a time saver as you don't have to spend time staring at the contents of your fridge and cupboards, waiting for inspiration.
2. Make a Batch
Batch cooking is a great time saver too, and there are ways in which you can make multiple meals from one. For example, if you're making a Bolognese sauce, make enough for another couple of meals and you can simply add kidney beans and chilli and use it for tacos or enchiladas in the future. If you're making a lasagne, make enough for another couple of meals. Divide it up into portions and freeze for when you're super short on time. Always label your freezer stock with the date so you know how long it has been in there.
3. Slow Cooker
The slow cooker is the time saver's lifesaver. I love my slow cooker (or crock pot as it's otherwise known). Simply prepare all the vegetables and ingredients the night before, put them in the slow cooker and slow cook! If you're popping out, you will also have the joy of returning to a house filled with the aroma of wholesome home-cooking.
Another great way to save time in the kitchen is to delegate. Cook with your partner or delegate some jobs to the children. They will be able to help with the chopping (supervised) and sorting.
The microwave need not be seen as the Devil's work or the destroyer of all things wholesome and home-cooked. The microwave is actually your faithful friend who can help you save some time by heating ingredients and cooking some of your vegetables. It also means your hob won't get too cluttered with lots of pots and pans, which can actually be quite hazardous.
6. Cut Some Corners...I Won't Tell
Sometime people are afraid to cut corners for fear of reproach and whilst I don't condone buying ready-meals unless absolutely necessary, there are some items on the market which will help you cut your time in the kitchen but that will still enable you to make wholesome meals. For example, pastry is one of the many items which will mean you can simply roll it out, add your filling and bake. Of course, you could make a batch of pastry and freeze it for when you might need it next.
Beans and legumes require soaking beforehand and the dry varieties contain a lot less salt than their canned counterparts. Soaking them overnight therefore means they will take less time to cook.
These are just some of the ways you can save time in the kitchen and spend more time doing the other things you enjoy. What other hints and tips do you have for cutting kitchen time?