SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Wednesday, September 7, 2011

10 Tips to Save Time in the Kitchen | Family Economics

By Trisha

My fall schedule is filled with children’s activities, upcoming holidays and the day to day craziness of running a household, so I’m always looking for ways to save time in my day. Since most of my day is spent in the kitchen preparing meals and organizing schedules, I developed these 10 time-saving kitchen tips to help my day run a lot smoother:

1.    Prepare the trash in advance: The next time you take out the trash, place a few extra empty bags in the bottom of your trash container prior to replacing it with a new trash bag. Now the next time you take out the trash your new bag is all ready to go!

2.    Cut and chop once a week: If you do a weekly meal plan, try taking one night out of the week to cut up all your needed ingredients for the upcoming meals. Chop your onion, grate your cheeses, and slice your vegetables. This will save you time when you prepare nightly meals.

3.    Use ready-made products: Preparing homemade meals can save you money. However, when time is limited it’s great to have ready-made items available such as pre-cut vegetables, frozen pizza, refrigerated cookie dough and boxed cake and muffin mixes.

4.    Label your items: Are you wondering how long that jar of pasta sauce has been in your refrigerator? Label everything with a permanent marker from freezer meals to leftovers with the date you prepared it prior to placing it in the freezer or refrigerator. This will save you time trying to figure out what is in the frozen container or if your food is still fresh in the refrigerator.

5.    Double your meals:  Cooking a meal once and eating it twice will save you time each month preparing meals. If you are making lasagna for dinner, make two family-size batches. Eat one meal the night you prepare it and freeze the other to be eaten at a later date. Other meals you can double for meals later include soups, chili casseroles and sauces.

6.    Slow cook your meals: If you don’t own a slow cooker, it may be a good investment to use on your busy days when you don’t have time in the afternoon to prepare dinner.  Slow cookers can be purchased at your local retail stores. Check your local papers and online couponing sites to find a good deal. Slow cookers are great for preparing meals while also allowing you time to check other tasks off of your to-do list. Be sure to spray the inside of your slow cooker prior to each use with a cooking spray to simplify cleanup.

7.    Make baking easier: Line your cookie sheets and pans with parchment paper or silicone liners to save time on cleanup when baking.

8.    Create a calendar: Create a calendar each month that displays all of your routine tasks you know you’ll have each day. Once the calendar is filled with your routine tasks, every Sunday fill in those unexpected tasks that come up each week. This will help you organize and prioritize your tasks. Post the calendar somewhere in your kitchen where you will see it every day.

9.    Create an ongoing shopping list: Keep an ongoing shopping list in an accessible place for your family members to update when an item needs to be replenished. This will save you time when you do your weekly grocery shopping.

10.    Fill your containers: Use clear containers like Ziploc® Brand Containers to hold foods that you can easily see and take inventory when in need of replenishing. This includes baking ingredients, cereals and pastas.

What are some of your time-saving kitchen tips?

4 Comments so far

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On Tuesday, January 17, 2012, Janet from Washington wrote

I love to cook extra to freeze for a later date! I also like to be sure and have enough left over to fill up a couple containers after dinner for my husband & I to take to work. Saves time in the morning and saves money from always eating lunch out. I also have a coffee pot that I set up at night to automatically brew in the morning saving me those precious minutes of sleep! Just having the coffee done and the lunch already in containers saves me at least 15 minutes each morning.

On Friday, September 9, 2011, Deborah K. Wallech wrote

I make a lot of extra of each item I am cooking and put it in lunch containers so each of my family members have "a la cart" for their lunch boxes". For instance they have one of four entrees to choose from, one of three different vegetables to choose from and several different fruits to choose from and they just put the containers of their choice in their luncbox. A great item while the oven is on is to make baked potatoes and have different toppings in little containers so each one can take containers of their choice to top off their potatoes which makes for a very easy lunch so if you wrap the potatoes in extra foil and then newspaper they stay surprisingling hot for their meals. All is left to do is each one is responsible for putting their containers from their lunchbox i the dishwasher and wiping their lunchbox out and to get it ready for the next day by putting a napkin and a straw in it whcih even little ones can do to help. This saves a lot of time each day as they can decide the day before what to take. Once in a while we slurge for pizza and take leftovers the next day as it is also easy to prepare for the lunchboxes.

On Thursday, September 8, 2011, Pat from California wrote

GREAT organization makes for a less frazzled CEO of the kitchen. I especially like double recipe cooking and easily putting the extra in the ziploc containers right into the freezer or in my case right over to my 91 year old parents refrigerator for instant meals for them. Thanks Trisha.

On Wednesday, September 7, 2011, kelli wrote

love these tips, thank you

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