Saving Time in The Kitchen

Saving Time and Money

One of the first questions that I get when talking about cooking and making homemade meals is: “Where do you find the time?” We have built a world were people are rushing from one activity to another and often do not even have enough time to sit down and eat together, never mind, actually cooking a meal from scratch.

Some even register dismay when you suggest taking a few minutes when you find them and planning ahead, yet advance meal planning is a great way to get organized.

Planning not only saves you time but money. There are many meals that can be made in twenty minutes or less and there are even more than you can prepare in a larger batch and freeze in meal size portions to be taken out and reheated as needed. Soups, stews and stir fires all fall into this prepare ahead category.

I find late afternoons on Sunday to be an ideal time to make a big pot of soup or stew or cut extra vegetables and bag and freeze them if I am making a stir fry. Chili is another dish that can be made and frozen for later use.

Now this time of may not work for anyone who has a family of more than two and is planning a traditional Sunday dinner. The time you do this does not matter; Wednesday night is just as good, for example.

The point is to spend that extra five minutes and make more than you are going to use and save the rest for another day.

Menu planning is worth the few minutes that it takes. Plan your menus one week at a time; just be sure to do this before you go grocery shopping as your shopping list will flow from your menu plan.

To save money and time, buy in bulk when you can. I buy frozen bags of chicken legs and pork chops from a local grocery; there are about 20 legs and chops in each bag so there is enough for the two of us for quite a few days.

A way to save money is to reduce your meat consumption; discover the world of beans and the possibilities of lentils for example. They will cost you less and both can be bought in bulk. Beans come in many varieties and work well in stews and soups as do lentils.

The kitchen and meal preparation is a great place to start to simplify your life and regain control over how you spend your time and money.

All it takes is a little time and energy, both of which can be wisely invested so that they pay healthy returns for many years.

frozen chicken legs, with hot sauce
frozen chicken legs, with hot sauce

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Comments 6 comments

Mark Knowles profile image

Mark Knowles 9 years ago

You are so organised Bob. I must try and take a leaf out of your book. I just kind of decide what I am going to cook, go buy it and then I make such a mess cooking my wife despairs. Perhaps you could come over and re-arrange my kitchen? And my life?

Angela Harris profile image

Angela Harris 9 years ago from Around the USA

I really like your ideas. We are all pressed for time it seems. You know, everyone complains about it taking so much time to cook. But I have quite a few recipes that are faster to prepare than driving to the nearest fast junk (oops, I mean food) restaurant and getting takeout.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick Author

Perhaps you could come over and re-arrange my kitchen? And my life? I'd love to, well your kitchen anyway, :-)

jstankevicz profile image

jstankevicz 9 years ago from Cave Creek

I find cooking prep work to be a satisfying part of the cooking process, when I've left enough time, that is. Making a nice meal is a creative project with lots of satisfaction. It doesn't necessarily always take a lot of time, but you can't begrudge the time. Rushing dilutes the fun part.

Bob Ewing profile image

Bob Ewing 9 years ago from New Brunswick Author

I enjoy the prep time, it is an integral part of the whole process.

ink 9 years ago

"The point is to spend that extra five minuets and make more than you are going to use and save the rest for another day."

Couldn't agree more. Bag it up and stick it in the freezer for another day. Knowing I'm making enough for several meals makes the effort so much more worthwhile!

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