Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Saving Time in the Kitchen

Just in case you missed my first contributor post over at The Cheap and Choosy, I'm re-posting it here today.




Saving Time in the Kitchen.

A while back, I realized that I needed to spend more time being Mom and less time focusing on the household things that need to be done. So, I'm doing my best to find ways to save time in those arenas. I mean let's face it. Being mom is the best, but there are other responsibilities too. I'm just choosing to give less time to those other responsibilities and in so doing needing to be more efficient with the time I have.

So my first task is to save time in food preparation because typically I spend SO MUCH time there.

Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Menu Planning: One Month At A Time
I've been menu planning for a long time now. But I was only doing it for a week at a time. And it was really putting me in a stale-mate on what to cook. I became much less creative and found myself planning many of the same meals week after week. Even spaghetti gets tiring after awhile.

I've now begun putting menu plans in order for a month at a time. It forces me to be more creative and more varied in the meals I choose to provide for my family. At first it was a little difficult, but now I'm loving it.

Freezer Cooking: A Little At A Time
Ok, I'm probably the last stay-at-home mom to jump on this band wagon, but I've finally figured out how awesome freezer cooking is. It took me forever to try it simply because of time. I know, isn't freezer cooking supposed to save you time? So why would time be a deterrent?

Most of what I had seen about freezer cooking meant going to the grocery store and loading up on a ton of food stuffs and then spending an entire day or even half a day prepping and cooking food to put in the freezer. I just don't have the time for that. My kids would never be ok with me spending that kind of time in the kitchen and devoting so little to them.

But, and here's the big but for me, you don't have to do it that way. What has been working for me is to just prepare one freezer meal at a time. Whatever I cook for dinner that night, I'll make one or two extra and toss those in the freezer. Over time my freezer dinner stash has built up and it only took me a few extra minutes each time I made dinner.

More Simple Meals
Sometimes I think us moms feel like we have to provide a culinary masterpiece for dinner. We don't. And they take too long to cook anyway. Sometimes the best meals are the simplest. Tonight we had a salad full of cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and apples. Topped with some seasoned chicken and a sprinkle of cheese it was a complete and healthy meal. And the best part, it took no time to cook.


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