I think part of the problem as to why so many women dread cooking is the time it takes each day. There is the planning, the shopping, the prep work, the actual cooking and then the daunting task of cleaning up, only to do it again in a few hours.
There are a several ways to save time and money while you are in the kitchen.
First, plan each meal and snack. Don’t worry about being locked into roast on Monday, etc… Just plan 8-14 days worth of meals. Personally, I am moody when it comes to meals, I may not be in the mood for roast on Monday. What matters is that we have enough food in the house for the planned time span. Some people shop for a week at a time, some for 2 weeks and some for a month. The fewer times you actually go into the store the more money and time you save!
When considering freezer meals look through your freezer section at the grocery store. What can you make from scratch and freeze for yourself?
I like to spend a day in the kitchen every 2 weeks or so and do as much as I can. If I’m going to heat the kitchen up and make a mess then I want to do as much as possible.
~Once the oven is heated it saves money to bake as much as you can, rather than heating it and letting it cool, just to heat it again.
~I love using my large electric griddle, I can cook several things at once.
~Some pans can be reused without washing, for example the pot I cooked rice in I can also cook the potatoes in without washing.
All of these are divided into meal portions into Ziplocs and frozen.
These are the most common foods I do in bulk:
Cook Rice (make enough for 3-4 meals)
Cook Dry Beans (soak the night before)
Bake a big batch of cookies, cupcakes or muffins.
Make Waffles/Pancakes – I make enough for a month, eating them 1-2 times a week. Use the same recipe, but add blueberries, applesauce, or chocolate chips to different batches for variety.
Cook up sausage/bacon for breakfast or BLTs- these can be done on the same girdle without washing.
Make french toast with whole wheat bread that may have not been eaten the week before or that came out too dense.
Boil 1-2 doz eggs/peal. These are great for a a quick breakfast or for a nutritious snack.
Wash and Cut Carrots/Celery -great for lunches or snacking.
Chop Onions -double bag to keep from stinking up the frig.
Chop Bell Pepper
Brown and Season Ground Beef -for tacos, sloppy joes, etc…
Season and patty out hamburgers.
Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce -This cooks all day. We have pasta and sauce every Sunday, it’s a family tradition. I usually make a BIG batch, enough for 3-4 Sundays. Divide and freeze in Ziplocs.
Wash enough lettuce for several days (we eat salad 4-5 times a week). Place in a bowl with a damp towel on it.
Boil chicken and cube for quick meals.
Make a few of your favorite casseroles to freeze.
Granola- great for breakfast with yogurt or for a snack.
Potatoes pealed and cooked for potato salad or hash browns.
A morning in my kitchen:
Grind wheat…I LOVE my Vita Mix. I grind enough for a month.
Bag 1-2 gallon freezer bags and freeze the rest so I have it when I need it.
This way I can make 4-6 loaves. I use half whole wheat and half white.
Crockpot will also work for this.
This can be frozen or just stored in the frig in an air tight container and eaten from for several days.
Each week I make a batch of tea to make more Kombucha!
I am usually exhausted after a day in the kitchen, but it makes the next week or two so much easier. There is very little prep work or clean up. Spending a day cooking from scratch saves our family money and provides better nutrition. It also saves me TIME when I set a day aside every couple weeks to do this. It is so nice on those busy days not to have to think about,"What’s for supper?!"
Tomorrow I’ll share 2 more ways to save money and TIME in the kitchen.