No body wants to spend all night in the kitchen after a long day of working, cleaning, and chasing after kids.
Free up your evenings with these ten simple ways to save time in the kitchen.
10 Simple Ways to Save Time in the Kitchen
1. Organize your kitchen
Set your kitchen up in zones to save you time while cooking. For example, a prep zone, a baking zone, etc.
Having an organized kitchen means that little helpers can easily “pass the spatula” or hand you a spoon.
And anyone who unloads the dishwasher will know exactly where everything goes.
2. Menu plan
Menu planning saves so much time and even money. When you plan out your meals for the week, it dictates your grocery list and keeps you from impulse buying.
Having a menu plan also means eating at home and eating healthier. It’s a win-win.
3. Keep a running list of items you need to buy on your next trip to the grocery store
This is one tip that I need to implement. It’s much better than trying to keep a mental list. I don’t have room in my brain for that. 😉
4. Clean as you go
Keep a “trash bowl” handy while your cooking. It keeps your surface area free for meal preparation and you don’t have to look at a dirty kitchen during meal time.
Make it a habit to clear the counters and empty the sink each night as well. That way you won’t wake up to a chore first thing in the morning.
5. Prepare measurements and ingredients ahead of time.
If your meal requires chopping vegetables or herbs, take time to do it earlier in the day. Having the ingredients ready will make quick work of preparing dinner.
Before preparing dinner, go ahead and set out all of the spices you will need as well as measuring cups and spoons.
6. Re-use pots and pans instead of dirtying up multiple
For example, if you need a large mixing bowl to mix your meatloaf and also to whip mashed potatoes, just wash between uses rather than dirtying two bowls.
7. Make sure all of the dishes, utensils, etc. are clean and ready to use for meal times
It can be embarrassing, not to mention frustrating to realize you are shy on spoons or bowls when it’s time to serve dinner. Take an inventory beforehand and wash a few dishes if necessary.
8. Have the dishwasher empty so that dinner dishes can be loaded immediately
If the dishwasher needs to be unloaded, it makes for a convenient excuse not to put away the dinner dishes. Sometimes, once I’ve got dinner in the oven or simmering on the stove, I have my daughter unload the dishwasher. It takes 10 minutes at most.
9. Know how long each dish takes to cook so that they’re ready at the same time
Most of the time, the main entree and side dishes have varying cooking times. Knowing when to start each one so that everything finishes cooking at about the same time keeps dishes from getting cold.
It also lets you know how much time you need to prepare dinner.
10. Use your kitchen timer to keep track of cooking times
A timer keeps you on task and saves you from overcooking pasta, burning the rolls, or scorching your spaghetti sauce. I learned the hard way.
Get the kids involved. From prep to cooking to cleaning, not only will they learn invaluable life skills, but it’s a great way to spend quality time together. And as I mention in my book Home on Purpose, letting your kids participate in household routines gives them such a sense of pride and ownership. I use to really enjoy hearing the pride in Hannah’s voice when she would tell someone she helped make dinner.
Save even more time in the kitchen with these menu planning tips for busy moms.