Having a huge family is hard, and time-consuming. When it comes to making meals for my family, it is like a bomb has gone off in my kitchen! I have one child that won’t eat meat, and another that always wants to eat meat and huge cuts of steak! So where do I draw the line? Luckily I’ve found a few cooking hacks to save time in the kitchen, so everyone is happy, and I get to have a bit of quality time without having to spend my evening cooking and washing up.
Hack One: Plan Ahead!
Having a meal plan for the week is one of the main ways I get to cut down on my time in the kitchen is to prepare our meals for the week ahead. That way, I know what to buy at the grocery store when I go, and it saves me money overall because I don’t just pick random items off the shelf, and then they sit in the cupboard for months because there hasn’t been a meal for them.
Hack Two: The Crock Pot Is Your Friend
I use my crock pot at least once a week for our main meal. It’s a great time saver and so many meals taste amazing from the crock-pot. All you need is to prep everything the night before, and if you’re going to work in the morning, just switch it on before you leave. When you come home, you will have a meal ready for you, and your house will smell amazing. I can’t even begin to tell you how much time it saves me! Hearty casseroles, tagines, and filling soups are a few of the things I make in my crock-pot.
Hack Three: Freeze Stuff
An excellent way to save money is to freeze vegetables you haven’t used for your meals. Items like peppers and onions can be diced up, put in a freezer bag, and when you need them next, they’re still fresh, and they’ve already been chopped up!
I also batch cook meals at the beginning of the month. It works well with big meals like lasagne or pies. That one day spent cooking items is a multitasking nightmare, but when it comes to limited finances at the end of the month it’s made my life a dream.
Hack Four: Multitask
Following on from batch cooking, having the skill of being able to cook more than one meal at the same time will be insane in the short term. But if you want to save time, it is a skill you should have. If you have a large family, find ways to make meals for all of them with one skillet. Or you can upgrade your toaster from a two slice to a four slice model to give them breakfast in one hit. There are many handy one pots or one skillet foods you can make, like huevos rancheros, or frittatas. Saving time on the washing up is a luxury you can afford to have.
Hack Five: Steam Stuff
When it comes to vegetables, we always tend to overcook it, mainly because we know we can let them boil and not need to keep an eye on them. But boiling them until they are a moist pulp removes the vitamin content, and they don’t taste too good either! Using a steamer for your vegetables is a great space saver, and it won’t take any of the goodness out of the food. You can steam cook anything, not just vegetables. Try it with your meat or fish and keep the goodness in your food. Just don’t try it with cookies!
Hack Six: A Handy Foil
It is a little on the wasteful side, but this article is about time saving. Putting foil or parchment paper on your baking trays before putting your food on them is an excellent way to spare some washing up time. Simply take the foil off and put it in the bin! If you are reliant on cooking things in the oven, you will see how much fewer dishes you’ll have to do.
Hack Seven: Get The Family Involved
Last, but by no means least. Getting the family involved when it comes to preparing meals has the benefit of time saving. And it is getting the family to work together and spend time with each other. Something which may have been a distant memory for you. Assigning each child a duty, like laying the table or putting the dishes away will save stress. Turn it into a routine for the family each night.
*This post was contributed. Family friendly posts are welcome. The views may or may not be those of HATB.