We all have busy lives and take more shortcuts than we would like, particularly in the kitchen. Of course it’s easier to simply stop at the grocery store on the way home or run to Starbucks instead of making things yourself, but with a bit of practice and creativity, you can save yourself time and work when you really need to! These are time savers that have actually worked for me and I use- sometimes Pinterest hacks aren’t quite as easy or successful as they would make it seem… These four suggestions are easy and fast, and don’t require any speciality equipment or skills!
Frozen Fruit Ice Cubes
The frozen fruit ice cubes are all over Pinterest, but those weirdos seem to throw all kinds of fruit together and hope for the best. If you put a little bit of thought into it, fruit infused ice cubes can add some flavour to your water (or pop)! I like to pick fruits that are similar, such as all citrus fruits, to go in one ice cube tray. All of the trays I’ve seen allow the water to run from one cube to another if it crosses past a certain height- some fruits are stronger than others. Lime can be pretty over powering, and might take over your watermelon cube. However, it does work well with lemon and orange as a fellow citrus fruit. I would recommend letting the fruit infuse the water for a little bit before freezing, and muddle any fruit that has a skin to release some of the flavour. I also use La La Lemon tea from David’s Tea- a black tea with lemon pieces- to make iced cubes to add to water and iced tea!
This seems fairly self-explanatory, but I can’t count the number of hours I have spent digging in the cupboard for rosemary at 530 when I’m making dinner and it’s somehow disappeared even though I just used it yesterday and put it back in it’s spot. I like to use rosemary, thyme, and basil in a lot of things- on vegetables, chicken, broth, soup, bread, anything really! If I know that I’m going to be using it again and again together, why not just prepare it so I have it ready to go? If you have particular combos that you use on a regular basis, pre-mix them and have them ready to go. This is especially helpful if you make your own taco or poultry seasoning! (Making your own seasonings will also save you money in the long run.)
Pre-Made Baking Mixes
I usually do this in the fall in preparation for Christmas baking, but I plan on starting this up full year round. You know those cutesy dry ingredient cookie mixes that you write a “clever” rhyme on and give as presents? Well, they are actually very useful for you. Most muffin recipes are the same- you can prepackage the dry ingredients for three or four batches, and then add your oil/eggs/fruit/mixings. It’s a lot faster to do this for yourself because you aren’t trying to artfully layer them in handcrafted mason jar with a tag that took longer to write than it does to make the cookies. And not only will you have freshly baked muffins/cookies/scones, you will also have very little to do in the way of dishes- the pre-made mixes can usually be mixed with the wet ingredients with just one bowl and something to mix. I love having fresh baking to start the week but I don’t typically do anything too hefty on Sunday evenings. Pre-mixing it is the perfect balance!
Know YOUR Staple Meals
Take a little bit of time to think and figure out what three meals you and your family can eat no matter what time of the year it is and what is going on- make sure you always have the necessary ingredients on hand! For me, it’s tacos, noodles and tomato sauce, and fried rice. They are fast, easy, and allow for whatever veggies I want to add. So, I make sure we have taco seasoning, taco shells, noodles, tomato sauce, rice, frozen veggies, eggs, and soy sauce available. Sometimes when you get home you either don’t have time to make an elaborate meal or you aren’t in the mood but you still need to eat. Whip up your standard (which probably will take zero thought process because you eat it so often) and proceed to an enjoyable, stress-free meal!
How do you save time in the kitchen?