Juggling family and work along with making time for yourself can be tough. Add in kitchen duties to the crazy mix, and the week can go downhill pretty fast. These time saving kitchen shortcuts are ways I save my sanity in the kitchen and outside.
I love eating out where the food is yum AND I don’t have to cook or clean up. At the same time, I believe homemade food trumps all else. It’s the transparency, you know what’s going into every dish, what’s going in your family’s tummies. But we are all also juggling work, home, family and God knows what else. It is time to take the stress out of cooking at home. That’s what this year is all about for me. De-stress, declutter, breathe easy.
Here are some of my favourite guilt-free shortcuts in the kitchen to save your sanity this year.
1. Buy pre-cut vegetables. Yes, it is healthier to cut your own veggies, but then so is living on a farm and growing your own corn to feed your chickens. It may work for some of us, for the rest, we buy pre-cut vegetables. Just make sure that the ingredients have only one item listed. Some pre-cut veggies have preservatives added and those are not the ones we want to eat every day. Also look for “prepared in-store” label. I just feel better that the veggies have not sat on a truck, ship or plane to get to me.
2.Use leftovers creatively for meals during the week Give kids one less reason to grumble, “Leftovers again!” Less whining. Less stress. Mission accomplished! Start with roast chicken, then make chicken stew the following day. The next day use the chicken to add into pasta the following day. The kids will never know today’s meal was an iteration of last night’s dinner.
3. Buy the rotisserie chicken you see in the supermarket. Every week. This is my big secret and one you can use in a myriad of different ways over the next couple of days. Chicken sandwiches for lunch, in the butter chicken, chicken salad, and finally our favourite — chicken pot pie
4. Steam vegetables in the microwave. Faster and you end up with fewer dirty dishes. Win, win! My favourites for this are peas, potatoes, broccoli, carrots. The harder veggies seem to hold up better in the microwave.
5. Think one-pot dishes. Stews, chunky soups, curries etc. Add in some fresh herbs and let it simmer for a while. Flavourful and aromatic and an easier clean up at the end. Boil some quinoa or rice on the side and you are done.
6. Organize your kitchen so that your kids can reach the things they need. Cereal bowls, plates and cutlery in the drawers at arm’s length. Put the sharper or more fragile items in a separate drawer. The same goes for the fridge and pantry. Make healthy snacks more accessible. Morning breakfast cereal in a cupboard they can reach same with the milk and yoghurt.
What is your favourite kitchen tip?