Summertime can be stressful with vacation from school, children around, not to mention the incredible heat we have been having here in the Middle East. When it comes to meal times, often we find ourselves lacking the time and energy to create a full, healthy meal. Still, the benefits of home-cooking means you know exactly what you are eating, so you can control the amount of salt or sugar in your food. There are a few time saving tricks that can help you out on those chaotic days.
1. Clear the way
Nobody likes working surrounded by clutter, so try to keep space clear on the counter tops and in the fridge. When you have space for your kitchen tools, you will feel more organised; after all, making meals is hectic enough without having to tidy up first.
2. Location, location, location
You will not use something unless you actually see it. This refers to food, utensils and containers. Have your drawers organised so the items you use most often are most accessible. Try the same for your fridge and pantry; keep the condiments, spices and other food items organised according to which you find most useful in your cooking.
3. Always have a plan
So now that your kitchen is neat and organised, you may find yourself standing and staring at the pantry, trying to decide what you really want to make this time. Even when I am really hungry, if I don’t know what I want to eat, I can spend ages just thinking about a menu. So save your time and think about a menu in advance.
4. Keep it clean
Once you have started cooking, the mess easily accumulates and soon enough you find yourself with piles of mess and scraps of food all around. It is relatively easy to keep the kitchen clean if you clean after each step of cooking, throwing away food scraps as you go and washing up utensils as you use them. Cleaning up an entire kitchen is a daunting task, so to save yourself the time and the headache, clean as you go.
5. Double batches is half the trouble
There are a lot of foods which will keep perfectly well in the freezer, whether it is soup, casseroles, meat dishes or cakes. If you know that your family loves a certain meal, go ahead and make a double batch and freeze half. It is just as easy to make one batch as two and this will save you time later on. Just make sure that you label it clearly before you put it in the freezer, otherwise you will forget what it is.
There are many time saving tips that will help you out in the kitchen (featured on Grist), so start with these and see how you go. Once your time in the kitchen is cut down, you will feel more inclined to go back and start again, knowing that you can use your time effectively.