I love eating out where the food is yum AND I don’t have to cook or clean up. At the same time I try and cook every day so that my kids can have home cooked food as much as possible. It’s the transparency – you know what’s going in every dish, what’s going in your family’s tummies. At the same time we are all 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, de-clutter, breathe easy.
Here are some of my favourite guilt-free tips for saving your sanity in the kitchen 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 the following day Giving kids one less reason to grumble”Left overs again!” Less whining. Less stress. Mission accomplished! Make chicken stew one day, use it to make chicken pasta the following day. Slice the chicken up into pieces and toss it with some boiled pasta. The kids will never know today’s meal is 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 curry, chicken salad, chicken potpie
4. Steam vegetables in the microwave. Faster and you are stuck with less dishes to wash. Win, win! My favourites for this are 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 less dishes to wash 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 arms 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 are your favourite time saving kitchen tips?