20 Time‑Saving Kitchen Tips for 2020
Be good to yourself. Relieve stress. Make life just a little bit simpler. Spend your time wisely in the new year.
By implementing even a few time-saving kitchen tips and tricks into your weekly routine, you can easily free up time for working out, practicing your craft, and spending more time with your loved ones.
Here are our top 20 tips to simplify your life in the kitchen:
01 Make a Weekly Menu
And stick to it! Plan out 5-7 nights of dinner every Saturday or Sunday. Ask the kids for their input, too, and help them feel included by using some of their suggestions.
02 Make a Thorough Shopping List
Once you’ve jotted down your weekly menu, make a detailed shopping list. Make sure to read recipes carefully and also check your fridge and pantry so that you don’t buy extras of anything you already have and create an essentials list, filled with the must-have items you need every week (coffee, cereal, milk, smoothie ingredients, etc.).
03 Shop once, twice at most
You can skip the extra trips to the grocery store by keeping timing in mind for perishable ingredients. Buying fresh seafood? Plan accordingly and buy it on your second (and last) trip of the week.
04 Wash your produce before putting it away
This is such a simple, time-saving kitchen hack. Rinse off all of your fruit, veggies, and herbs before storing. This can be especially helpful during the week, when you’re making produce-heavy dinners. Every minute counts!
05 Meal prep
We could write a novel on the benefits of proper meal prepping. But, if cooking all of your meals on Sunday doesn’t suit you, we suggest at least chopping your ingredients at the start of the week and organizing them in your fridge. Another pro tip: instead of dealing with lunches in the morning, prep your family’s lunches with leftovers at night, while you’re cleaning up the kitchen. Sandwiches and sides are easy to make ahead of time for the kids lunches, too!
06 Make enough for leftovers
And if leftovers aren’t your thing, reinvent them! Made chili for dinner Monday night? Make chili dogs for the kids on Tuesday night. Had roasted chicken with veggies on Wednesday night? Turn it into a chicken stew, casserole, or pot pie on Thursday. Just make sure you account for these reinvented leftovers when you make your shopping list!
07 Eat those leftovers!
Don’t waste food. Make sure you’re eating your leftovers in some capacity as a means to save time and money.
08 Cook once or twice…eat all week
This goes hand in hand with #7. Strategically plan your meals so you’re only getting down and dirty in the kitchen twice a week. How might you accomplish this? Cook a large amount of protein that you can easily transition into an entirely new meal the following few nights. For an example, a large roasted pork tenderloin can be transformed into chopped BBQ sandwiches the next night, followed by pork verde tacos on the following night.
09 Make use of rotisserie chicken
Rotisserie chicken is your best friend. The possibilities are endless. Make chicken soup, chicken stew, chicken and dumplings, chicken tacos, chicken pot pie, white chicken chili, chicken quesadillas, chicken pad thai – chicken everything! You get the idea.
10 Cook one pot/pan meals
One pot meals means way less clean-up. It also means less things to monitor on the stove. Dinners like chili, stir-fry, stews, soups, and pasta are all prime one pot meal contenders.
11 Cook “Sheet Pan Meals”
Similar to the one pot dinner, a sheet pan can alleviate both cooking and cleaning stress. Roast your protein and produce all on one pan for some serious culinary ease. You may have to add certain ingredients at different intervals…but it’s still saving you loads of time, guaranteed. Our personal favorite? Roasted salmon, asparagus, and red potatoes with lemon, butter, and dill. Yum!
12 Use a slow cooker…or an Instant Pot
Do we even need to explain this one? Set it and forget about it!
13 Use a countertop “garbage bowl” when cooking
We borrowed this hack from Rachael Ray, because it just works so well! Rather than opening your trash every few minutes, make use of a garbage bowl, where you can constantly throw onion peels, packaging, egg shells, and everything else that needs to be discarded. Then, once dinner is done, you only have to open the trash once to empty out your garbage bowl.
14 Clean as you go
This is a feat for many. But if you can get into the habit, it’ll change your life. Any time you have a spare moment, use it to pick up and wipe down! Quickly throw bottles back in the pantry or fridge. And put that garbage bowl to use!
15 Hold onto your glass!
Don’t load up your sink or dishwasher unnecessarily. Hold on to a water or tea glass for a few days and rinse it out sporadically. Encourage your family to do the same. If your kids are fearful of cooties, you can mark your glasses or choose different, distinct looking glasses for everyone so you don’t mix them up.
16 Embrace canned and frozen veggies
Frozen and canned veggies are your friends when it comes to cooking. While we don’t recommend them for salads, stir-frys, or fresh pasta dishes, they’re wonderful for chili, soup, casseroles, and more! No need to chop – just open and toss ‘em in!
17 Invest in good containers
Glass containers are built to last and free of harmful chemicals. You can store your prepped ingredients and leftovers in an organized fashion and save tons of time.
18 Reset your table every night, after dinner
This one’s for the kids! Make resetting the table part of your nightly routine so it’s always ready for the following morning.
19 Use the same measuring cup
Unless you need extremely precise measurements for baking, there’s no need to pull out all the measuring cups only to wash them all later. Just use your 1-cup measuring cup and measure for each ingredient accordingly.
20 Keep a well-stocked spice rack and essential cooking ingredient supply
This will save you time at the store. Try to always keep essentials in your spice rack and in your pantry. Olive oil, avocado oil (for higher heat cooking), various vinegars, dijon mustard, tomato paste, tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme, rosemary, sage, chili powder, cumin, and paprika would be a good start! But, depending on your favorite cuisines, your list may look a bit different.