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Cutting Time in the Kitchen

Planning and preparing meals account for a significant portion of our everyday lives. Not only do many of us work an eight-hour day, but several of us also come home to stand in the kitchen for at least half an hour to assemble dinner for ourselves and/or our families. Some even plan meals in advance, as many cook for more than one person.

While some enjoy cooking, others loathe the thought and find it a mundane, obligatory task. In addition, individuals do time-consuming, repetitive tasks such as grocery shopping, prepping ingredients, and cleaning up after cooking. Regardless of proficiency, here are some tactics to help alleviate daily cooking stressors.

Master a Meal Plan

Organizing your meals in advance helps make your grocery shopping faster and easier. It can be very frustrating to discover that you’re missing a key ingredient at the last minute. Although delivery apps now promise deliveries from nearby shops within half an hour, they carry significant delivery fees and subscription charges, not the best when you only need an ingredient or two.  

Delegate a Day

You can pick one day of the week (perhaps a Sunday) to make several meals in advance and freeze them for later use. Pre-chopping vegetables and fruits and portioning out your meats (or other ingredients) will reduce repetitive tasks throughout the week as you are getting more done at once. 

Analyze your Appliances

There are small appliances that can cut down an hour’s job in the kitchen. Most are designed to prep healthy meals and ensure that your dishes retain their flavour while they cook. Some well-known, time saving essentials include food processors, mandolines, Instant Pots, air fryers, rice cookers, blenders, and mixers. There are also smaller gadgets, such as vegetable peelers, garlic presses, graters, and sharp knives that will speed-up the preparation process. 

Pre-made Meals for the Win:
While snacking on highly processed foods or ordering out every night is not recommended, grabbing a pre-cooked dinner from the grocery store or supporting your local restaurant provides a good substitute for those nights when cooking isn’t an option. 

Love the Leftovers 

One way to maintain variety in your meals is to prepare bulk amounts of your favourite recipes that can be portioned and then frozen to be enjoyed a few days later. Surely, a leftover mac and cheese omelette will tickle your foodie imagination. Foods that go a long way include chili, salad, lasagna, roast, casserole, soup, stir-fry, pasta, pot pies, and stews. 

Jerri Lyons | Contributing Writer

Spring 2024

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