Timesavers in the Kitchen

As culinary enthusiasts, being in the kitchen is a task that we welcome and enjoy. We thrive on creating and tweaking recipes. We love to see the gleam in our loved ones eyes when we ring the proverbial dinner bell! However,even the Wolfgang Pucks of the world would still love to save valuable time in the kitchen to spend actually eating and enjoying our creations with family and friends.

Please read on and place these wonderfully simple time-saving tips in the heart of your home; your kitchen, as you to strive to save time and make cooking fun, easy, and did I mention FUN!? You will wonder why you never thought of these tips before! Timesaving Tip#1- Have multiple cooking tools- Buying extra measuring cups, mixing bowls and mixing spoons are an invaluable organizing and timesaving move that is well worth the extra dough (pun intended!) Timesaving Tip#2- Use your freezer!- Have you ever thought about how much food and money you could have saved had you just put it in the freezer? After you finish cringing, consider this not-at-all-exhaustive list of things you can freeze as opposed to discarding. -nuts -extra milk-to use in pancake/waffle/crepe recipes -cheese -unopened luncheon meats-great for when there is a big sale and you want to buy in bulk -fresh mint-freeze with water in ice trays to make fresh mint cubes; add to sweet tea and you are in heaven! -potatoe chips-who knew?! -homemade chicken stock-for all of the work that goes into it, you might as well make enough for multiple meals at once. Just make and freeze in jumbo muffins pans (should be in 1 cup increments because most recipes that call for stock will be in 1 cup increments) and place in freezer bags; you will have instant homemade stock ready for gravies, soups or other dishes -cookie dough-make up a big batch of your favorite cookie dough and form into uniform shapes with a cookie cutter or ice cream scoop and then freeze on wax paper -juice-on a hot summer day, don't water down your fruity drinks with ice cubes, freeze juice in ice trays and use as a flavorful cooling agent -bread, buns, rolls -soup-freeze in the same manner as chicken stock -lasagna-the day after you cook the lasagna (if there's any left!)pull out of the fridge and while still cold because it will be easier, cut into serving size squares and place into individual zipper bags.

When ready to eat again, place in oven at 350 degrees and reheat for 15-20 minutes. Timesaving Tip#3-Organize your recipes!!-How many times have you thought you had a recipe down packed, started cooking and then couldn't remember if it was 2 cups of milk or 3, and then had to tear up the kitchen looking for the cookbook it MIGHT be in? We all have numerous cookbooks that each hold 1 or 2 of our favorite recipes. Why not photo copy the absolute favorites and place all of them in one binder? I have even created different files within my binder for appetizers, drinks and spirits, desserts, breads and so on. You could even go so far as to group the different categories listed above together and organize your binder according to complete meals from start to finish. Timesaving Tip#4-Pre-plan your meals- Sit down on a bright and sunny Saturday or Sunday morning and consult with your family about what you guys might enjoy for dinner in the coming week.

You can even draw up a grocery list by sections of the grocrery store (i.e. Meats, Bread, Dry Goods) and choose your items by the meals that are planned. That in itself will save you valuable time and a headache in the busy grocery store on a Saturday! This way, you are not going back and forth from one end of the grocery store to the other. Saving time in the kitchen is not as far-fetched of an idea as it seems at times; it can really happen! Just adapt these ideas to your own family and style of cooking and entertaining, and before long, you will be whipping up delicious and nutritious meals in no time.


By: Candice Barrigher

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