The kitchen is the heart of your home. Delicious, healthy meals come out of here day in and day out. But its not an easy task to keep putting scrumptious meals on the table on a daily basis. It takes time and effort to prepare these meals and to clean up the kitchen once the cooking is done. This is actually precious time that could be spent finishing important work or doing meaningful things with your children.
All it takes is being a little smart about it. A few tweaks to your daily routine in the kitchen can work wonders. These tweaks will save plenty of time and effort. When it comes to cooking and cleaning, the devil is in the details. Once you get the smaller things sorted out, the time spent in the kitchen will reduce considerably.
So here are 7 tips that will save you time in the kitchen.
1.Using the right tools
If you are in the habit of buying kitchen tools and gadgets but not using them, consider this your wake up call. If you don't believe in buying them at all, then hear us out. Every craft needs the right set of tools for you to become a pro at it. When you get used to utilising these tools, you will not spend nearly as much time doing the smaller tasks. Your tools will do that for you. Whether it is a sharp knife, a good peeler/shredder, rice cooker, juicer or a dish washer, these tools will make your chores in the kitchen flow smoothly. Some of the gadgets might be a little expensive to begin with but over time they will pay for themselves.
2. Labelling is everything
Putting groceries in neat containers and labelling them can save a lot of time when you are in a hurry. You may be familiar with everything in your kitchen but when you are pressed for time and multitasking, the salt you can find in five seconds on a good day may take 10 minutes when you are hassled. If you label the container you will be able to find it in a jiffy. You must also make it a habit to put things where they belong after you are done with them. This habit combined with labelling items will bail you out of stressful situations in the kitchen.
3. Organising the refrigerator
We are all guilty of this. We just dump products that need to be refrigerated without really thinking about it into the fridge. Your cold storage device can be one of the most messiest places in the entire house with mounds of plastic covers and randomly kept jars. An organised fridge not just looks appealing, it will save you precious minutes. Store your fruits and veggies in clean pouches, while you can store dairy products and other items in neat little labelled containers inside the fridge. You will know exactly where to find them after this exercise is complete.
4. Preparing one-dish wonders
Traditionally, we are taught to use multiple vessels to make a single dish or to make two to three dishes for a single meal. Making many elaborate dishes and also using multiple dishes to make one single item of food is going to add to your chores when it comes to cleaning up the kitchen after all the cooking is done. It is economical and time saving to make one-pot dishes once in a while. These meals can be quick and easy to make but no less nutritious. It could be a soup loaded with meat and veggies, a rice and chicken hotpot or a simple vegetable pulao -- the options are endless.
5. Planning ahead
Planning your meal well in advance can save you a lot of last moment glitches in the kitchen. If you are not organised, you will tend to keep wondering which dish to make. When you do decide what you want to cook, some of the key ingredients might be missing from your kitchen. So it would be better to take stock of what you have and plan your meals a week in advance. Set up a meal calendar and have your ingredients sorted out during the weekend. Make a list of ingredients that are not available in your pantry and shop for them. You can also cut up your veggies well in advance and have them refrigerated in labelled containers. This kind of organised meal preparation will make your kitchen run like clock work.
6. Being clever with leftovers
Leftovers can be a meal unto themselves. Imagine not having to make another meal the next day and the amount of time that this would save you. With that time you can even take your kids out on a play date. For example, If there is adequate rice remaining from the weekend, you can freeze it and use it to whip up a quick fried rice for the next lunch. A leftover roast chicken can be shredded and stuffed into chapattis to make quick and tasty rolls. This not only saves time and effort, it will also save you money.
7. Cleaning the kitchen
The worst start to the day can be waking up to a messy kitchen. Cleaning up the kitchen can take some time and effort on your part. But if you clean as your meal is getting cooked, you will find that you have a clean kitchen once your meal is cooked. Some hacks to follow here would be washing your cutting board after cutting your veggies, getting organised with your cleaning supplies even before you start cooking and washing dishes when your meal is cooking.
Getting a healthy and wholesome meal to the table is not just about cooking but also being clever in the kitchen. If you are organised and pay attention to detail, you will be able to deal with this chore efficiently and have more time on hand to enjoy your children and their antics.