How to Cut Your Kitchen Prep Time in Half — or More!

I’m over on Keeper of the Home sharing a long list of tips, tricks, and ideas for cutting your kitchen prep time in half.

Even if you’re an experienced cook, I’m going to wager to guess that you’ll find at least a few new links and ideas. And I’d love for you to add your best tips in the comments, too!

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Comments

  1. Sandy says

    I will mix up a batch of chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookie dough, roll it into balls and freeze the dough. When I serve a meal in which I utilize my oven, I pull out some cookie dough and bake cookies while eating dinner. I find it to be a time saver to bake one sheet of cookies like this rather than taking the time to bake several trays all at once. Bonus, warm cookies!

  2. says

    A great post!

    We usually cook enough for 2 or 3 days, Since we both work nights outside the home, tossing leftovers in the lunchbox is so much easier than cooking EVERY day!

    While we don’t “process” our food immediately after buying it, we do portion it. Hubby portions out the hamburger to size depending on what we’re making that week.

    I like the idea of pre-mixing dry ingredients. I’m going to start doing that with our pancake and waffle mix!

  3. Beth says

    I have been using a monthly menu for about a year now and love it but, I still can’t seem to find the extra time to make batches of food. I would love to start freezer cooking.. How do you guys “plan” this extra time to do this? My husband and I always seem to work opposite schueldes so if I’m not at work I’m trying to catch up at home… How do you ladies find the free time??

    • Anitra says

      If you can’t set aside some specific time, why not make double or triple of a recipe at dinner time – and then freeze them. :)

      I’ve never done a freezer cooking day, but I regularly freeze “extra” portions of chili, soup, etc. I will also make a large batch of waffles or pancakes once in a while – we eat them that day, and then I freeze the rest for quick toaster breakfasts later.

      • says

        We do this with waffles, too. It’s not a “freezer cooking day” we just make extra large batches. I lay them out on a cooling rack to minimize condensation (which leads to a soggy waffle on reheat. YUCK!) then, once they’re cool, stuff them in freezer bags, squeeze out the air, and freeze! We’ve decided we’re going to start doing it with soups, too, since I have a huge pot we can make it in, and since soup freezes so well.

    • Allison says

      I make extra batches while I am preparing the same dish for that day’s meal. Whatever needs to be chopped, pre-cooked, whatever, I just put into a freezer container so the prep is done the next time I want to cook that meal. If it’s a casserole I just make 3 or 4 and put all but one in the freezer. For crockpot meals, I look for recipes that would allow me to freeze everything in a ziploc bag, then thaw and “dump” in the morning. I put together 2 or 3 extra when I am getting one ready for the next day. I put the freezer meals on the calendar to eat on specific dates, and the result is I really only do serious cooking about twice a week.

  4. says

    Great post! I love your ideas to make meal planning fun so you’re more likely to do it. :) Same with workouts for me – I’m more likely to work out if I have cute clothes.

    My roommate and I utilize the “make double/triple” principle, especially since we both bring lunches to work. I am on the Paleo diet (mostly), so making extra foods to bring to work is a budget saver for sure. And on the nights one of us isn’t home, the leftovers are handy.

    I also love my crockpot! I’ll have a batch of homemade yogurt going in about an hour!

  5. Julie C says

    We make double batches of almost every dinner meal and it works great! We’ve made cookies in advance to store in the freezer but we all know they are there and taste yummy frozen, too, so we had to stop that idea. ;)

  6. Allison says

    I tried browning meat in the crockpot like you mentioned and after 4 hours on high it is still pink in the center. I started with 5 lbs of refrigerated (never frozen) meat and I broke it into pieces and stirred it once during cooking, pretty much as described in the post you link to. The post you link to says it should take 2 1/2 hours on high. My slow cooker is 2 months old and is recommended by Cooks Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen. So much for going to bed early tonight. Now I have $8.00 worth of half-cooked ground beef to try to salvage. Also, I was surprised the post you link to said you could start with frozen meat in the slow cooker because I’ve always heard that is a major food safety no-no.

    • Kim says

      Could you put it in the frig for tonight, then finish cooking it tomorrow?

      I like to cook 9 pounds at one time (on the stove top), then freeze in double recipe portions. Then it’s just ready to dump into the crockpot for soups or use in casseroles.

  7. Anel says

    Hi, Crystal..
    I always enjoy reading your posts and would so love to live up to your standards. Wow! But, as you would always say, don’t compare yourself with someone else. Do what works for your family.. So, while I certainly will continue reading your blog, I would like to know if you are aware of any blogs of mothers that work away from home. We have 3 kids and commute 40km’s there and 40 km’s back for work and school. We leave home at 7h and arrive back at 18h. It feels sometimes that my life doesn’t work out. I don’t have time for anything, and I’m constantly tired.. Weekends I have to buy the groceries and spend some time with the kids – one is only a baby of 14 months. Any tips?! [other than ‘move closer to work’ – which we are currently looking at, although that area is very expensive and it would mean us selling our investment property to afford it]. Anyway, long story, but you get my drift, I bet. Where do one start!?

  8. says

    One of my goals this year was to make a new recipe each week. So far into week 2 and no new recipes! I am thinking this weekend I might take some time to do some formal list of 52 recipes I want to try this year from pinterest, recipe books and magazine clippings and then make a page for my blog listing them all. Having the list published should help keep me motivated (which my husband will love because he seems kind of bored with my cooking lately).

  9. JODI says

    One way I save a little prep time is to buy a big bag of onions at Aldi’s chop them up and freeze them. I also do this with green peppers. I love your blog! thanks