Here’s an awesome guest post by Dan Scalco. Dan Scalco is a columnist over at MindBodyGreen, Inc, and Entrepreneur where he covers how to optimize your routine to get more out of your day. When not working, he writes on his blog about his favorite food and snacks with his partner, Emily.”
Sometimes cooking can be a little stressful. You have to prepare ingredients, follow a recipe, and usually juggle making multiple dishes at once. After all is said and done, you then have a sink full of dishes to clean. It’s no wonder many people resort to high-priced and often innutritious takeout instead of making meals in the comfort of their own home.
But guess what? Cooking doesn’t have to be overwhelming or intimidating! You can actually make your time in the kitchen much simpler, thanks to a few smart tips. And to help you out, I’m sharing seven kitchen hacks I’ve curated over the years to make cooking quicker, easier, and help you save money.
Best Kitchen Hacks
With these hacks up your sleeve, you’ll actually want to be in the kitchen every day.
Let’s get started!
1. Try Using a Meal Delivery Service
If you haven’t already given those handy meal kits a go, what are you waiting for? From Freshly to Home Chef, there are tons of meal kit services on the market these days. That means there’s something out there for everyone, no matter what kind of food you happen to be looking for.
For those who are trying to eat healthier or lose weight, there are options that are suitable to your needs. If you’re vegan, gluten-free, or sticking to a paleo diet, you’re covered. You just have to find the meal delivery service that best suits your tastes and eating habits.
But what makes these meal kits so great? Well, mealtime is going to be so much easier, whether you go for a service that provides you with a recipe and fresh ingredients or pre-made meals that simply need to be heated. You’ll have less to purchase at the grocery store, which makes shopping faster and simpler.
Typically, the meals are quick and easy to prepare, so you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen. And you can save money since you’re only getting the ingredients you need for each recipe, which also helps to eliminate food waste. It’s a win-win!
2. Learn to Meal Plan & Prep
For many of us, the thought of sitting down and planning a week’s worth of meals might seem a little daunting. But here’s the thing, it’s actually going to be a huge saver of both time and money when you plan ahead.
By planning all of your meals in advance, you’re going to save a ton of time each week. You’ll be able to completely eliminate that age-old question of, “What are we having for dinner?” since it’ll already be planned out for you! And you’ll be able to pick up all of the ingredients you need in one single grocery shop, as opposed to making multiple trips throughout the week.
You’re also going to save money when you’re smart about how you plan your meals. For example, if you need to buy a head of broccoli for one dish, but you know you won’t need all of it, you can incorporate broccoli into multiple dishes throughout the week. This way, you’ll use it all, thus eliminating food waste and money waste.
If you don’t know where to start when it comes to meal planning/prepping, check out some of my favorites here!
3. Keep an Inventory of What’s in Your Fridge & Pantry
One of the best ways to save money in the kitchen is to eliminate food waste. Far too many of us are guilty of purchasing something at the grocery store and then failing to use it before it expires. It’s a pretty common occurrence, especially when it comes to items like fresh fruit and vegetables. Unfortunately, they spoil quickly and they’ll go to waste if you don’t plan to use them.
That’s why it’s super important to keep an inventory of what you have. This way, you’ll always know what’s in the kitchen and you can actively think of ways to incorporate those ingredients into your weekly meals. Plus, you’ll be less like to purchase duplicates of something you already have. After all, is there anything more annoying than buying bananas, only to find you had a whole bunch sitting right on the counter? (It’s happened to me multiple times!)
4. Read the Recipe All the Way Through First
This is a common mistake that new cooks make when they’re getting started in the kitchen. Without reading a recipe all the way through first, you might discover it’s going to take way too long to cook after you’ve already gotten started. Read your recipe first and familiarize yourself with the ingredients and steps. Missing even just one step or ingredient can completely destroy the integrity of the meal.
5. Prep & Measure Ingredients Before You Begin Cooking
There’s no denying that cooking up a delicious meal can take a lot of effort, especially if you’re making multiple dishes at once. One way you can take the stress out of cooking is to prepare and measure all of your ingredients beforehand.
It may seem like a lot of preliminary work but by doing this, you can quickly grab what you need and add it to your dish. You won’t have to keep stopping to wash or chop something. It’s ready when you need it, which is going to save you a lot time and aggravation once the meal is actually cooking. Plus, it’ll cut down on kitchen distractions too.
6. Make Good Use of Your Leftovers
Let’s face it, sometimes leftovers just aren’t appetizing the next day. But when you have a ton of food left from last night’s meal, you don’t want it to go to waste because it’s costing you money. To keep more cash in your pocket, make good use of your leftovers instead of resorting to fixing something fresh.
Get creative with how you use any leftover meals. You can add new ingredients to spice them up or even incorporate them into an entirely new meal. Here are some fun ways to make totally new dishes from your leftovers.
7. Cook More Often
Last but certainly not least, the sure-fire way to make cooking quicker and easier? Spend more time cooking! The more you actually get into the kitchen and cook, the better your skills are going to get and the more confident you’ll be. In time, you’ll be whipping up great meals like it’s nothing. Practice often and you’ll appreciate how your skills flourish.
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