January has us all ready to organize and eat healthier. Every year I try to be more efficient in the kitchen.
I’m always asking seasoned moms about how they do things and sometimes I stumble on tricks of the trade on the internet or simply by accident. I wanted to share with you the nine down-and-dirty secrets that I use in the kitchen every single day to make my life easier.
Cutting lots of vegetables once a week
Every morning my husband and I eat some form vegetables and eggs. Sometimes it’s a scramble, sometimes the eggs are over easy and sometimes I add bacon or sausage.
Eating a very healthy breakfast helps me feel great all day. If I have vegetables pre-cut, I’m more apt to throw this type of meal together.
I also use the vegetables as a salad topping. Or I might stir fry them with a protein for dinner. It takes me about 20 minutes to dice a gallon ziplock bag of vegetables and this will last our family of five all week.
To keep things fresh, I add a paper towel in the bag or glass container to soak up extra moisture.
Freeze all extra fruit
Sometimes, I’ll get over-ambitious and buy a big container of blueberries. Or I’ll cut a whole pineapple and then we don’t eat all of it. Instead of throwing away fruit that is close to going bad, I’ll freeze it.
This just means laying it out on a piece of tin-foil in the freezer. Then I add it to a plastic freezer bag. I always have frozen fruit to add to smoothies as a breakfast or after school snack.
Double the meat
Anytime I’m going to cook a protein in the crockpot, I double it. This means I’ll have extra chicken, shredded beef or pork on hand to make dinners easy.
This week, I made pork in the crock pot and we ate it with BBQ sauce one night and as carnitas later in the week. It makes dinners a little bit easier and less clean up too.
Freeze home baked goods
Once a week I make granola bars or some type of muffin. I put them in individual bags and store them in the freezer so they are fresh.
I pull them out in the morning and they are defrosted in the kids’ lunch by lunchtime. Plus, they act as an ice-pack in the lunch bag.
Make a weekly salad and dressing
I love a good salad and homemade dressing. But, it’s hard to get motivated to make this every day for lunch. So, I choose one type of salad and dressing and make enough for the whole week.
I will use my immersion blender to make the dressing and store it in the fridge. I separate the salad ingredients so everything stays fresh, but I have it ready to go in minutes.
Fry bacon on a baking sheet
We love bacon with our breakfast, but the clean-up can be a drag. I started laying bacon out on a foil-lined or parchment-lined baking sheet and baking it at 425 for about 15 minutes (depending on the thickness).
The bacon tastes like I fried it and the clean-up just means rolling up the tin-foil or parchment. I save the left-overs in the fridge and crumble it over soup or eggs.
Double the waffles (or pancakes)
Do you sense a trend here? Any time I make pancakes or waffles, I’ll double the recipe. I store the left-overs in the fridge or freezer. We warm them up in the toaster oven the next day. Yes, you can have leftovers for breakfast!
If I know the morning is going to be extra busy, I’ll make crockpot steel cut oats. It is so lovely to wake up to breakfast that is already warm and ready to eat. (P.S. Crockpot meals of all kinds are one of my all time favorite kitchen hacks, this roundup of easy crockpot recipes via The Frugal Girls always comes in handy when I’m running short on time.)
Add cinnamon sugar
My kids love apples in their lunch. I noticed that they were wasting a lot of the apple if they ate it whole. And as they started to get braces, eating an apple this way hurt their teeth.
I would cut the apple for them, but it would turn brown by lunch. I started dusting the apples with cinnamon sugar. The cinnamon disguises the browning apple and everybody loves the hint of added sweetness.