7 time-saving tips for family meals

You can’t make every meal from scratch—and that’s okay. Who has time for gourmet when we’re farming and shuttling kids? I teamed up with my friends at Delicious Living to share are seven time-saving tips that will make mealtime easier.

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Start with time-saving kitchen tools.

Avoid kitchen clutter and speed up your cooking with must-have food prep tools:

  • Salad spinner – Admittedly, this is a space hog. But honestly, it will save you so much time and effort. Take it from me. I’m the lady who donated hers and then had to buy another one to replace it because I realized how much I needed it. Sniff, sniff.
  • Microplane grater/zester – You can use this for lemon and lime zest, for grating garlic and ginger, for shaving parmesan.
  • Two good knives (my two go-tos are this chef’s knife and this paring knife. Oh, and if you’re on a budget I also own this knife. I couldn’t believe the quality for three dollars. Yes, three bucks! You can register here to order it and  they donate a meal to Feeding America for every purchase.
  • Mini food processor – Have you ever wanted to use your food processor but the thought of lugging it made you tired just thinking about it? Yep, me too. A mini processor is great for the times when you need a little help but not a lot of help.
  • Strainer – actually several. I have a set of three that I use almost daily! These are awesome for not only draining cooked pasta, but also for rinsing grains and washing fruit.

Bulk grains.

Excuse me while I climb on my soapbox….The next time you plan to serve a whole grain, make two to three times as much as you would for one meal. Let cool fully and portion out meal-size amounts; freeze in freezer-safe containers or bags. On the day you plan to serve, remove from freezer in the morning and let thaw at room temperature.

You’re welcome 😉

Clean as you go. 

Clean-up. Ugh. I know it can be one of the worst parts about cooking family-size meals. To make the end of the meal easier, fill the sink with warm soapy water, and as your finished with pans and dishes slide them into the water so that, later, you won’t have to scrape bits of food off.

And my other secret is this – our older kids help wash the dishes! Sometimes I think we forget, kids need to learn how to do these things so they can be responsible grown ups someday.

Get sauce savvy.

For pasta dishes, prepare the sauce up to three days ahead. Then, come dinnertime, you’ll only have to reheat it and cook the pasta.

Here’s a recipe you might like: Spaghetti with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Cooled cakes and waffles.

Freeze cooled, leftover cooked pancakes and waffles in a zip-top freezer bag for up to one month. Reheat for quick weekday meals. Just pop them in the toaster or microwave.

 Grab n’ go.

Burritos make excellent, quick lunches or dinners. Assemble up to three days ahead. Wrap each burrito separately in foil lightly coated with cooking spray; reheat in the oven at 375 degrees for 10–15 minutes.

Use in a recipe: Easy Chicken Nugget Burritos

Which way are YOU going to save time? Tell me in the comments below!

Made with love,


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  • Reply
    Idajean Waterous
    October 16, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    If you freeze those grains on a cookie sheet you can pour into a container and makes much easier to thaw.

    • Reply
      Idajean Waterous
      October 16, 2018 at 6:31 pm

      Good tips!

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