The holidays have looked a lot different the past couple of years. The great news is that holiday parties, school concerts, family gatherings, shopping, and vacations are starting to pick up, though with some restrictions remaining for many of us. This probably means you are busier this year. This is great after being cooped up the past couple of holiday seasons. However, it also means less time at home.
It is always nice to have some new ideas (or reminders of the old ones). So here are 3 Time Saving Kitchen Hacks for the Holidays to help deal with the time crunches that are likely to occur at some point in the next couple of months.
3 Time Saving Kitchen Hacks for the Holidays
1 – Go Semi-Homemade
As you know if you've been following me for a while, we are very pro-cooking around here. However, sometimes taking shortcuts can turn a potential take-out night into a total kitchen win. For example:
- Grab a rotisserie chicken and incorporate it into soups or chilis or tacos so you can reap the benefits of high-quality protein without spending extra time cooking it.
- If you're limiting grains, you can shred the chicken and stuff lettuce leaves with a squeeze of lime for lunch or dinner.
- Start with your favorite pre-made pizza dough (this is our favorite which we have delivered to our home), then add your favorite jarred sauce and vegetable toppings plus a sprinkle of flavorful cheese to make it a meal!
- Buy pre-chopped produce, especially those hard-to-manage vegetables (ahem, squash) that are more time-intensive to prepare. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and roast for a side dish or added to salads during the week.
- Here are some delicious herbs we purchase to make life easier.
2 – Cook Once, Eat Twice
Batch cooking is an efficient way to keep up with your healthy eating goals no matter what time of year. There is a good chance you have already done some batch cooking in the past. If not:
Batch cooking is essentially cooking more than what you need in the moment so you can take advantage of having all of your cooking tools and gadgets out (read: it’s way more efficient!). For example, we often chop up the broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, and wash fruit so that it will be ready to go. This truly increases our intake of fruit and vegetables in addition to saving time in the long run.
Batch cooking shouldn't be confused with leftovers, because batch cooking refers to pre-prepping one component so you can repurpose it later.
- Need rice or quinoa for your Monday night meal? Make a large batch so you can easily incorporate it in salads and grain bowls all week long.
- Making hard-boiled eggs? It takes the same amount of time to make six as it does to make two. Enjoy as a snack, crumble into salads, or mash with some avocado.
- Speaking of which, we absolutely LOVE this hard-boiled egg cooker!
- Baking sweet potatoes? Make a few more than you need, and you’ll have the base for an easy, customizable lunch ready to go. You can also purée or mash the flesh for baked goods and use in place of pumpkin in a recipe.
- Want to bake potatoes in an amazingly short time? Click here for the amazing silicone dish we use to save tons of time and energy.
3 – Sheet Pan and One Pot Meals
Is your least favorite part of cooking the cleanup? I get it! Simplify your life by searching for one-dish meals to seriously cut down on time spent doing the dishes. Here are a few to get you started:
- Create baking pockets by putting them in foil (and lining with parchment, if you prefer) then crimping for perfectly roasted fish that stays juicy, never dry.
- Roasting your favorite protein with seasonal produce is a tasty no-fuss way to incorporate a few servings of vegetables into a meal.
- Still learning how to use your Instant Pot? Now would be a good time! Click here for a great help for this.You can get frozen proteins to the table fast with this safe and simple pressure cooker.
- A simple 12-minute recipe: frozen protein [like chicken thighs] + favorite jarred tomato sauce + a jar of olives = yummy cacciatore that will have everyone running to the table for dinner. If you use plant-based protein, like dried chickpeas, just soak the dried beans overnight and be sure they are covered with fluid [jarred sauce + some broth] before cooking in Instant Pot.
Can you think of any other kitchen hacks? Write a comment below. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and experiences. I am still learning every day! You can also email me at: Debbiesuerd@RD-Mom.com
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