Time-saving kitchen strategies

Today’s fast paced lifestyle is all about maximizing time, and for some people, making food is one of those things that they just don’t seem to have time for, which may end up in poor food choices that lack the nutrients our bodies need. But, with the right preparation strategies, making meals doesn’t have to be a chore and nutrition can still be a part of your diet while you quickly whip dinner together.

When you do have time to cook, perhaps on a relaxed Sunday, cook a large amount of food – maybe even enough for the week – and freeze the leftovers in containers. This may mean making a large batch of spaghetti sauce, chili, soup or even pesto. Then, when you have to run somewhere right after dinner on a weeknight, you can just pull the container out of the freezer and heat it up. Or, freeze in individual servings and use the leftovers for your lunch at work.

Even certain muffin and cookie recipes can be doubled and frozen for quick snacks or desserts in a pinch.

Another time saving tip is to prepare and trim your vegetables in advance. After you go grocery shopping, wash and trim the veggies before putting them away. It may be a bit of a hassle at the time, but it will save you prep time the next time you go to make a meal. You can even enjoy the pre-cut vegetables as a snack. Just be sure to store the produce in a sealable container as pre-cut veggies tend to ripen much quicker.

The same can be done with some fruits, and for those that can’t really be chopped in advance (e.g. apples, bananas), simply wash and store them so they’re ready to eat.

If the fruit gets too ripe, don’t waste. Instead, use this fruit in smoothies by blending it with some milk or yogurt and a bit of honey. This is a great after school snack for the kids, or a quick breakfast-on-the-go for you.

When you cook a roast or a large meal and have tons of leftovers, it can sometimes get dull to keep reheating them, so make good use of leftovers and repurpose them. For instance, leftover roast beef or veal can be transformed into a shepherd’s pie. Or leftover ham can be made into an omelet or quiche. Be creative! Half the work (cooking the meat) is already done.

And lastly, make the most of your freezer – that’s what it’s there for! Don’t hesitate to fill it. That way, when you don’t have time to stop at the grocery store, you’ve got plenty of food to fall back on – pre-made or purchased.

For more recipes and savvy mealtime ideas, visit www.scratchanddent.ca or stop by the store at 407 Gage Avenue, Unit #4 in Kitchener. A friendly staff member would be happy to help you or take your questions at 519-743-3623.