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Spending Too Much Time in the Kitchen? Follow these Meal Shortcuts and Get Back to What Really Matters!

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Cooking!  It’s one of those things that we all have to do and it’s one of my least favorite past times.  I realize that for many, it’s much more than just a chore, a duty, or a task.  It’s an activity that many look forward to on a daily basis, and I wish you all would just pass a little of that passion my way!  I sometimes find that my time spent in the kitchen would be much better spent with my husband and girls.  After all, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional “frozen dinner” night, right?

Whether you’re a rookie in the kitchen or a full fledged foodie, organizing your time in the kitchen can allow you to create amazing meals, while still having plenty of time left over to spend with loved ones.  By applying the following tips to your daily cooking schedule, you’ll soon find that you have time to do both, and ensure that everyone stays happy and healthy.

Prep Ahead of Time – I often find that majority of my time in the kitchen is spent on food prep.  Chop this, mix that, fold this ingredient with that ingredient, while at the same time lifting your right foot and hopping on your elbow!  Blech!  Consider getting your prep work done a day, or a few hours ahead of time, instead of…well… insisiting on finishing that game of Soduku before you pick the kids up from school. You’ll thank yourself later for thinking up such a brilliant idea (*cough*)!

Clean Up, Clean Up – Your two-hour dinner preparation session has produced one amazing meal.  Now your full, tired, it’s the kids bed time and guess what?  You have to clean up!  *insert pesky buzzer noise here*.  Clean as you go and you won’t have to face the tiresome task of dishes while your nice and full.  The best bit of advice I’ve ever received came from Rachel Ray:  Use a trash bowl!  Throw all of your trash throughout your meal preparation in this bowl and dump it before you eat!

Consider a Crash Meal Day – Say what?  Do you remember cramming for tests?  Well, take the same idea and cram for dinner!  Set aside 1 Saturday or Sunday a month, prepare a weeks worth of food, and toss it in the freezer.  The next time you want to play Monopoly with the kids, you have dinner covered in about 5 minutes flat!

Get the Kids Involved – There’s no better way to get in your cooking time, and spend some quality time with the kids, then to enlist their help!  Once a week, plan a kid-friendly meal that you can all do together, such as Pizza!  You’ll be thankful you have some help, and they’ll feel proud that they contributed to the family!

Take a Night Off - I’m guilty of this more times than not and there’s nothing wrong with taking a little hiatus from your cooking duties.  Order in, grab a frozen dinner or have a “make it yourself” night.  Take the precious time you saved and get on the floor with the kids, or for those of you with teenagers, take a vow to defeat their dance moves on the Wii!

With a little organization, a garbage bowl, and the pizza guys phone number, your sure to save some time in the kitchen and get back to what really matters! For more time saving tips and tricks, or to share secrets with other moms, visit clubmum.net.

Disclaimer: I was asked by ConAgra foods to discuss the above topic and was compensated for my time.

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  • Reply Penelope February 12, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    The “clean as you go” tip is the best ever- it’s what saved my sanity in the kitchen.
    Penelope´s last blog post ..My Men Are My Valentines

  • Reply Nichol February 12, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Awesome tips. I do the trash bowl, it works great….and I’ve recently started to clean as I go. It’s a lifesaver for my husband who always does dishes after dinner:)
    Nichol´s last blog post ..Dannon Small Steps To A Better You Sweepstakes

  • Reply Sara Joy February 12, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    These tips work WONDERS!!!! One week a month when I cook dinner, I make 2 or 3 extra of the same dinner and put them out in the freezer. Perfect when friends get sick, a baby is born, a death in the family or if Im just too lazy to cook. I adore walking out to the garage and picking out a nice homecooked meal :)

  • Reply Veronica February 13, 2011 at 5:08 am

    @Sara love that idea of making 2 or 3 of the same dinner.

  • Reply deb February 13, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Great tips. I’ve done a crash meal day before and it really worked out well. need to do that again soon.

  • Reply Dawn February 13, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I use the trash bowl & really helps with the clean up. Love the idea of crash meal day. Great tips!
    Dawn´s last blog post ..Thursdays Three

  • Reply Kriste February 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Love all those tips. I always make lots of things like mashed potatoes and freeze them for later.

  • Reply Louise February 13, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Cleaning up as you go is one of the best tips you can ever give to someone. Great advice on saving time in the kitchen!
    Louise´s last blog post ..Valentine’s Day Gifts at the Disney Store Giveaway

  • Reply Katie February 19, 2011 at 8:08 am

    perfect tips – and I agree with the cleaning as you go as one of the best things you can do!

  • Reply Alison March 18, 2011 at 5:49 am

    I get 2 nights off a week hehehe. Friday and Sat. Though sometimes I wish I could just wait until I actually don’t feel like cooking to use my “get out of jail free card”.
    Alison´s last blog post ..Chili’s Wild or Mild Review &amp Giveaway

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