One of the things I find as a busy mom is the amount of time it takes me to prepare a meal for my family from start to clean up. I have incorporated a few simple tips into my routine that really save me time. I hope they help you as well!
Cooking and Clean Up Tips for Moms
Meal Prep Tips:
- Plan your meals in advance. Take a half hour once a week to plan out what you will make for the coming week. Put needed items on your weekly shopping list.
- Make sure that you have all of the items you will need ahead of time. If you planned, then you will already have the items!
- For certain items like chopped onions, veggies and the like, you can multi-task. If you know you will use a specific item in more than one meal that week, prep for both. Meaning, of on Monday night you will need 1/2 cup chopped onion and on Tuesday 1/3 cup, chop enough for both days. Put the next meals onion in a container and in the fridge it goes for next time.
- If you are really dedicated, do all your time consuming prep work in one day…for those items it will work for that is…
- Recycle plastic bags by using them to throw your peeling skins, and chopping garbage. Keep it right next to your cutting board to shove over into.
- When life just throws you a curve ball on some days, have left overs. Pop them in the oven or microwave, maybe make some rice or bread to go with it, and there you have a quick meal prep.
- No leftovers? Order a pizza or throw in a frozen dinner!
- Whenever possible use foil! When baking chicken, put on foil. The same for many roasts and/or items cooked in the oven. Put it on the bottom of your pan going up and slightly over the sides. Press firmly. When done cooking, toss it. The pan will still need a light cleaning or rinse. However, it will be MUCH quicker than if you had to scrub all the gunk off the pan!
- If you are using the microwave, cover items with plastic to prevent spillage. Also, placing a couple damp paper towels under your dish will help with clean up as well.
- Use microwave on busy days.
- Make simpler ingredients with 5 or less ingredients on busier days.
- When you have free moments between cooking, plan for clean up time. A few ideas: Get your water ready. Make it hot and soapy. Clean any items you already dirtied. You are already in the kitchen anyway, so why not make the most of your time. Wipe up any spills you made on the counters and so on.
- Get the family involved. Everyone must clear and rinse their own plates off. Older children can help clear/store leftovers as well.
- Take turns. If you h ave older children, give them kitchen duty nights. If you have boys their future wives will thank you and if you have girls they will be better wives!
- On busy nights (like church night for us) use paper plates. You can even serve some portions of your dinner on them as well. I try not to do this too often, however, when in a time crunch, they save valuable clean up time!
Like I said, these are just a few simple tips, you may have more ideas, or at the very least these will help inspire you to make the most of the precious time God has given you!! Spend it with your family, NOT cleaning! LOL!
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