Your Personal Meal Planning Assistant
October 10, 2016 / Nicole Villeneuve

5 Ways to Save Time in the Kitchen

Chopping girl kitchen prep

Cooking at home is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body. It allows you to be in control of what comes into your system – including additives like sugar, salt and processed oils - and means you can be particular about the balance of ingredients to find the optimal recipe for your body’s unique needs.

Hectic schedules can mean fewer home-cooked meals than we might like. But with a few quick hacks, you can save tons of time and make your culinary life a little simpler.

Whether you’re looking to cook more for your health, or trying to fit in a new hobby between all your other commitments, here are a few easy ways to save time in the kitchen (and allow you to feel super satisfied instead of super stressed).

Get organized at the grocery store

Save time organizing your groceries when you get home by making a point of sorting them at the store. Grouping items in your cart and on the checkout belt (for instance: pantry items, refrigerated vegetables, vegetables and fruit to remain out of the fridge, spices, condiments, dairy) will make the process of putting them away so much quicker, which means more time to get down to culinary business and back to the rest of your life!

Use a mise en place

This fancy French term just suggests putting everything in its place before you start cooking, including ingredients, spices, utensils, tools and pans (including lining them with foil or parchment as needed). Having everything at your fingertips will make the process a lot faster and more fun.

Chop up the whole vegetable

If a recipe calls for half an onion, chop the whole thing and save what you don’t need right away for another meal. You’ll already have your tools and cutting board out, so you won’t have to set up again in a few days when you’ll invariably need another bit of onion. (Plus, you’ll only need to do dishes once.) Same goes for mincing garlic, dicing potatoes or de-stemming cabbage: everything will keep in the crisper and those saved minutes of chopping will quickly add up.

Cook in batches

A little investment in time now can save a lot of time down the road. Spending a couple of hours all at once – say, on a weekend afternoon – means you’ll be set up for meals and side dishes all week. Cook on multiple burners, prepping things like a pot of quinoa or rice and steamed broccoli, kale or carrots at the same time. All of these are easy to reheat and will store for several days in the fridge.

Clean as you go

What’s the least fun part about cooking? Cleaning up when you’re done. (We get it.) If you make a point to tidy as you go – putting away a cutting board when you no longer need it, washing a pot here, or putting utensils in the dishwasher there – you’ll find your mess at the end is much smaller. You may also wish to keep a compost bowl on the counter for scraps and station a trash can nearby for everything else so you’ll save steps back and forth and easily be able to tidy your space as you work.

Nicole Villeneuve
Director of Content @ PlateJoy

Nicole Villeneuve is the Director of Content Strategy at PlateJoy and a certified Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. A graduate of Yale University, she previously worked in book publishing, with a focus on cookbooks and health, and ran the food blog Paper and Salt. Her writing has been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and The Daily Beast. Nicole lives in San Francisco and loves cooking, reading, exploring new restaurants, and running by the ocean. You can (very occasionally) find her on Twitter.


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