There are so many small changes you can make to save yourself money and stress when you’re in the kitchen. Here are some examples of new habits to incorporate whenever you can find the time:
- Cook 2-3 times as much: If you’re taking the time to make lasagna, enchiladas, etc. go ahead and make a second pan to freeze for a later date. This works for plenty of recipes that freeze well—spaghetti sauce, soup, stew, casseroles, etc. It takes a few more minutes to prep a larger amount of ingredients but saves a LOT of time on the other end. When I make meatloaf, I make three instead of one and freeze two for busy weeknights. On a future date, I thaw the meatloaf during the day and pop it in the oven to bake for dinner. This also works with pancakes and waffles; I take a little extra time to make enough for the week on a weekend morning, and freeze them to pull out each morning before school.
- Chop fruits and veggies ahead of time: I’ve always heard this as a tip but I didn’t employ it until I started the gluten-free diet. Now, instead of reaching for starchy snacks from the pantry, I have lots of healthy choices like celery, cucumbers, and fruit, and I find myself putting them out more often for the kids, too.
- Clean as you go: This is one of the easiest habits and it makes such a difference! Whenever you’re baking or preparing food, start the bowls to soak in soapy water, wipe the counters, etc. as you go along. Then, while food is cooking, baking, take a moment to wash your prep materials or load the dishwasher. After dinner, there won’t be a mountain of dirty dishes in the kitchen.
- Buy in bulk and prep/freeze the extras: When chicken or ground beef is on sale, I buy 10-20 lbs at the lowest price, then put it in smaller freezer bags to store for later. This saves me from purchasing what I need on a week where chicken breasts are $4.99/lb instead of $1.79/lb. For a full tutorial, read my Cook Once, Eat 10 Times posts.