Kitchen Hacks

Meal planning, food shopping and preparation, not to mention the dreaded clean up, all take time and effort. However, by streamlining efforts, your energy will go further. Consider the following. 

  1. An organized kitchen in the key to success
    • Keeping your kitchen and equipment organized will allow you to start food prep without spending time searching for recipes, utensils and ingredients. 
  2. Keep a list of “go-to-meals.”
    • Keep the ingredients on hand to make mealtime easy, any day of the week. Easy go-to meals might include chicken fajitas, tuna melts or breakfast for dinner, like this Farmer’s Market frittata. Be sure to include your family’s favorites in the rotation. This Asian Sheet Pan Chicken is made in one pan for easy no-fuss cleanup.
  3. Keep your pantry and freezer stocked.
    • A well-stocked pantry and freezer allows you to prepare a well-rounded meal. For example, leftover chicken can be complimented with a quick grain salad and some steamed frozen vegetables. Or make this quick bean and corn salsa with canned beans, corn and store-bought salsa. Include food items you can add to recipes or supplements on the side. 
  4. Prepare staple items once a week and use leftovers and planned overs.
    • Cook once and eat 2 or 3 times. When prepping, it doesn’t take much longer to prepare extra food. Make some brown rice for this beef and broccoli dish and serve with this glazed salmon dish. Make these grilled chicken tacos and use the extra chicken to prepare chicken salad for a sandwich or to top of a green salad. Leftover baked potatoes can become hash browns. This black bean quinoa salad is great as a side, but also makes a wonderful taco filling. Leftover roast beef can become a roast beef sandwich. Leftover taco filling can be used to top a salad. In general, leftovers should be kept in the refrigerator for no more than 3-4 days, or they should be frozen for later use.
  5. Use pre-cut, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables.
    • This will provide easy add-ins to stir-fry recipes and side dishes. It isn’t cheating to use a frozen Asian veggie mix to make this sesame shrimp stir fry. To maximize your time in the kitchen, try pre-chopping produce to make actual meal prep go more smoothly. Or, purchase pre-chopped produce from McCaffrey’s. 
  6. Freeze it.
    • If you’re going to make a meal, why not double recipe?  You can eat one meal now and freeze the other one for another time. Leftover or batch-cooked dishes, especially items like soup and stews are perfect for freezing. Moist dishes are less likely to dry out when reheated. These Russian Meatballs in gravy fit the bill. Just make fresh noodles when ready to serve. Foods with a firmer texture, such as root vegetables and meat, tend to freeze more successfully. Make sure to label and date frozen items to avoid surprises!
  7. Improve your cooking skills. 
    • If you invest time learning to prepare and cook different foods, you will be able to cut down on prep time as you fine tune your skills. For example, learn how to peel, seed, and chop a butternut squash. Or cut a whole pineapple in minutes. 

Don’t miss Jill’s class on Game Changing Kitchen Hacks this month.

If you aren’t able to make it, email Jill at and she will gladly send you the handout and featured recipe.

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