Can Moms Stay Out of the Kitchen?
Not completely, but we can definitely lessen your time in the kitchen!
School time is here!
For most families that means busy morning and evenings.
Plus, a lot of easy dinners or takeout.
How to Spend Less Time in the Kitchen
May this be the school year in which you spend as little time in the kitchen because you’re too busy having fun with your kids!
Time-saving Tip #1 for the Kitchen: Freezer Meals
We do a mix of purcahsed frozen food and homemade freeaer meals.
We only started making homemade freezer meals (like an entire month’s worth at a time) two months ago and it’s been a huge game-changer for our family of eight.
We spend 1-3 days making a month’s worth of freezer meals and then rarely cook or dirty up the kitchen!
Our meals are made from scratch as well as almost homemade versions to make things super easy.
Right now, in our freezer we have the following homemade freezer meals:
Pizza burritos (They’re pretty much these pizza quesadillas, but wrapped burrito style.) We don’t bake them, but make the burrito and then wrap it in aluminum foil and place all the burritos into gallon freezer bags, label them, and heat up as needed. We bake them in the over or nuke them in the microwave for 2 minutes. They’re SO good!
Pizza Spaghetti Bake. Just prepared as normal, but don’t bake. Freeze in a disposable aluminum pan that’s covered in foil and write the date and baking instructions on top of the pan. This recipe stays good for 3 months in the freezer.
Meatloaf. It’s my favorite recipe, which is simply ground beef, rolled oats, salsa, onion soup mix, and one egg all mixed together. We prepped this and froze it in a disposable aluminum tray and will add the ketchup/salsa topping (we do a mix of these two) the last 30 minutes of baking. It stays good for 2 months in the freezer.
Breakfast Egg, Sausage, and Cheese English Muffins. These are one of the favorites around here! People eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We fried up some Jimmy Dean sausage, some eggs, and added sliced cheese to English muffins. We wrapped those in foil or plastic wrap and placed them in galloon ziplock bags and labeled them. When we’re ready to et them, we heat them up in the microwave for 2 minutes or in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 375 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re SO good! You can use any sliced cheese you like, leave off the egg, or make ham versions too.
Philly Cheesesteak croissants. We found huge, fluffy croissants at Costco for really cheap. So we made Philly cheesesteak, added it to the croissants and froze them. Basically we heat them up the same way we do the English muffins. So good! You can also make chicken Philly cheesesteak!
Beef and broccoli pasta bake. We use the beef from the Philly cheese steak and made a beef and broccoli bake too. It was super simple and we cook it like the baked spaghetti.
Beef Pot Pie. Last month we made chicken pot pie, but we changed things up and did the beef version. We make homemade creamed soup too instead of using the canned version and it’s really good! We make our own pie crust for this recipe too. Everyone loves this classic comfort food!
Hamburger Vegetable Soup. Soups are perfect for freezing! Once you make your favorite soup, simple let it cool, pour it into TWO gallon sized freezer bags and lay it on a cookie sheet in the freezer until frozen. Once frozen, remove it, label it, and tuck it away in your freezer. Most soups last for 3 months in the freezer.
Double Chocolate Cookies. We make the recipe as normal, but froze the dough into little balls. We placed the balls of cookie dough on a cookie sheet and flash froze them separately before placing them in a large freezer bag. This prevents the frozen cookie dough from sticking together. Whenever we get the urge for homemade cookies, we grab the cookie dough and bake! No mess and homemade cookies make our house smell so inviting and cozy!
Southern Biscuits. We use my favorite biscuit recipe and instead of baking the biscuits, we flash freeze them on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, we transfer them to a galloon freezer bag. When we want homemade biscuits, we pop them in the oven and bake them for 20-30 minutes on 400 degrees Fahrenheit. No flour mess every time we want biscuits!
Cornbread muffins. These get a little crumbly after they’re frozen, but we still make them. They’re perfect for crumbling up into your hamburger vegetable soup! We make our cornbread as normal, and then freeze them and re-heat them as needed.
Doing These Things Saves Time in the Kitchen
Then we keep a few other store bought frozen items in the fridge for quick meals:
- Tiny Tacos from Costco
- Frozen Meatballs from Aldi (We ‘re adding these to frozen garlic bread to make meatball subs)
- Panko Shrimp
- Chicken Nuggets
- Eggplant Parmesan
- Frozen Pizza
We could make our own chicken tenders and frozen pizza, but this month we decided to go with the store version. I highly recommend the tiny tacos…everyone LOVES them!
My our favorite tip (Before we dig into the full list) is to keep frozen meals handy.
When you keep the freezer stocked there’s little mess and no prep.
Think about every time your family cooks…
You mess up the kitchen and have to spend 30 minutes to an hour cooking before you eat.
If you take 1-3 days a month and do almost all of your cooking, it ends up saving incredible chunks of time and stress!
Time-saving Tip #2 for the Kitchen: Clean as you go.
Clean dishes and wipe counters down as soon as the messes are made.
Staying on top of all the little messes will keep you from having to spend excess time cleaning up a big one.
In fact, let your entire family help keep the kitchen clean by doing quick house swoops often.
You can check out our post on house swoops and it even has a house swoops printable list for all ages!
Cleaning as you go is a super efficient time-saver!
Time-saving Tip #3 for the Kitchen: Enlist the kids’ help.
Speaking of time-savers…get the kids to help.
Most kids can take care of their own dishes, help with food prep, and even clean the kitchen counters.
Parents shouldn’t have to do all the work during the busy school year, and chores are an excellent way to teach kids responsibility.
It prepares them for REAL life.
Time-saving Tip #4 for the Kitchen: Plan ahead.
Create a simple, less-time-in-the-kitchen meal plan every week.
Having a plan in place can spare you from wasting time.
No more standing in front of the cabinet trying to decide what to feed everyone.
Plus, it helps you always stay stocked on the products your family loves!
Less Time in the Kitchen Means More Time with Family
Time-saving Tip #5 for the Kitchen: Use grocery delivery.
Grab that meal plan and use it to create a grocery order.
I love how convenient shopping ordering on the Instant Cart App is.
You can place your order online and all your favorite groceries (or the ones you forgot on your last frocery trip) can be delivered to your front porch in just an hour or two.
It cost $3 extra per order if you want immediate delivery, which is super helpful when you’re cooking for guests and realized you are missing 3 ingredients for your famous chicken casserole!
Most of my favorite stores are on the app.
For me, I can order from Aldi, Costco, Publix, Target, CVS, Walgreens, Sprouts, and more! T
here’s a $99 per year fee that gives you free delivery if you order $35 or more on each order.
For our family, it’s worth the $99 per year.
We’ve saved so much time and stress ordering grocery delivery!
Plus, it saves your order for next time, which saves even more time!
Plus, the app recommends additional items based on what’s in your cart.
75% of the time I’m like..”Oh yeah! I actually do need to grab some butter too!” :)
Time-saving Tip #6 for the Kitchen: Prepare slow cooker breakfasts.
Mornings are often rushed during the school year.
Why not let slow cookers make your mornings less chaotic in the kitchen?
A slow cooker is an easy way to make breakfast for your family.
Even breakfast can benefit from a convenient slow cooker meal.
Here’s a warm, cheesy slow cooker breakfast that your family is sure to love!
Time-saving Tip #7 for the Kitchen: Keep a snack basket handy.
Be prepared when those moments of hunger strike by keeping a well-stocked snack basket.
Having healthy snacks and drinks for the kids to grab on their own will save you from having to rummage through cabinets to find something in a pinch.
It’s snacking made easy and keeps the kitchen clean!
Time-saving Tip #8 for the Kitchen: Cook and eat outside.
For a fun change of pace, fire up the grill and enjoy a meal outside.
Grilled meals are typically quick, healthy, and less messy.
Eating outside encourages less mess too!
Grab a blanket and have an impromptu picnic!
Time-saving Tip #9 for the Kitchen: Set a timer.
When it comes to daily clean-ups in the kitchen, set a timer for 15-20 minutes so you sty focused and stop when the timer goes off.
Sometimes we start cleaning the fridge, microwave, or pantry and end up spends twice the amount of time we planned on cleaning our kitchen.
Save the deep cleaning for one day per week.
Most of us choose Saturday mornings for this.
Time-saving Tip #10: Keep Cook Time for Meals to 30 Minutes or Less
During the busy week, keep your meals simple,.
If you’re not making freeaer meals, make sure that when you cook, you’re sticking to meals that take 30 minutes or less to cook.
Make Instant Pot recipes.
Make One Pot/Dish Meals (this keeps the mess and prep minimal)
Stick to casseroles and soups.
Leave the weekend for the fancier meals.
What are Your Timesaving Tips for the Kitchen?
Share them with us in our Parents Connect group on Facebook!