Cooking and baking are two of my favorite pastimes. I love serving my family by preparing healthy foods for them. It is so rewarding to see their smiling faces and hear them ask for another helping. I’m thankful for the opportunity to teach my children how to cook for their own families one day. However, one thing I don’t like about cooking is some of the prep work involved and then of course the clean up. I’ve found some helpful tips to shorten my time in the kitchen without diminishing my enjoyment:
Choose a day to do all of your prep work weekly or monthly. Chop all of your produce, breadcrumbs, and the like on this day. Once you have chopped the onion, garlic or other produce, you can line a mug or container with a labeled open freezer bag, scrape the chopped veggie out of the food processor and scoop it right into the bag. Check some of your recipes and freeze average measurements. Then seal it up and throw it in the freezer. You can freeze broths and other liquids in ice trays. When you have recipes calling for chopped veggies, broths, etc. you just pull out what you need. You can also prep yeast doughs and make sauces in the food processor and freeze them until ready to use.
Prepare make-ahead freezer meals. One thing that has saved myself and my sweet sisters-in-law is freezer meals. We have been meeting on a Saturday every couple of months. We make around 10 meals that are mainly chopped veggies, sauces, seasonings, and raw meats that we dump into labeled freezer bags. Then we take them out on the day we want to feed them to our family and put them into the crockpot. There are several useful cookbooks for freezer meals: From Your Freezer to Your Family, Don’t Panic – Dinner’s in the Freezer: Great-Tasting Meals You Can Make Ahead.
Remember spiritual health of our families holds more eternal value than the physical. I love cooking, but I love my family more! These advanced prep steps have shortened my time in the kitchen during the week. I have more time to spend with my four precious blessings after our long school day, and I have more time to catch up with my sweet, hardworking husband when he gets home! I’m so thankful the Lord is helping me make the most of every moment!