**I was sent free product by Flapjacked Protein Pancakes in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own and I have/will used my own money to purchase this product before!**
We’ve all been there.
You open the fridge and there’s absolutely nothing to eat. Or rather, there’s a yogurt, two sticks of celery, deli meat and a hunk of cheese that you vaguely remember buying last week. Or was it last month. Just scrape the mold off. Cheese is supposed to be moldy and stinky. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some freezer meals tucked away from after Porter’s birth (thanks to our church family!!!) but for the most part I still have to prepare food, three times a day, seven days a week, for this family of five.
I want to like being in the kitchen. I want to like preparing meals. But I just don’t. I don’t have that part of homemaking in me. Luckily my clan is easy to satisfy: cereal for dinner (and lunch…and breakfast), casseroles, crockpot dishes, mac n’ cheese and microwave quesadillas. Those are our “go-to’s.”
(Yes. I said microwave quesadillas.)
Since I’ve yet to find a personal chef that will cook in return for a smile and one of Clara’s crayon drawings, I have to get myself in the kitchen and feed this family. Here are some of my “go-to” tips for saving time in the kitchen. SUPER applicable coming from the laziest mama around.
Tips for Saving Time in the Kitchen
1. Prepare lean proteins in advance!
In an effort to eat healthy, we always buy a large pack of chicken breasts and grill them at the start of the week. Money saving tip: buy the largest pack you can find (on sale) and then cut off the skin and de-bone at home. You’ll save quite a bit of money over time and it doesn’t take that long. I even use kitchen shears to cut the chicken into long, tenderloin-type strips so that they grill faster! Once cooked, we store the chicken in the fridge for up to 3-4 days and incorporate them into our meals! Thirty minutes to prep your meats will save you a lot of time during the week.
Other lean proteins that pair easily with steamed veggies or on a big salad: baked/grilled turkey breast, hard-boiled eggs, diced honey baked ham.
2. Aluminum foil is your friend!
In order to save time scrubbing grease and cooked-on particles from your baking dishes, line everything with aluminum foil. Once your dish is cooked, you simply throw out the aluminum foil – no elbow grease required. I also buy crockpot liners that function in the same manor. (Coupons.com almost always has a $.75 coupon for Reynold’s wrap foil!) Who wants to be stuck scrubbing dishes?! Not I.
3. Pre-cut your fruits and vegetables.
Whenever I prepare our grilled chicken for the week, I also take the time to cut up broccoli, cauliflower and carrots (we go through SO many carrots!). I also make a large bowl of fruit salad (cantaloupe, peaches, blueberries and cherries are in our fridge now). This is where an ice maker can come in handy, you can freeze your fruits and vegetables and enjoy when needed. If you are not sure of how to use them, here is an article on countertop ice makers which might help. When healthy items like these are prepped (and put at an easy level for the kids to grab), we gobble them up much faster.
4. Make breakfasts EASY!!
My last tip: prep your breakfasts! If there’s one meal that I rarely have time to cook, it’s breakfast! This often results in us having cereal, but I’m really trying to mix things up and provide a little more protein at this meal. That’s where Flapjacked Protein Pancakes help out! With this easy to make (seriously, all you need is water), high protein, high fiber option, I can create a large batch at the start of the week and FREEZE them in ziplock bags! I just pop a few in the microwave and serve them up!
We like to add blueberries or chopped bananas and strawberries to the mix and then top them with almond butter and maple syrup. I think the one thing I like the best is that after I eat these protein pancakes, I don’t feel like there’s a big glob of dough in the bottom of my belly – they’re light!! One serving has just 200 calories and 17 grams of protein! Waaaaaay better than a bowl of cereal.
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QUESTION: What are some of YOUR tips for saving time in the kitchen? (seriously – I’ll take any advice you can throw my way!)