Welcome to my tips and tricks page! These are small time saving ideas that I like to combine with my own recipes at home to be more efficient and to maximize the time I spend in the kitchen – because as much as I love cooking, I like to do other things too 🙂 I will update this page whenever I think of anything new, so be sure to check it out regularly for new time savers! If you have any tips of your own that you find especially helpful, comment below or shoot me a quick email and I’ll add them to the list.
- Grains/Rice: It is time consuming to cook brown rice, barley and other grains – so one of my favorite shortcuts is to cook these grains in bulk (or at the very least, double what I might need at the moment). To prep for storage, I then I cool them at room temperature for 2-3 hours. After that, I put them in the fridge to cool for a full day or for at least 3-4 hours. Then I put them in freezer Ziploc bags, or glass/plastic containers with lids and freeze them. I prefer Ziploc bags as it’s easier to break off whatever amount you need rather than thawing the entire box. Next time when you need a bit of rice or quinoa, you can just break off the amount you need and microwave and bingo – you can have it ready in a minute or so! It’s a fantastic time saver.
- Oatmeal: This is a great, nutritious breakfast to make in bulk and to freeze. The steel cut oats take about 30-40 minutes to cook, so I just make a large batch in one shot since the cooking time will be the same regardless of quantity. After that, I use half of it during that week and I freeze the rest. Sometimes, before going on vacation, I’ll be cleaning out my fridge and will see leftover oatmeal, so I just freeze it! That way I have a healthy breakfast dish when I’m back from vacation and don’t feel like cooking for a day or so 🙂
- Carrots & Celery: One of my family’s favorite snacks is sliced carrots/celery with hummus. So on a Sunday evening while watching TV or relaxing, I just cut up a bunch of carrots and celery for the entire week. They store extremely well in the fridge in an airtight box or a Ziploc. It’s a great, healthy snack to grab when you’re in a rush.
- Hummus: We eat hummus a lot – so to save money and to ensure that it’s preservative-free, I like to make it at home. Sometimes I make a bit extra and freeze it as well. It thaws really well and tastes perfect! The trick is to not freeze it for longer than a month or so.
- Nuts & Seeds: Another healthy snack that I love is nuts and seeds. When we’re in a rush or are especially hungry, we tend to grab whatever is in front of us. So to account for this, I prepackage a measured amount of nuts in small containers and keep them in fridge. That way, I can just grab a pack before or after working out or as a snack for my husband or kids.
- Bananas: I don’t know about you guys, but in my house nobody except me will eat a banana if there are black spots on it! There are only so many bananas that I can eat 🙂 So I take any extra ones and peel them, chop them, and freeze them! That way, whenever I need half a banana for a smoothie or need a few bananas for my vegan ice cream, I always have them handy. I find that it’s better to use frozen bananas or berries in a smoothie rather than ice, which ends up diluting the smoothie.
- Burgers: Whenever I make any of my homemade burgers or falafels (Quinoa Black Bean Burgers, Ground Turkey Kebab Burgers, Cauliflower Broccoli Burgers, Falafels), I always make extra and freeze the leftovers. They thaw beautifully in the microwave or at room temperature. They are life savers for packing a quick lunch!
- Soups: All of my soups (Black Bean and Veggie soup, Minestrone Soup, Chili, Chicken Noodle Soup, Pasta Fagiole Soup) also freeze really well. But rather than storing a big batch in the freezer, I usually freeze the soup in pint containers. That way, I can thaw however much I need rather than the whole batch at once.
- Energy Bites: The Dates and Nuts Energy Bites that I make refrigerate excellently, so I make a large amount at once and refrigerate them. They are great for snacks or pre/post workouts.
- Guacamole: Usually whenever I make guacamole, it doesn’t last very long 🙂 But sometimes, if there is any left over, then I store it in a smaller container that won’t leave much space between the lid and guacamole. Then, I just sprinkle a bit of cold water on it and roll around the container so that the entire surface of the guacamole is covered by water. Then I close the container it and refrigerate it. It keeps well for a day or so without browning, versus just 1 hour if you leave it out at room temperature.
If you have any time saving tricks, leave a comment or send me an email!