Saving time in the kitchen, part 1

January 24, 2011

This week we’re going to be talking about saving time in the kitchen – both because it’s the number one thing people ask about when they subscribe to the newsletter, and also because it’s been on my mind a lot! Between running a company and raising a baby, it’s been a real challenge to find time to make these videos, so I’ve been thinking a lot about how to optimize my day so I can spend more time on the things that are important to me.

Guess what? It’s not about the recipes you pick:

So yes, it’s not about making food in big batches, or using a slow cooker, or managing leftovers, but that’s all part of it, which we’ll explore later in the week. Key theme: save 2 minutes a day in the kitchen, and you get 12 hours of extra time this year. If you can save more, you get even more, but let’s start with something that’s achievable for everyone.

Today’s homework question: how much time do you spend on the average dinner? Let me know in the comments!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

MollyG January 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm

If I’m averaging the whole week, including the weekend, I’d say about 2 hours a day.

Jason January 24, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Thanks Molly! A followup I forgot to ask: how much time would you like it to be each day?

Cindy January 24, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Now I enjoy cooking …and because I no longer have young children at home I’m not as rushed as some, but from start to finish on the evening meal I spend about 40 minutes. It would be great to cut it down to 30!

nic January 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm

hurrah , Jason’s back!!!
in order to save a bit of time in the kitchen i like to cook off a large batch of rice , pasta, vegetables, also to use canned lentils, beans,pulses, brazed tofu, as well as having a selection of frozen and refrigerated goods, e.g sausages, faux meat , cheese, flavored rice/soy milk, oh and cereal , now that is a quick meal .also left overs from the previous day is great , fried rice and beans in a wrap is a good option (i got that one from chili beans can last a couple of days , put it in a baked potato , wrap , in a sandwich.
being vegan does take a bit more time in the kitchen as we are generally using good quality foods , less processed , higher fibre content items like brown rice, however the s time that we spend in the kitchen is i am sure, the same for those who practice macrobiotics, raw food, kosher

Lisa January 24, 2011 at 8:28 pm

On the weekend, I cook two recipes that I freeze in individual containers for work. That takes about 1-2 hours per recipe, so let’s say 4 hours on the weekend. I take about 5 minutes to make a green smoothie every morning, and 30 minutes each evening to make dinner and chop an apple and some veggies for work the next day. So, I’m estimating 8 hours a week or 1 hour and 15 minutes per day that I spend in the kitchen. It seems like a reasonable amount of time for preparing food, and I enjoy it. That said, I’d be interested in reading about time-saving tips!

Amanda January 25, 2011 at 1:11 am

Glad you’re back, Jason!
For me, on a typical workday, I spend about 15 minutes in the morning putting together my work snacks and lunch, which usually consists of an apple, baggie of grapes, a flat out wrap or sammich thin, a veggie pattie or seitan to nuke in the microwave later, and a tomato and some spinach stuffed in a baggie to complete my lunch sammich. Then I let the dog out while getting some cereal with sliced banana, and put the kettle on for tea. My morning routine is pretty quick. When I get home, I cook my dinner seperate from the husband’s, since he is not a vegan or vegetarian. It takes me anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Our oven sort of sucks, so anything baked in there eats up some serious time. I’ll either throw together a salad and tofu sandwich, or do something a little more involved like spaghetti made with tofu shirataki noodles and smart ground, or butternut squash with better than sour cream and a side of grilled veggies topped with Nacho Mom’s Vegan Queso….Oh and copious amounts of booze to end the day…vegan, of course.

Alicia August 25, 2016 at 6:56 am

My idea is to use a minimalist kitchen. Use automated cookers. Slow Cookers, Pressure Cookers whatever works! Also, utilize leftover foods.

I spend 40 – 45 minutes per meal. I use processed foods and I have a small family. So, it helps somewhat.

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