So often we hear people say, “I just don’t have time to cook.” Well, we don’t believe it. You make time for the things that are important to you. We understand that time can be a big hurdle to making good food at home. But there are little tips for reducing that time.
Let’s recap the Bachelor Way. First, you need to build an eating plan. We don’t call it a diet because making changes to your eating behavior is hard. Diet makes it sound like a temporary thing. Seeing your doctor or a nutritionist is the place to get started. They can help you come up with a good eating plan. It will take time to get going. But it is time well spent.
Next, you use your grocery store ads online or in print, to create a grocery list. Start filling in your meals for the next week with recipes that use the ingredients on your list. If you know you’re not using something that week, and it’s not on sale, cross it off. It will save storage and money. That does not mean you won’t need to build up a pantry. If you can wait a bit, that same item may be on sale another time.
With your groceries and recipes, you next plan your cooking. Multi-tasking can be an asset here, allowing you to make more than one recipe at a time. Or if a dish is to be made later in the week, you can prepare your ingredients, doing the chopping and measuring when you have the time, like while you are waiting for your current dish to cook. Invest in cheap sealable containers to store your leftovers and prepared ingredients.
Planning ahead is the key to shortening your time in the kitchen. Know what you are making and eating before mealtime. Bachelors, and many others, can often be found standing in front of an open refrigerator trying to decide what to eat. That wastes time, money and your health.
Another tip is the buy more time. You do that by buying pre-washed and pre-chopped fruits and vegetables. Packaged frozen vegetables, without sauce, are good to keep in the freezer for whenever you need them. They are already chopped and washed and ready to go.
Many singles often rely on frozen dinners to get out of cooking time, especially after work. If you buy entree-sized plastic containers, you can make your own frozen meals. That size container is ideal for one serving of protein, vegetables and maybe a starch. Just pop open one corner of the container and put it in the microwave. In general, you will need to cook on high for three to four minutes, depending on the density of the food. Remember to allow the food to wait inside the microwave for one to two minutes to allow the heat to distribute evenly. This is a great way to set up leftovers to be sure they are used and will stay fresh for weeks longer than they would in the refrigerator. You can also take these to work for an easy to heat lunch. The frozen meal will be kept cold until lunchtime. Then, a couple minutes of microwaving will make this ready to eat.
Speaking of the microwave, this is a very useful appliance. It’s not good for all foods, but you can use it to jumpstart your cooking. Take, for example, baked potatoes. We don’t like to cook the potato only in the microwave because the ends of the potato end up hard and unappealing. But you don’t have to do it all in the oven. Use a microwave to get the potato hot, then wrap it in foil and put in a hot oven. You cut the cooking time in half.
Microwaves are also good for steaming vegetables and other dishes in just a couple minutes.