These are the best tips I can find and think up on how I make cooking easy and fun no matter how tired I am.

lavenderPart of me struggles with the idea that people don't have time anymore to cook. Somehow cooking became an optional task that is now burdensome. If cooking can be piled into the "necessary" category like eating or sleeping or showering, then it transforms the act into a routine instead of a burden. Routines are hard to establish but the come with added feelings of comfort and familiarity. So, I say, make cooking part of your daily life. Make it feel like an easy part of your day and truly enjoy opportunities that allow you not to cook. In other words, make eating out count but enjoy your dinner at home just as much.

Still, finding a way to feed yourself (and perhaps your family) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is no small task. It does take time. Here are some ideas on how to make it take less time without sacrificing quality.



Make Friends with the Freezer

Here are eight ways to use a freezer to save time:

  1. Whenever possible, cook in large quantities. Make enough for two meals and freeze the second batch. It takes far less time to thaw out a meal than it does to cook one again.
  2. Keep some basic ingredients in the freezer: single cup servings of broth, chopped fruit or veggies, pesto, and sauces. Anytime you have leftovers of these things that you aren't going to use right away, freeze them. Chopped fruit is great to throw into oatmeal or to make a quick dessert. I have never tried to freeze citrus though. Chopped veggies (except potatoes which don't freeze well) are useful to throw into a stir-fry or soup. Be sure to freeze them spread out on a cookie sheet and then put into a container so that they don't freeze in a clump.
  3. Save individual servings of leftovers. Take them for lunch at work when you're running late one day or enjoy a night off when you're alone.
  4. Too many tomatoes or zucchini from your summer garden? Prep summer veggies and freeze them for use during the winter.
  5. If you make broth or pesto or sauce, freeze ice-cubes of them to use for recipes that only call for a little bit or for when you are cooking for one. Ever soak dried mushrooms to revitalize them? Save that broth too for soups. This can save lots of trips to the store of that one last ingredient.
  6. Suddenly have too much bread? Freeze it. By keeping things from going bad you won't waste money on unused food. Don't forget tortillas freeze well too. Although, it is a good idea to separate each tortilla with wax paper if you plan to use them individually. If you took the time to buy it, don't waste it.
  7. Making cookies, cobbler, or a pie? You can freeze desserts too. Make two when you have the time or freeze the leftovers. Then when you need a dessert for that unexpected company or potluck, it's ready.
  8. Keep specialty baking flours fresh by freezing them. Cool dark spaces keep things longer and will keep you from hunting them down at the specialty store again.



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