I'm Mama Harris, the wife and mother to a large blended and multicultural family. In my lifetime I've been a single mom, a step-mom, a working mom and now a stay at home mom. My kids range in age from toddler to newly adult and I write about my kitchen adventures and the variety of foods and recipes I feed my family at From the Kitchen of Mama Harris. I've experienced all aspects of mommy-hood and look forward to sharing my kitchen tips, tricks, recipes and shortcuts!

Mama Harris’ Sneaky Kitchen Shortcuts

Categories: grocery shopping, organizing, pantry, shortcuts

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As busy mom’s, I think it’s always important to us to utilize our time as efficiently as possible. Personally, I thoroughly enjoy cooking for my family, but I don’t want to feel like I’m always in the kitchen. Since my family has a busy schedule, I try to spend as much of my time with them and also completing other important tasks around the house. There’s a few easy ways to minimize your time in the kitchen without sacrificing the quality of your meals, all the while maximizing your family time.

I’ve touched on a few of these points with a few of my past articles including Every Mom’s Pantry Essentials and Weekly Meal Prep Ideas For the Busy Mom. Here’s some additional shortcuts I’ve developed in order to stretch my schedule and time.

  • Grocery shop once a week, and plan your meals according to the sales. If your pantry is fully stocked with spices and staples that you often use, grocery shopping just once a week should be simple. I typically shop according to sales and plan my weekly meals around the items I purchase. This way you’re not heading to the store every other night, and you can spend that valuable time on other things.
  • Pre-mix your seasonings. I’m sure I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, this is such a time saver! Whether you fry fish or chicken often, or you have a special combination of seasonings for your favorite roast; whatever it is, if you make it often then multiply your seasonings by five or six and create your own special seasoning mixture. That way when it comes time to prepare that favorite meal, you have your special combination already mixed and ready to rub!
  • Chop, chop away! Along the same lines as your premixed seasonings, it’s a great idea to pre-cut your ingredients. Even better if you have a food processor that does the cutting for you! If you have a slow-cooker recipe to prepare, cut up all the ingredients the weekend before and bag it up. You can even freeze and label it!
  • Double your recipes. Another great idea is to double your recipes so you have extra you can store for a second meal a week or two later. Instead of one lasagna’s, make two! Only do this with meals that will freeze well, but this is a lifesaver! Even if it’s not a meal, maybe you made a sauce or puree, just double the batch so you have some for next time. Works great for desserts too, like pie fillings and cookie dough!
  • Bring on the help. Sometimes the best way to maximize the quality time with you family is to have them join you in the kitchen. Not too long ago my stepson helped me prepare one of his favorite meals. It’s a pretty quick meal as it is, but it didn’t even feel like we were working and the time just flew by. He remarked that it’s much better to help in the kitchen, it doesn’t seem like it takes as long as when you’re just waiting for the meal to be complete. So bring the help and enjoy each other!
What are some of your favorite shortcuts in the kitchen, how do you balance your time and get it all done?

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