Do you know what the true challenge of traditional food prep is?
It takes time to plan, prepare, and serve traditional foods. It also takes time to source local food. In fact, in addition to meal preparation and sourcing, I also raise most of our food too!
As you can imagine, after many a long workday, I find myself in the kitchen wondering what to prepare quickly for a healthy dinner — wishing I'd thought of something earlier so I wouldn't be in such a pickle. 😉
Can you relate?
Here are some time-saving tips for the traditional foods kitchen!
These are goals I have recently made for myself, and want to pass on to you.
Tip #1 — Have A Plan
Whether it's once a week or once a month, sit down and make a list of your favorite, best, and/or simplest meals. Then plan out your shopping list.
To simplify my own menu planning, I designate a category for each week night. One night is always soup, one is always chicken, one is hamburgers, etc.
I make just 1 major shopping trip per month. Perhaps this will ring true for you as it has for me: The fewer trips I make to the store, the less money I tend to spend.
What if menu planning isn't really your thing? Well, check out our weekly menu plans, provided with a Traditional Cooking School membership!
Tip #2 — Use Small Windows Of Time
If you make yourself tea in the morning, also take the time to prepare a new batch of kombucha!
Waiting in line at the post office? Check online prices for your food sources.
If you harvest a head of lettuce from the garden, pull up a few weeds too.
Finally, keep a pen and paper handy for any meal ideas or grocery items that come to mind when you're on the go.
Tip #3 — Keep It Organized
Time spent searching for lost canning lids or recipes is lost time. It won't come back. Take an afternoon or two to clean out and organize your work space and recipes for maximum efficiency.
I like to organize my kitchen into “zones”. Just think through your typical process for making a meal, and keep all items needed for certain tasks in the same area.
For example, I devoted one counter in my kitchen to baking. Another zone contains all of my knives and cutting boards. Then I have a breakfast station, with a toaster, coffee and tea mugs, honey, etc. Sometime in the near future I plan to add a canning and preservation area to keep all of my jars, lids, and fermentation supplies together.
Tip #4 — Delegate
Don't do everything yourself! Enlist the help of your spouse, children, or even your crockpot. 😉 Take a breath and be willing to say, “I need help today.”
When the garden needs my full attention, my husband cares for our sourdough starter and bakes bread. Recently he took over the kombucha, too! In fact, he's the go-to person for all things fermented in our house — and does a much better job than I do.
Tip #5 — Prepare It Once, Eat It Twice
For instance, Monday night is soup night. We make a large pot of soup for dinner in the evening, then eat it for lunches throughout the week. Reheating it takes no time at all (even without a microwave), and it's super easy to put a delicious, warming lunch on the table.
Or, serve a large meat dish at the beginning of the week — like a roast or a whole chicken. Then use the already-cooked meat throughout the week in burritos, stir fry, pot pie, sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas, tacos, etc.
Tip #6 — Be Flexible
Go ahead and make your menu plans… Tape them to the refrigerator door. Yet at the end of the day, be willing to flex with whatever life, the garden, your goats, or your chickens decide to throw at you. 😉
If that beautiful roast dinner suddenly gets pushed aside to make way for grilled cheese sandwiches, that's okay. Shrug, move forward, and make the best grilled cheese sandwich meal you've ever had!
How do you keep your traditional foods kitchen humming? Do you have any time-saving tips?
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