8 Cooking Rules to Getting More Done with Less Time
A couple weeks ago, I gave you a little teaser with my 3 Rules to Create Balance as a Mompreneur. It seems that you all really liked it, but even more so, it seems like you want some real life answers. So, my friends, I’m going to give you my #1 Secret to Getting More Done with Less Time. Are you ready?
It is called, Batching.
Now if you are new to the business game, you might not think you know what batching is, but if you are a mom, you practice batching all the time.
Batching means that you do a bunch of the same task at the same time. When you do laundry, you don’t put one sock in at a time and wash them individually, you put all like colored clothing in one washer and do a BATCH of laundry. When you make cookies, you don’t mix enough of the ingredients for just one cookie. You make a BATCH of cookies. That is batching and it is magical.
You can use this concept in chores, cooking and business.
Batching allows you to do more while using less time. How does this work? Think of a task that you do all the time intermittently throughout the day like check your emails, answer emails, cooking dinner, ironing, etc… Instead of answering one email or ironing one shirt, you will save time if you create a pile of emails or shirts and do the work all at once. A lot of time gets eaten up in preparing to do the task. So, if you can prepare once, you will save a lot of time. This is a very powerful tool. I really do use it in all aspects of my life. Today I’m going to talk to you about how I batch my cooking.
Here’s how I use it in my day-to-day:
Cooking takes up a lot of my time. I have 7 mouths to feed, 3-5 times a day (I have boys), 7 days a week. That is 147 meals if I figure conservatively and 245 if I figure more realistically with snacks and everything. That is a whole lot of eating. If there is a way to cut down on prep time, I do.
- Batch cooking. When I make a casserole (lasagna, enchiladas, etc…), I always make two. I bake one and put the other in the freezer. It takes me an extra 5 minutes to make two instead of one and it saves time for me later. Also, I always have a freezer meal ready for a friend in need or if I forget the missionaries are coming over for dinner. This also works with rice. When I have rice for dinner, I make enough for at least two meals. We use half and put the other half in the fridge for the next day.
- Batch meal planning. I could spend just as much time searching on Pinterest for the perfect meal as I do on actually making it. Create a revolving meal plan. This was crucial for me during soccer season these past few months. We had three boys in soccer that meant two practice days and two game days. Add on scouts, art and piano lessons and it left us tired and me not wanting to cook. I knew that soccer would last for only a few months, so I created a revolving meal plan. Mondays: Crock Pot, Tuesdays: Pasta, Wednesdays: Breakfast for dinner, Thursdays: Rice, Friday: Pizza. And that is what got me through. Soccer just finished last week, so now my meal plan will change.
- Batch grocery shopping. Plan out meals and make only one shopping trip a week. I usually make it to Sam’s Club once a month for bulk items and go to Winco the rest of the weeks. Find our what works for your family.
- Batch school lunches. I keep my kids’ lunches really simple. Luckily my boys want lunches that they can eat quickly so that they can get out to recess fast. My kids get to choose a sandwich, I give them the fresh fruit I have on hand and a homemade cookie. How do I give them a homemade cookie every day? I make a huge BATCH and freeze it. I put it in their lunch bag frozen and it is thawed by the time they eat it.
- Batch ingredients for favorites. I have ingredients for my families favorite dinners on hand at all times. I know that my kids will always eat spaghetti, meatloaf, chicken croquettes, enchiladas and lasagna. The ingredients for each of these are always in my pantry because these are meals that I don’t have to look up a recipe. I can create them on the fly.
- Batch things that take a long time and make extra. I make bran muffins every other Wednesday morning. My kids’ piano teacher comes at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday mornings, so I have to get up extra early. Making muffins from scratch takes a little more time than my other breakfasts do, so I save them for Wednesday morning when I am up early anyway. My recipe makes enough for 4-5 dozen muffins. I use half of the batter and put the rest in the fridge for the next week. My kids are always looking for a snack and these are a healthy, homemade one. So, they are nice to have on hand.
- Batch cooking meat. Cooking meet takes the longest. Instead of cooking meat one meal at a time, cook enough for 2-3 dinners. Use some and freeze the rest. Don’t like to cook your chicken, buy two rotisserie chickens, then take off the chicken, put it in bags and freeze it.
- Batch cutting. If I get fresh produce, I try to cut it up as I bring it home. Having veggies precut, makes it easier to use and snack on them.
- Let them batch for you. If you have the choice between buying a block of cheese and shredded cheese and you know that you will use more shredded cheese, buy the shredded. Don’t waste your time shredding cheese. Look for products that do that work for you and be willing to pay the $.50 more.
- Batch buying meals. I buy a few freezer meals that take me minutes to prepare. Life gets busy. It is nice to have a few back ups in the freezer just in case. Some of my favorites are Trader Joe’s Korean BBQ Chicken and Sam’s Club’s Chicken Picatta.
And that is how I do more cooking with less time. Let me know in the comments what your tips are for making cooking time easier and faster.