Faster Meal Prep: 5 Tips to Cut Time in the Kitchen

If you’re like me, preparing dinner seems to take longer than you have. You can’t sauté, dice, and pre-heat the oven with a toddler under your feet! So, if you’re also like me, and daydream of finding extra time to meal prep a month’s worth of freezer meals, or collecting recipes for your crock pot or Instant Pot to cut time, this list is for you!

Faster Meal Prep: 5 Tips to Cut Time in the Kitchen

1. “Throw Together Quickly” Meals

First on my list is to find a few meals that you can easily make to save time one evening. Sure, this comes in handy on busy nights, but I have another reason for it– by making one of your fail-proof, easy to make dinners on a night you have a little more time, you save a little time to complete some of the other ideas on this list! Favorite “fast meals” here include purchasing pre-made ravioli and mixing in Italian sausage and spinach, buying lettuce with a Cesar Salad kit included, tossing with some grilled chicken and wrapping in tortillas, or using fish sticks (toddler friendly!) to make fish tacos quickly. Check out this post for four-ingredient meals. This post as well as this post have some great fast meals!

2. Prep Fruits and Vegetables for the Week

Spend an hour or so (when you can!) on cleaning and chopping fruits and veggies for the week. This way you have raw, fresh food to eat on hand for meals and snacks, as well as having them ready to throw into meals. Dress up salads, smoothies, oatmeal, and so many other recipes with extra veggies or fruit!

3. Prep More to Freeze!

If you have a few extra minutes, keep chopping! Many fruits and vegetables freeze well. Dicing up an onion and freezing it in a freezer safe container makes meal prep a breeze. Take out a handful of frozen onions to throw into many different meals: casseroles, pastas, meatloaf, etc. If it’s going to be cooked, chances are you’ll never be able to tell it wasn’t a freshly chopped. Tomatoes are great in sauces and stews! Other veggies that freeze well for later cooking: pepper strips, corn, or garlic. Try it out and see what you like.

Fruits that are frozen are great for baking with or blended into smoothies. Both the vegetables and fruits will definitely be softer once thawed, so the freezer method is best for when it’ll be sautéed, cooked, or just where texture won’t affect the meal.

Faster Meal Prep: 5 Tips to Cut Time in the Kitchen

4. Cook Multi-Use Ingredients Ahead of Time

Pre-cook some ingredients. For instance, check out this post on shredded chicken! Having one ingredient prepped ahead of time, like chicken, can make many meals come together quickly.

5. Make a Little Extra To Freeze!

Lastly, my favorite way to save time is to cook double of what I actually need for dinner that night. By doing this, I only spend a couple extra minutes actually cooking and portioning out, but I end up with two or three meals! Casseroles, pastas, and crockpot meals are all ideal for this. For the excess, I like to use either Pyrex freezer-to-oven safe dishes, or purchase some foil tins to save on cleaning time later. I then cover with tin foil, clearly label with name, date, and cooking instructions. Just pop it in the freezer and you get a freezer meal, or two, for later. Typical casserole or crock pot type recipes can usually be divided into three separate meals for my family! 

Make sure you never miss out on a parenting or community-related blog postsign up to receive CRMBposts in your inbox.  While you’re at it, join our VIP List to ensure you’re one of the first to know about upcoming Cedar Rapids Moms Blog events and promotions!!


Free Family-Friendly Activities | In & Around Cedar Rapids

Looking for some budget-friendly fun to keep the kiddos entertained? From exploring parks to markets, and cultural spots, Cedar Rapids has a ton of free family-friendly activities for you and your little ones to...

Where to See Fireworks | In & Around Cedar Rapids in 2024

Fireworks are quintessential to ring in America's birthday celebration! You have bought your family red, white and blue outfits, sparklers are ready to light up the evening, the grill is ready to go with...

Parenting a Child with ADHD: A Mom’s Journey + Tips

Parenting is an adventure filled with unexpected twists and turns. When my child was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), it added a new dimension to this journey. It’s a path filled with challenges, discoveries,...

Father’s Day Events | In & Around Cedar Rapids

Father's Day is Sunday, June 16th. And while we don't need a single day to honor Dads and father figures (we should celebrate them every day!), make Sunday meaningful, special, and fun as you...

2024 Summer Fairs & Festivals | In & Around Cedar Rapids

Cedar Rapids is buzzing with summer fun! Think cotton candy, Ferris wheels, and games galore! From the Freedom Festival to local fairs, there's something for everyone. This list of events will be growing all...
Join our community.
Be the first to know about new resources, can't-miss happenings, and new blog articles! 
Yay, we're so glad you're here! Keep an eye on your inbox