You're really busy. So am I. That said, we don't have time to slave away and waste the day in the kitchen. Here's are my favorite ways to shave off some precious time and get out of the kitchen.
1. Get rid of all those gadgets. You only need a good knife, a cutting board, and a high quality blender (think Vitamix). Most other tools take up space, take up too much time to clean, and are expensive and unnecessary.
2. Prep produce before you put it away after grocery shopping. First of all, dirty produce has no place in your clean fridge. Second, you don't want to deal with cleaning produce several times a day. Take 30 minutes after grocery shopping to wash and scrub your produce. You'll thank yourself later.
3. Set a timer for your rice, beans, and things that take more than 30 minutes. This way you can finish your other tasks without waiting around on food you're cooking.
4. Never mince garlic. Smash it with your knife, and move on.
5. Pick one day a week and make big batches. I typically prepare a grain, a protein (such as bean or lentils), maybe some hummus or almond butter, and a nut milk, along with my prepped produce. Mid-week, take 30 minutes to re-evaluate and fill in any gaps. For example, make more almond milk, cut more veggies for snacks, and make a new quick grain (think quinoa) to get you through the rest of the week.
6. Cook once, eat twice. Get in the habit of making big batches when you do cook, so that you only have to actually cook a time or two each week.
7. Make breakfast and lunch the night before. And make at least two at a time. Who wants to be doing that same chore again in 12 hours?
8. Invest in mason jars for leftovers, smoothies, and salad to-go containers, etc. They're handy for freezing soups and other goodies, travel well, and will you save time scrambling though old Tupperware containers and lids (which you know you shouldn't be using anyway).
9. Join a CSA. If you're like me, you typically shop mainly for produce anyway, so save the trip to the store, all while supporting your local farmer and your health.
10. Make your toaster oven your new BFF. Throw whatever you plan on eating in a single, oven-safe dish, toss in the oven, and go about your business. Come back in 10 to 20 minutes and your meal is ready! I do this in the morning while getting ready or while paying bills in the evening. You can do this with your regular oven as well, if you're feeding your entire family. Leftovers will taste far better and you'll support your health by not using a microwave.