Parenting

Save Hours in the Kitchen With This Cooking Hack

It’s been said that multitasking is a myth—a discredited theory of productivity. While juggling several projects in the air in a business setting might make a boss warm and fuzzy, in a home with several small children it can be a complete disaster.

It looks more like this:

You put a pot of water on to boil for spaghetti noodles for dinner, then turn to run dishwater to start cleaning up the lunch dishes you put off earlier in the day. While the water is running you hear the toddler make that, “I want that–but it’s stuck” scream. So you instantly assess that you have the needed thirty seconds before the sink fills to go grab him. However, while in there you also see the mess he made in the process.

You know the ending of this story. So do I.

If fact, true confession: that’s how I caught my own house on fire.

As moms, we often multitask out of sheer survival. However, there is a better way. I call it batching. It will save you time and money. It works in a lot of areas and once you get the concept you will find ways to apply it in several areas of your life.

Let’s go back to that pot of water boiling for spaghetti.

Did you know that the spaghetti sauce you buy in a jar is most likely made from three ingredients or less? Rather than buying one jar of spaghetti sauce, you could buy one large can of tomato sauce and season it with garlic and Italian spices (those can be from one jar) making enough sauce to create three similar meals.

In little more time than it takes to make the sauce and boil a couple of pots of water, you can put on two kinds of noodles, divide your sauce, and create two meals.

The same goes for Mexican food. How many meals do you make out of meat seasoned for tacos? It takes almost the same amount of time to cook up five pounds of ground meat and season it as it does one. Whatever the amount you need for your family, try doubling or tripling it.

You can either assemble the other meals right then while you’re cooking or just bag it up and freeze it. Either way,  you’ll save time the next time you go to cook.

You wouldn’t think of leaving the house to grocery shop at one store, then come home and put your groceries away, then leave again for the next store and come home and put the rest of the food away. You batch your errands, maybe even adding a side trip to the post office or to drop off a bag at Goodwill. It only makes sense to get as many of your errands done as possible while you’re out.

The same is true while cooking. Why cut up a half of an onion or lettuce? Cut it all up—more than you need. Then it’s waiting for you the next time you go to cook.

When this kitchen hack, called batching, becomes a habit, you’ll save hours in the kitchen and a fortune at the grocery store.

How many other areas of your life do you think you could batch?