Cookin’ Shortcuts for Busy People

Hello C&K readers! I truly apologize for my long absence from posting. I am humbled by your continued support and feedback. Being busy is no excuse, but we all know the challenges of keeping up with work, family, friends, and of course, basic needs.

Speaking of basic needs, eating is something I’m still making a conscious effort to do (actually, it’s a no-brainer). Lately, I’ve been cutting corners with my recipes since I am typically pressed for time. Multi-step recipes have almost gone out the window in my house! Plus, if you’re like me and cooking for one most of the time, it’s even harder to muster up the motivation to go out and buy ingredients for a fancy Pinterest recipe.

If you’re with me on this, then stay tuned. Below, I’ve listed some of my go-to recipe hacks and tricks so you can keep eating healthy, save money, and are not running out to pick up food so much!

  1. Think of at least THREE recipes you’ll realistically make this week, and grocery shop accordingly. While I usually am that wide-eyed girl meandering around the grocery store and just grabbing whatever looks good, I save dollars and time by mapping out at least a few meals for the week.
  2. Frozen food is your friend. No, I’m not talking about Lean Cuisine or ice cream (although ice cream is always a good choice). If you are buying fresh produce but not using it quickly enough, then you are familiar with finding a wilty, slimy mess in your fridge. To avoid this, aim for frozen fruits and veggies! Many varieties of frozen veggies cook up in the microwave in no time and are not necessarily less nutritional than their fresh counterparts.
  3. Prepare breakfast/lunch the night before. I know what you’re thinking — the last thing that you want to do at the end of a long day is prepare food. That seems like MORE work! But, if you’ve followed tip #1 and have groceries stocked up, then this should not take you very long. And, if you’re in the midst of making dinner, you can do this while you’re waiting for something to bake! I tend to keep my lunches simple but exciting. I often make salads with lots of fun ingredients like cheese, chicken, deli meat, a veggie patty, sundried tomatoes, etc., or a sandwich or wrap. Leftovers from dinner also make for minimal lunch prep. Throw in an apple, string cheese, or some nuts with your main dish, and you’ll be set!
  4. Three words: Hard Boiled Eggs. I’ve recently made the discovery that hard boiled eggs keep me full for a long, long time. While making dinner or doing laundry, boil some eggs and keep ’em in the fridge to eat for a filling, quick breakfast or a snack all week long.
  5. You don’t have to make everything from scratch. I am a big believer in eating natural foods, but sometimes you gotta take shortcuts! While I occasionally take the time to make homemade sauces, you can minimize some time and save a little energy by buying some pre-made stuff. I love Kirkland brand pesto from Costco and Trader Joe’s frozen sweet potato gnocchi (check out the photo below of my latest gnocchi creation)!

Readers, do you have any hacks for time-crunched peeps? Share with me in a comment, Facebook post, Tweet, or on Instagram @coneysandkale.

Sweet potato gnocchi with Shiitake mushrooms and Fairytale eggplant

Sweet potato gnocchi with Shiitake mushrooms and Fairytale eggplant in a sage butter sauce

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