Five Ways to Maximize Prep Time to SAVE Time

Most of us don’t want to spend a ton of time prepping food each day.  Am I right??

I enjoy cooking and I like to try new recipes, but these days with two young girls, allowing myself time to peruse recipes and savor the cooking process is a luxury I quite rarely get to indulge in.

What I’m learning to do currently is use my prep time as efficiently as possible.  To add just a few more minutes into what I’m doing TODAY to save myself some time for a FUTURE day.

I’ll give you a couple of examples:

First one…This Facebook post gives you an idea of what I’m talking about:  spend a few minutes more when you have time in order to save time later!

A 10 minute veggie scramble.

A 10 minute veggie scramble.

As I was getting vegetables and dip ready for a get-together I cut up extra than I needed.  The time spent to get out all the veggies, kitchen tools, and wash everything up was spent.  I only needed to add probably an additional 10 minutes to clean a few more carrots, chop an extra pepper, slice the full cuke, slice the rest of the onion, and quarter all the radishes.  In doing 10 extra minutes of prep when I had the time, I was all ready to go for this breakfast scramble.  Whereas, if I did not already have the chopped veggies on hand I know I wouldn’t have bothered to get stuff out and prep it in the morning


Second one….This past weekend, we made a grilled chicken teriyaki dish.  A new recipe, that met all my requirements, and was so yummy that it will go in the recipe rotation and be part of my binder.  The recipe included making your own teriyaki sauce.  We like things on the saucier side so I opted to double the homemade sauce.  What I didn’t realize is that we wouldn’t have needed it all…we ended up with way, too much.

Grilled chicken teriyaki salad...with a fantastic sauce to be repurposed for another dinner!

Grilled chicken teriyaki salad…with a fantastic sauce to be repurposed for another dinner!

As it turned out I was glad we had that extra sauce and I put it to good use.  Two nights later I did a beef roast in the oven and then added the remainder of the teriyaki sauce to the tender beef.  So delicious!  So easy!  No waste!  And, making extra sauce during an earlier night’s dinner prep didn’t cost me any extra time then!  I had to get out all the ingredients to make the sauce for the chicken recipe, so doubling it was easy.

It takes some practice to learn to think ahead so you can utilize all those food prep minutes to your best advantage.  Once you begin to do this, though, it will become more second nature.

Some ideas to get you rolling:

  1.  If you have to brown ground meat, add an extra portion or pound to the pan.  It won’t take you that much longer and you’ll have some protein cooked up and ready for lunches or another evening dinner.
  2. Do you have to pre-cook that chicken breast or are you firing up the grill for your chicken?  Add more!  Again, the additional time NOW will not be much extra and you will have chicken breast ready to go for lunch or dinner later in the week.
  3. If you have 5-10 minutes to prep veggies, utilize the FULL time you allow yourself.  If you only had to cut up one pepper and you’re done in under 5 minutes, what else can you squeak in while you have the cutting board out?  Could you rinse that head of lettuce and core it?  Could you chop up the cuke?  Got time to peel some carrots?  Just a few minutes NOW will help you LATER.
  4. Dips/Sauces/Seasonings.  Almost always make extra if you have enough ingredients.  All the stuff is out, so double or half again the recipe.  I do this when I make my homemade ranch dip for an outing.  One to take, one to leave at home…no extra time required.
  5. Grated cheese.  If you took it out of the fridge to grate up 1/4 cup or less, keep grating!  In an extra minute or two you’ll have some to utilize another time.  Garnish those eggs or a salad with an extra flavor punch…no grating required come breakfast or lunch the next day!


The things we have on hand are the things we eat!  Try to make use of your limited time in the kitchen.  You’d be surprised how adding on just 5-10 minutes will help you for meals to come.  Happy prepping…and eating!!


I’m all about practicality and real life.  Being healthy can be practical and it can fit into YOUR life!  I have a weekly newsletter where I share lots of no nonsense information and provide lots of insights into how to determine WWFY (What Works For You) in terms of creating your own healthy life.  Get signed up here to be a part of my crew and get all the goods all the time!  🙂

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