Though they swear there are 24 hours in a day, you could convince me there are only maybe 18, max. Check these tips for easier dinner ideas.
Those looking to save money know that cooking is an essential activity. With so few hours in the day, though, preparing your meals comes at a high cost—time. There are several ways to reduce your cooking time and save money.
1. Plan ahead
Much of the time-cost of cooking comes during the conception period. If you must identify, learn, and prepare a new dish every other day, you'll spend an extra half-hour or hour simply figuring out what you want to eat.
Chefs who allot an hour or so planning their meals for the week will, in the long run, spend less time brainstorming their meals. They'll also find mealtime far less stressful.
Learn how to plan your meals for the week.
2. Come to grips with simplicity
Not every meal has to be a five-course extravaganza. Steak and potatoes were good for John Wayne, so why do you need to whip up some exotic new dish every time you're hungry?
Once you accept that some meals don't have to be Michelin Star-worthy, your cooking regimen will become far simpler.
Find some simple dinner ideas.
3. Cook large batches
Is it just me, or is the word "leftovers" a turn-on? There is nothing cooler than saving money except saving time. You check both boxes when you cook large quantities, eat leftovers, and freeze the rest.
A sandwich is a budgeter's favorite meal. There are so many varieties to choose from. Grilled cheese, turkey, and swiss...BLTs! Don't forget peanut butter and jelly or the underrated tomato and mozzarella sandwich. Sandwiches are filling, easy, and cheap. Unless you're a fan of the caviar sandwich, that is.
Check out my top best sandwich recipes.
5. Use your freezer
While frozen food tends to be less nutritious than fresh alternatives, it is acceptable to pull a meal from the freezer occasionally. Whether it is something you made and froze, or a frozen pizza or pasta you purchased, reheating meals is an easy way to avoid a night spent slaving over the cutting board.
6. Cook in a way that accommodates multitasking
While pan-cooking can be the most delicious way to make unique dishes, it requires the most attention. The oven, air fryer, crock pot, and grill may allow you to multitask, as these appliances do most of the work.
Whether you're wrapping up the day's work, folding laundry, getting FaceTime in with the kids, or tending to other business, cooking food in a multi-tasking-friendly manner is sometimes necessary.
7. Drop the measuring spoons
If you use a teaspoon of cayenne pepper rather than a half teaspoon, will it make or break the dish? Will you even notice? Once you have spent enough time in the kitchen, you can eyeball your spices, save time, and be fine.
Check my quick measurement conversion tables.
8. Utilize cooking blogs
Many cooking-centric websites organize recipes by their time demand. You can find many simple, replicable recipes that won't take more than 30 minutes to prepare. These blogs should be essential bookmarks for anyone trying to reduce cook time.
Check out my easy dinner recipes collection!
9. Start smoking
While smokers aren't cheap, there is a good reason why they're increasingly popular. If you're a meat-head, a smoker allows you to cook lots of meat over the course of a day. It's a low-effort mode of cooking that can produce magnificent results.
10. Break up the meal prep
Preparing a meal can be far more overwhelming when you take it on simultaneously. You might find cooking less daunting if you can chop vegetables the night before making a stew or cut and marinate chicken breasts before cooking. Furthermore, once you start the process, you're obligated to finish, which means a lower risk of ordering impulse delivery.
This thread inspired this post.
By Tia Clara, published Mar 20, 2023 on