In the scheme of life, 5 to 10 minutes doesn’t sound like much does it? But when you are trying to get dinner on the table, racing around the kitchen can be the difference between a dinner hastily gobbled down with hardly any family communication to an enjoyable, relaxing family dinner. Most people, when asked, said they wished cooking the nightly meal took less time. In a Consumer Report survey, the average difference between the actual time spent preparing the evening meal and the time desired to prepare the evening meal was only around 8 minutes.
With this in mind, the Consumer Report people set out to create the ultimate efficient and time-saving kitchen; a kitchen that uses the latest lifestyle advice, latest innovations and design trends. Gaining wisdom from designers, chefs and organizers help to streamline the prep time. New appliances were tested, paying close attention to the ones that tout special time saving features such as induction cooktops and steam ovens. They also look at steam able prepared meal to determine whether they improve on the usual frozen variety.
Here are some key suggestions for saving time during your nightly effort to get dinner on and OFF the table quickly.
- If you are thinking about remodeling your kitchen you can follow the design basics. Work the triangle connecting your sink, refrigerator and cooktop. This is still the best baseline of maximum efficiency. But you can increase the distance between the walkways from 36 inches to 42 or even 48 inches wide, people can move more freely and allow for at least two people in the kitchen preparing meals at a time. If space allows in your kitchen, you might want to consider a prep sink in an island.
- A large, walk in pantry may be on your kitchen design list. But a large, oversized wall cabinet can work just as well. Buying in bulk saves you money and trips to the market. Having all your supplies on hand really cuts the prep time down.
- How much time is wasted on looking for misplaced items? Precious time is lost searching for needed tools. Unclutter your kitchen and you will unclutter your life! Do you remember the adage: a place for everything, and everything in its place. Try to organize your kitchen so that things are close at hand. For example: organize your kitchen so that your dishes and silverware are next to the dishwasher and put your sharp knives and cutting boards near the area where you prepare your food.
- Include your family in the meal making production. If your children are young you might want to designate a base cabinet for dishes or drinking glasses so they can participate in setting the dinner table. It gives them pride in completing a necessary job and they feel good about having an important and “grown up” chore.
- Teach your children how to prepare healthy food like fruits and vegetables. Have them wash, dry and cut (depending on age). Healthy eating habits when children are young will help them eat healthy as adults.
- Doubling recipes can save time in the kitchen too! Just think, it’s one less meal to plan, prepare and think about. Stews and spaghetti are great for reheating and are even better the next day. Using a crockpot is another time saving appliance. Simply add your ingredients together in the morning and by evening you have a ready to serve, hot meal. What could be better! The crockpot recipes are usually on the healthier side too.
Never underestimate the importance of having a sit-down family meal. It’s a great time to teach good behaviors and manners. Turn off the television, electronic devices and enjoy your family time. Running an efficient kitchen will make your meal time much more enjoyable.