We all love a hot, home-cooked meal. The amount of time needed though for recipe-research, shopping, and cooking (not to mention clean-up) can make it seem possible only on a carefree Sunday. If you want to prepare more homemade meals that are both healthy and delicious – without spending hours in the kitchen – we’re here to help.
At LoveTheWild, our mission from Day 1 has been to make cooking sustainably-sourced seafood quick, easy, and accessible for everyone – including people who didn’t grow up making fish.
Our fish dinner kits make a great freezer pantry staple, especially on a busy weeknight when cooking an entire meal seems like a herculean task. They only require 5 minutes of simple prep (almost as easy as popping one of our new bowls into a microwave) and 25 minutes for the oven to work its magic. In less than half an hour, you’ll have a heart-healthy, restaurant-quality meal.
Of course, we don’t expect everyone to eat our fish kits EVERY night. So here are ten tips that can shave off minutes in the kitchen every night of the week, helping you gain some much-deserved “me-time.”
1. Embrace the one-sheet pan, one-skillet, one-pot, or one-parchment paper cooking technique. All of these methods mean less dishes! Cooking all of your ingredients together also spares you from having to monitor multiple pots and pans – there’s only one thing you need to keep your eye on. Try one of these quick sheet pan dinners or use a trusty crockpot. We especially love crockpots with timers that let you set it and forget it (until it’s ready to eat!). And if you’ve ever popped open one of our fish dinner kits, you’ve found a heart-shaped parchment paper that cooks your fish and the sauce we provide, along with any grains or veggies you want to add. Plus, the parchment leaves the pan mess-free!
2. Make your favorite sauce and freeze it. A good sauce makes a meal, and if you ever want to speed up the dinner-making process, opt for a ready-to-go sauce (ideally one that you’ve made). We recommend making a large batch of your favorite sauce – whether it’s a pesto or an Arrabbiata and then freezing it. One pro tip is to use a pencil to freeze your sauce into usable portions so you don’t have to defrost a whole bag.
3. Keep a well-stocked freezer filled with veggies & lean protein. Make frozen fish your new freezer essential – you can skip the thawing so you don’t even need to plan ahead. Plus, frozen seafood is better for the planet. It can be transported by boat, truck, or rail instead of by plane (a requirement for time-sensitive, fresh seafood), which helps reduce carbon emissions. Frozen veggies can also be a lifesaver when you want to crank out a quick and healthy dinner. As for a healthy side, frozen, bite-sized veggies like chopped bell peppers, corn, edamame, and green beans just need a steam or a quick thaw. Plus, these foods, including the fish, are flash-frozen at their peak state, so they retain their nutrients and actually rival fresh items.
4. Don’t bother peeling all your produce – eat the skin for more nutrients! Peeling produce can tack on extra minutes, so skip that step and just be sure to wash them well. By keeping the peel on items like zucchinis and potatoes (along with these 6 nutrient-rich fruits and veggies), you also add more fiber to your meal. In some cases, the peel also enhances the flavor and texture. Take a cucumber, for example. Without their crunchy peel, sliced cucumbers with only the soft flesh just wouldn’t be the same.
5. Opt for healthy, quick-cooking grains like quinoa, bulgur, or couscous. Buy these in bulk and always keep them in your pantry. If you’re gluten-free, go for quinoa. Technically a seed, it tastes like a grain and has a comparable nutritional profile (8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber per cup), but cooks faster than grains. Just make sure to pre-wash it to remove the residue, which can have a bitter taste. Bulgur wheat is a cracked wheat that’s parboiled, which makes the cooking process go faster at home. Boasting a nutty, earth flavor, it’s got 8 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and is rich in minerals and B-vitamins. Another fast-cooking option is couscous, a grain-like pasta that just needs boiling water added to transform into light, fluffy grains.
6. Batch cook on the weekend. By preparing either your entrees or your sides beforehand, you can elevate your weeknight meals and assemble them in a snap. We love these 30-minute meal prep entree recipes, especially those Chicken Spring Roll Jars (which would taste awesome with our Barramundi with Mango Sriracha Chutney). And if you really want to be a meal prep ninja, add these tools and handy containers to your kitchen.
7. Nail your knife skills. Besides looking impressive, knowing how to expertly chop can shave off time. Even more importantly, holding a knife properly will save you from any boo-boos. Master these 6 knife tricks, and you’ll be able to julienne carrots, dice onions, and chiffonade herbs. If you learn best by watching things on repeat, check out pro blade-slinger Henry Molina demonstrate essential knife skills in a series of GIFs.
8. Batch wash your produce & herbs before adding them to the crisper. As soon as you bring home your fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs from the grocery store or farmer’s market, give them a bath. Even if your produce is organic, they can contain stowaway bugs, parasites, bacteria, and other toxins – which we definitely don’t want to ingest! Save yourself from having to individually wash everything and do it all at once by filling up a tub or your sink with water and then adding a splash of distilled white vinegar (aim for a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts filtered water). Alternatively, you can buy this Rebel Green Fruit & Veggie Clean, pour a tablespoon into a bowl of water, and let your produce soak.
9. While dinner’s cooking, make breakfast. While you’re waiting for water to boil or the oven to bake, get a head start on breakfast for the next day. Try making overnight oats like these Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats or Pumpkin Spice Oats, which is as easy as whisking the ingredients into a bowl and spooning the mixture into a jar. If smoothies are your jam, pre-chop your fruit, assemble your frozen produce into a single bag, and pre-measure chia seeds, cacao powder, maca, and any other superfoods to create your own ready-to-go blend.
10. Or even better – while dinner’s cooking, make dessert! If you’ve already batch-cooked a side dish, are baking one of our fish, or employing one of the other tactics on this list, you can use the time saved to make yourself an after-dinner treat. Whip up this decadent, yet healthy 3-Ingredient Double Chocolate Mousse in minutes, or blend fruits like honeydew or berries into a refreshing sorbet!
How do you save time in the kitchen? Do you have your own time-saving hack?
Share it with us on Instagram with #LoveTheWild!