How To Save Time In the Kichen and Eat More Veggies

I totally get it. It takes a lot of time to prepare your family meals full of all natural ingredients, especially lots of fresh vegetables like you want to!

So much chopping, slicing, dicing, right? Who has time for all of that??

You’re busy. You’ve got kids or grandkids… You’ve got work… Doctor's appointments... Or just LIFE to keep you busy and you can’t spend all day in the kitchen.

I’m the same way!

Running a farm business, a household, caring for my child, all while putting three healthy home cooked meals full of fresh vegetables on the table every day IS a challenge.

And because I understand, I know you can do it, too!

I hope that sharing my experience will help you feel like you CAN do it despite your busy life!



My favorite FOUR ways to save time in the kitchen and eat more veggies


Prep Hack Tip #1: PRE-PREP your ingredients as much as possible!

This is my number one tip because this is the backbone of how I get meals on the table with limited time on hand.

So I LOVE having raw fresh ingredients just SITTING waiting in my fridge for me to prepare them during the limited moments I have.

Here are my tips:

  1. Pre-prep your salads:
    Chop, wash, and spin dry your lettuce. Chop your other ingredients, store mixed together or separately in lidded containers in the fridge until time to eat. This makes it SO easy to pull it out from the fridge and voila! a ready made salad in a minute. The veggies prepared this way will keep all week! Some of our CSA Members even take it a step further and put theirs into mason jars or other containers, one for each day ready to take to work. So doable!
  2. Pre-prep your soup ingredients:
    Chop, mince, etc. all of the veggie ingredients for your recipe and put them in fridge containers ready to be pulled out when you’ve got the time to get your soup going.
  3. Pre-prep your stir-fry ingredients:
    Same as above, chop, mince, etc. your stir-fry ingredients to be ready to toss in at meal times. This makes a stir-fry actually very fast and very fresh tasting, eliminating the chopping time when everyone is simply ready to eat!


Prep Hack Tip #2: CHOOSE simple recipes

This is a big one for me. The recipes that you use in the kitchen can keep you there half a day or can be a breeze, so choose carefully if time is your object. Don’t worry a quick recipe is JUST as good as a long complicated one!

Here are my tips:

  1. Create a collection of easy recipes
    Have a small repertoire of easy and flexible recipes that you can put whatever you have on hand into. I find myself vetting recipes for ease and quickness. If it has 10 different spices to add or 10 different steps involved in making it, I skip it or save it to try on a weekend when I have extra time. I find something more simple, and then I make it often!
  2. Simplify/modify recipes as needed
    If something sounds amazing and you still want to try it (I know about that!), give yourself permission to simplify the recipe. Its OKAY if you don’t have all of the ingredients or if you substitute to meet what you have on hand! Really! I promise!
  3. Learn cooking techniques that apply to many vegetables over several seasons
    Here are some of my favorite things that I make regularly with whatever veggies I have on hand (aka no trips to the store!):


Prep Hack Tip #3: MAKE AHEAD AND/OR STOCKPILE foods ready to use

This is another big one for me! So many meals have something that was made ahead, either stored in the fridge or in the freezer to help me during my time crunch at meal times.

Here are my tips:

  1. Make extra and freeze your leftovers for later.
    This works well for me especially with homemade broth, homemade soup, homemade breads like zucchini bread, and some casseroles.
  2. Choose recipes that can be made ahead and reheated rather than cooked on the spot for every meal.
    I do this ALL the time. Frittata, soups, casseroles, even stir-fries can be reheated and are delicious again! Roasted veggies can be re-purposed into a hash. And cooked leftover greens can be simply reheated as is or added to soups or omelets.
  3. Literally just cook something, even without a plan!
    Like beets or potatoes or squash or greens. They can be later added to something else like a soup or frittata or salad or hash to create a quick meal that eliminates the first step of pre-cooking!  If you have a few minutes and veggies in the fridge, you can do this!


Prep Hack Tip #4: HAVE ON HAND your pantry/freezer/fridge staples

This is immensely helpful to me. Having the things I need to quickly pull together a meal is so important. And everyone has different preferences for what is essential to them!

Here’s my list of what I consider pantry/freezer/kitchen staples at my house that help me get vegge-rich meals on the table as fast as possible:

  • Broth (see tutorial here)
  • Pesto (see tutorial here)
  • Fresh herbs, frozen if out of season (see tutorial here)
  • Ginger root
  • Tahini for salad dressings and sauces
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegars
  • Dried spices
  • Canned tomato products
  • Mustard
  • Mayo
  • Coconut milk


BONUS TIP: How to actually carve out the time?

Do you have a few minutes in the kitchen while your kids or grandkids are eating breakfast or having a snack??? Get cracking or rather should I say chopping! Get some lettuce processed for salad or chop some carrots for snacks or a soup or find an easy recipe for later or freeze a container’s worth of that soup you made the other day for later.

I will admit that pretty much EVERY meal that I put on the table has some element of pre-prep or leftovering that has gone into it. I, too, do not have the time to make a meal that is entirely made on the spot for any mealtime! I find the time here and there and it all adds up to a homemade meal!


How do YOU save time in the kitchen?? Please hit reply and share YOUR hacks with me! I’m always learning and love to hear from you!

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Comments (2)

I always cut extra and then I have a FOOD SAVER then I put it in a food saver bag and use the food saver to take the air out and throw it in the freezer so I can use it later! It saves stuff from getting freezer burnt! Thank you for all you do and the emails which I LOVE! Hope you and your family are well! XO Sylvia

I've found that much produce freezes with virtually no prep, and that advice from experts often needlessly complicates freezing procedures. For example: Berries: just thrown them in baggies in the freezer Tomatoes: If you will be using them in any cooked dish you can just wash them and freeze them raw and whole; it's like having billiard balls in the freezer Cherry tomatoes: Also wash and freeze raw. These actually hold their shape pretty well in a stir fry when thawed Little red radishes: For any cooking purposes, just wash, trim, and freeze. Hint to weight watchers: You can throw them whole into stews and they actually taste (and look) like a cross between a turnip and a new potato once they've cooked awhile Onions: I always have raw, diced onions in cup-sized portions in baggies in the freezer. They work great for any purpose other than eating raw Celery: Same as onions Apples: I wash, dice, and freeze to throw into oatmeal. No need to cook; they'll warm through in the oatmeal and they taste great. Liquid stews and soups, once cool, freeze fine in freezer baggies if you don't have enough containers handy. You can freeze liquid raw eggs (not in the shell) if you're going to use them in recipes. I've only done this a couple of times when I was leaving town for long stretches, but it works!