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I Don’t Have a Microwave—And I Don’t Want One. Here’s Why

I Don’t Have a Microwave—And I Don’t Want One. Here’s Why


Living without a microwave has actually improved my leftover game (and the quality of my food).

Reheated leftovers aren't that thrilling, but they’re a necessary part of life. Reheated leftovers without the help of a microwave may sound like the bane of your first-world existence, but for me, it’s been the best thing to happen to my leftovers (which I prefer to call “nextovers”). Plus, I never have to worry about my lunch turning into an abstract art exhibit of explosive splatters from electromagnetic waves.

Sure there are plenty of times I fall victim to laziness and find myself eating cold Pad Thai straight out of the Tupperware container in front of my fridge, but for the most part, I make a concerted effort to enjoy my leftovers in a civilized fashion (i.e. heated through).

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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When I tell people I don't have a microwave, they usually ask me a number of questions like: How do you reheat such noodle dishes without a microwave? How about soup? Wings? PIZZA? Don’t worry, I have answers for you. Most of which will turn your nextovers into meals you’re actually excited about eating (again).

I use my stovetop.

This is my preferred method for most reheating because it’s quick and provides uniform, gentle heating. If you’re reheating any kind of grain-based dish, like stir fry or pasta, heat a small glug of neutral cooking oil in a nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Once warm, add your leftovers, give them a good toss, cover the pan, and let them reheat for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Covering the pan creates steam that helps lock in moisture.

If you’re reheating soup or broth-based dishes like curry, apply the same method to a small saucepan. Resist the urge to crank the heat up too high, or you'll run the risk of overcooking your already-cooked food. Or, even worse, you’ll end up with some bites that are scorching hot and others that are barely warmed through.

I rely on my toaster oven.

This may be the best kitchen appliance when you’re cooking (or reheating) for one. The toaster oven has the same basic functionality as an actual oven, but in a condensed, countertop-friendly size. Use it to re-crisp fried or breaded foods, refresh crusty bread, or to reheat grilled meats, sandwiches, or pizza.

To avoid the food drying out, aim for a low-temperature (no more than 350°F), and check on your food periodically until it's heated through.

For bigger dishes, I crank up the conventional oven.

Sometimes you just need to call in the heavy artillery. When it comes to casseroles, roasts, lasagnas, or cheesy baked pasta dishes, most other kitchen appliances (including the microwave) fall short in terms of uniform heating. Set your oven to 350°F, cover your food with foil to prevent the top from drying out, and let it sit inside the oven while it preheats.

Gently increasing the temperature of the food helps maintain its original texture and integrity. Start the timer at 20 minutes and check it periodically. Depending on how thick or dense the food is, you may need a solid 30 minutes.

Although I’m not on an anti-microwave crusade here, I will say that microwave freedom has greatly enhanced the quality and excitement level of my nextovers. It’s also nice to have more counter space without an unsightly, always-dirty zap box shoved in the corner. Ditching the ‘wave may also help you make better food choices (Hot Pockets and TV dinners bare little appeal without a microwave). Just don’t ask me about popcorn.


1 Minute Microwave Brownie In A Mug

Brownies are the ultimate treat. They’re packed with chocolate, have the perfect chew, and they’re easy to make. What’s not to love?

Well, sometimes you don’t want to make an entire batch of them — because while they’re good, you might have plenty of reasons as to why you wouldn’t want to make an entire pan and eat them all. So, enter one of my most popular mug dessert recipes yet — my Microwave Mug Brownie! This indulgent Chocolate Brownie in a Mug is a single-serving of heaven just for you and possibly the best, fudgiest brownie ever (other than my Best-Ever Brownies). And it only takes 1 minute to make in the microwave — and a smaller amount of ingredients you would normally need to make a full batch.

Now you have exactly zero excuses not to make a brownie for dessert tonight!


Why grill marks are overrated (most of the time)

When it comes to meats, and many other foods, the goal is golden to brown color on as much surface as possible . Dark brown crusts on grilled meat are the most flavorful part because dark brown is the result of changes in the chemistry of the meat. Called the Maillard reaction, browning occurs when heat changes the structure of amino acids, proteins, and sugars, creating hundreds of new really tasty compounds. We call that searing, and the result is a crust that too many of us is the highlight of the meal. When it comes to most foods, brown is beautiful. Black is not. Tan is not.

Those beautiful grill marks are merely superficial branding, just coloring on the surface — like the freckles on Lindsay Lohan, cute, but lacking substance — unlike the deep rich sear that delivers max taste and texture in the ribeye at the top of the page.

The steak with the mouthwatering cross hatches has perhaps 1/3 of the surface fully browned, but the diamond shapes between the grill marks remain tan, boring, well done meat, whose potential is unrealized, like Superman without a phone booth, like Gehrig without a bat, like Chopin without black keys.

Worse, if you’re not careful, grill grates can scar your meat with black stripes of chalky carbon that tastes like burnt toast.

That’s one of the reasons that many great steakhouses use broilers where the flames are above the meat. That way they can get brown all over. That’s why grill marks don’t make me salivate. I want brown all over.

Not all heat is the same. As I describe in my article on the thermodynamics of barbecue, cooking on a grill involves radiation, convection, and conduction. Conduction is when the metal grates are in direct contact with the food. It is the fastest way to transmit heat to meat. Radiation is the heat carried by infrared light emanating from coals or gas burners directly below the food. It is second fastest method. Convection is the warm swirling air if the meat is not directly exposed to flame. It is the slowest method. Conduction cooks faster than radiation or convection.

Metal grill grates transmit heat much better than air because they have so much more mass. Air is really a better insulator than conductor. That’s why styrofoam is filled with air. That’s why you can put your hand into a 300°F oven for several seconds, but touch 300°F grill grates and you’re blistered in an instant.


How to steam broccoli without a steamer:

Stovetop Method

What you&rsquoll need: A pot or skillet with a lid and a colander

Step 1: Wash the broccoli, then prep it by trimming the florets from the stalk and cutting the florets into bite-size pieces. (You can also peel the stalk, trim away the tough end and slice it into bite-size pieces if you&rsquod like.)

Step 2: Fill the pot or skillet with about 1 inch of water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. When the water is boiling, place the broccoli florets in the pot and place the lid on the pot. Cook the broccoli until crisp-tender to your preference, about 5 minutes. (The exact time will depend on the size of the florets, so use the texture to determine doneness rather than the time.)

Step 3: Using a colander, drain the water from the broccoli. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Why this method works: With just a shallow layer of water in the pot, the broccoli won&rsquot be fully submerged and therefore won&rsquot get boiled. (Boiling is not our preferred method for cooking broccoli, unless you&rsquore OK with a mushier texture.) Using just a small amount of water also means that it will quickly convert to steam when introduced to heat by placing the lid on the pot, you can trap the steam to quickly cook the broccoli.

Microwave Method

What you&rsquoll need: A microwave, a microwave-safe bowl, a microwave-safe plate large enough to cover the bowl and a colander

Step 1: Wash the broccoli. Prepare the broccoli by trimming the florets from the stalk and cutting the florets into bite-size pieces. (You can also peel the stalk, trim away the tough end and slice it into bite-size pieces if you&rsquod like.)

Step 2: Place the broccoli in the bowl and add about 1 inch of water. Place the plate on top of the bowl to cover it.

Step 3: Place the bowl in the microwave and microwave the broccoli for about 3 minutes, or until the broccoli is crisp-tender. Drain the water from the broccoli using the colander, then season with salt and pepper before serving.

Why this method works: Similar to the stovetop method, the microwave generates heat that turns the water to steam. The plate traps the steam inside the bowl (it&rsquos more eco-friendly than plastic wrap), cooking the broccoli. Again, it&rsquos important to check the doneness of the broccoli rather than relying solely on the cooking time, because different microwaves vary in strength.

Colander Method

What you&rsquoll need: A large pot with a lid and a colander that fits inside it

Step 1: Wash the broccoli. Prepare the broccoli by trimming the florets from the stalk and cutting the florets into bite-size pieces. (You can also peel the stalk, trim away the tough end and slice it into bite-size pieces if you&rsquod like.)

Step 2: Place the colander inside the pot and add about 1 inch of water, or enough to fill the bottom of the pot without reaching the colander.

Step 3: Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. When the water is boiling, add the broccoli in the colander and cover the pot with the lid. Cook until the broccoli is crisp-tender, then remove from the heat and carefully remove the colander from the pot using pot holders or a dry towel. Season the broccoli with salt and pepper before serving.

Why it works: A colander can act just like a steamer basket, as long as you have a pot large enough to fit it inside (and that has a lid). This method gets bonus points because you don&rsquot even have to drain the broccoli when it&rsquos done.


Sorry, But If You Don't Have These 50 Products, Your Kitchen Is Probably Incomplete

Have you walked away from a boiling pot, only to return a minute later and find the water has boiled over onto your stove? Or walked by your trash can and gotten a whiff of a not-so-pleasant stench? Well, you probably didn’t even know you could make these problems disappears.

Below, you can find a silicone spill stopper and boil-over guard, an odor-neutralizing trash can, and 48 other items to fill your kitchen and make cooking (and cleaning) easier than ever.

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Prices and availability subject to change.

Keep your favorite scrubbing tools handy — without letting them sit in their own filth. This caddy has a handy drip tray (with a built-in spout!) you can empty out every so often.

Promising review: "I love all OXO products and am also happy with this purchase. I place my dish sponges in this and there is enough room for a brush as well. I like also the vent insert which keeps the sponges separate. The compartment at the bottom is a great idea in the design to allow for emptying water rather than letting it pool at the bottom. It is a separate compartment which is of clear plastic and allows you to visibly see if it needs emptying. Great product. Very satisfied." — Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $13.99 (also available in stainless steel for $19.99).

The company that makes these claims they'll save the average household up to $600 per year. They can keep produce fresher for two to three times longer. Each packet inside the Bluapple lasts three months, and you can order replacement packets as needed.

Promising review: "This product works so much better than I thought it would! Worth every penny. The little ethylene gas (produce lets off this gas and it speeds up its demise) absorbing packet goes into the apple and you just toss it in your product drawer. Easy peasy! This pack comes with two apples and enough packets to last a full year. I have had strawberries last over a week in the drawer (no fuzzy mold or squishy spots). This has resulted in less waste and I am sure that they have more than paid for themselves in food savings in just a couple of months. So glad I gave these a try." — Lisa C.

Get a pack of two from Amazon for $19.99.

From the makers of the cult-fave TubShroom, this will blend right in with your sink and keep all the pesky food remnants from clogging your drain. That hollow black part in the middle? That's so the sink will still drain, even if you have a big pot blocking it.

Promising review: "As someone on a septic system, we can't have a garbage disposal. Consequently, we've always lived by sink strainers. And I've tried and dealt with many different ones. But this is, far and away, the best I've even utilized. The holes are sized such that the tiny, meaningless stuff, goes through. And the design is such that even when full of gunk it still drains, and very well at that. Meanwhile, it doesn't accidentally let gunk through that might clog your drain. In the end, it's difficult to describe how great this is. Just drop the cash and check it out for yourself. You'll be glad you did." — R. Snare

Get it from Amazon for $11.99.

Formulated to use on stainless steel AND porcelain sinks (plus cast iron, corian, acrylic and more. ), this cleaner and polish will restore your sink to that just-like-new shine and protect against further damage.

Promising review: "This amazing product saved us $1,000. This product is amazing! We have a kitchen sink that was so stained and scratched that we were shopping around for a new one. My wife stumbled on this product and we decided to give it a try. I used my drill with a soft buffing attachment, and after about 30 minutes, the sink was like brand new!! Highly recommend this product." — Joseph Rodriguez

Get it from Amazon for $3.97.

You can toss these in the washing machine and reuse them over *120 times*. They're super-absorbent and durable, but are soft enough to use on your skin, too. You can even use them on your Swiffer! One roll of these will tackle a number of messes equivalent to 60 ROLLS of conventional paper towels.

Promising review: "I've had these bamboo towels for a month now and am incredibly impressed with their performance! They're much larger than a regular paper towel, thicker, softer and more absorbent. I've washed the first ones I've torn off the roll several times now and they DO survive the laundry and perform just as well afterward. I've only used five bamboo towels this month, washed them and re-used. Several times. I would have been through a whole roll of Brawny by now. One caveat. when you wash them, you're supposed to air dry them, so I haven't sent any through the dryer. And I haven't needed to, because allowing them to air dry has not affected the quality of the towels when I 're-roll' them!" — A. Clark

Get a roll from Amazon for $8.99.

Hang this right from the bottom of your cabinets to free up precious drawer space and keep your dough hook, paddle and whisk attachments ready. Choose from either Command strips or wood screws to attach to your cabinetry (shout out to renters who want their security deposits back).

BTW, 3D Home Solution is based in Texas and makes all kinds of home organization solutions that'll make you think "Huh, why didn't I think of that?"

Get it from 3D Home Solution on Etsy for $12 (available in three colors).

Remove streaks, marks and fingerprints from all of your appliances with one wipe of the included microfiber cloths.

Promising review: "If you have a Subzero fridge, you know the struggle is real when it comes to keeping it clean. It's a different type of stainless steel and shows all product residue. Then I found this stuff. Oh wow! A few seconds of polishing and it looks amazing!! it has never looked this good, this shiny, and this clean! Best product ever!" — Katerina

Get the cleanser and polish from Amazon for $14.95.

Remove limescale, ruse, grease and other nasty buildups from your dishwasher so your machine runs more efficiently than ever. It even kills salmonella and E. coli! Just pour into your dishwasher (with no dishes in it, obviously) and run it at the hottest setting. Voila! All clean, with zero scrubbing needed.

Promising review: "This is one of those products you always wish you could have. It outperforms expectations and cleans a calcified dishwasher so that it gleams. Remember that stunning finish on the stainless steel panels and a sparkling detergent dish when you first bought the dishwasher? Well, if you have a high number of dissolved solids in your water, the result of just one treatment is remarkable. We recommend this product without qualification." — D. C. Alexander III

Get a pack of three from Amazon for $17.34.

With lids that snap onto the *bottom* of the containers, you'll never have to go on a 15-minute hunt for the right cover while your leftovers are sitting out. The set includes five 0.5-cup, five 1.25-cup, five 2-cup, two 3-cup, two 5-cup, and two 7-cup containers, plus the lids (of course).

Promising review: "These are rated #1 and I can see why! They are microwave and dishwasher safe. I love how they stack together and that the lids fit a couple of different sizes! Very sturdy and they look great! I hate dealing with container messes so much!! These have helped keep things more organized and makes it easy to find a lid or a container without losing my mind! The containers nest together, and the lids can stack on top of each other too. Locks firmly too! Yet it's easy to take the lids off. Extra bonus for me! I've already washed them, and they came out perfectly! Love these!! I bought the 42 piece set. It had enough variety in container storage and lids! I'm very happy I bought these!! I highly recommend them!" — Geo

Get a 42-piece set from Amazon for $29.88.

You deserve a set-it-and-forget-it dinner after a long day — just set this gadget to cook anywhere from 30 minutes to 18 hours. The digital timer displays how long is left, which is perfect for any impatient kiddos who want to know when dinner will be ready. Aaaaand the crock and lid are both dishwasher-safe!

Promising review: "I've been using a slow cooker for years but needed a new one quickly so I could drop off a dish for an event. Grabbed this one and never looked back. Actually got one of these for my mom as a gift, too. It's easy to set, cooks evenly and is easy to clean and to transport. I have a much more expensive slow cooker and I can't tell a bit of difference in the final product roasts, soups, any variation of chicken. Now the real question is how long will one of these last when compared to the pricey brands. I guess we'll find out eventually but, for now, I think this is an amazing deal." — Karri

Get it from Amazon for $49.99.

An everyday basic you can use for cooking and baking, as well as for dipping and finishing. The better your ingredients, the better your results.

Promising review: "This olive oil is wonderful. I have used it every day since it arrived on tomatoes and mozzarella, Roasted Broccoli rabe. salads and more. I will be buying more." — 1624

Get the two-pack from Oleamea for $20.99 or from Amazon for $20.99 (bottles can also be bought individually on both sites).

This will get job after job after job done — steaks! skillet cookies! at-home pizzas! Keep this seasoned (and don't let it rust!), and you won't have to ever replace it. It's preseasoned, has excellent heat retention, and has a helper handle for easy carrying. Just remember that it gets (and stays) hot-hot-HOT when it comes out of the oven.

Promising review: "I own just about every make of cast iron out there and this is the BEST piece I have ever used. Pretty well seasoned from the factory, nice smooth cooking surface. I love the longer curved handle and oversized pour spouts (they actually pour the liquid not spill it out of the pan). This has quickly become my favorite piece of cast iron and will be buying more." — Will

Get a 12-inch skillet from Amazon for $29.74 (available in five sizes and four variety packs).

This pan is designed to do the work of eight pieces of regular old cookware. It comes with a lockable lid, steamer basket, pouring spout, and a nesting spatula with a built-in rest.

Our Place is a POC-owned business based in Los Angeles. All of its boxes are packaged with biodegradable and recyclable materials, and the Always Pan is made in a female-owned factory in China.

Promising review: "My always pan is going to be my new favorite cooking ware. Super versatile and absolutely beautiful. Love the functionality that it possesses and the versatility range, someone really thought about all the best way to cook with this! Safe, easy to clean, and beautiful to look at! Makes you want to cook more delicious meals all day long! Shipping took a while because I preordered, but I was happy to wait!" — Celyn V.

Get it from Our Place for $145 (available in seven colors)

Keep your most-used seasonings at arm's reach. Who *doesn't* need additional storage space in what is truly the best room in your home?

Promising review: "This is amazing and I have no idea I didn’t buy one of these years ago. My new stove wouldn’t get close enough to the wall to allow me to rest anything on top without it falling behind. This was absolutely PERFECT. I am very happy that the magnets provided were able to be moved. This allowed me to place them perfectly for maximum hold because my top was slightly curved." —JStill

Get it from Amazon for $39.99 (available in four colors).

This is guaranteed to keep your cheddar sharp, your Parmesan poppin', and your Brie better. The paper breathes just the right amount, maintaining the perfect humidity and mimicking the environment that cheese is aged in.

Promising review: "Before I bought this cheese paper I would do the cheese search in the refrigerator. After buying cheeses, opening them, and then rewrapping them in heaven knows what (namely plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and plastic containers), it was always the same result: moldy cheese. This box contains the paper in sheets plus some stickers that you can write on with the name of the cheese and the date it was wrapped or even sell by date. There are also pictures of a sheep, cow, and goat so the source can be identified by circling or checking one of them! What I also like is that the cheeses can be rewrapped after use and amazingly the stickers still stick! The paper can also be cut to size to wrap smaller cheeses. So far I have noted that the cheeses have stayed fresh with not a trace of mold. I highly recommend this product to all cheese lovers!" — Prairie Woman

Get a package of 15 11"x14" sheets of cheese paper from Amazon for $14 (also available in larger packs).

with this tray. It also comes in a version just for knives and one for kitchen utensils and gadgets.

Promising review: "I thought this would be handy, and help with space management in a small apartment. It turned out to be absolutely perfect. It keeps the silverware clean, and stores a lot in a very small space. I love it. I got two, because I inherited my grandmothers silverware, so there are two types of forks and two types of spoons, and I wanted things separate and organized. Two organizers fit side-by-side in a standard apartment drawer. After getting these, I picked up the knife organizer, and it’s just as handy and useful." — Jerimi

Get it from Amazon for $9.99.

You've probably heard a lot about this — for a good reason. Or rather, seven good reasons: It'll slow cook, pressure cook, make rice, sauté, make yogurt and keep food warm. Bye-bye, other appliances!

Promising reviews: "Best thing I’ve ever bought! I use it constantly and it’s wonderfully fast! Producing great meals." — Trubyslippers

"We bought this a few weeks ago since we have been hearing so much about them and let me tell you, these are the best thing to come around since sliced bread. Basically we haven't had anything to eat in two weeks that hasn't been made in the Instant Pot. The pot itself comes with a recipe book and there are so many more online and we are yet to find a recipe that isn't amazing. The build of the Pot is super sturdy as well. highly recommend." — Thomas D

Get a six-quart Instant Pot from Amazon for $89 (also available in three-quart and eight-quart sizes).

Still wondering if this is right for you? Check out on BuzzFeed writer's review of the Instant Pot for an in-depth look.

It has a step-on opening mechanism so you don't have to touch it with your germy, chicken-breasty hands. And the best part? The lid closes slowly so it doesn't make a loud BANG every time. You can get a three-pack of odor filters for $15.71 — each filter lasts about three months.

Promising review: "Easy to use foot pedal. Doesn't hit the wall and can be pushed all the way against the wall. Trash bag when put on can be tucked in between pull out and outer can so you don't see it when its closed. Great size and I love the slow close lid. Seems very well made and looks great. Highly recommend." — Amber

Get it from Amazon for $75.04 (available in 19 sizes and styles).

Turn the messiest part of the kitchen into a clear, easy-to-read assortment of jars and labels. You'll save cabinet space AND never accidentally add cumin where you meant to add coriander. These drawer liners are made of a soft foam to keep your jars in the right position (label up!) so you can quickly grab what you need. And you can trim 'em to fit your drawers!

Promising review: "This is one of my favorite things I've ever purchased from Amazon! I think this will be my go-to gift for all of my friends who love cooking as much as I do! Freeing up cabinet space and having something that can so easily be rinsed off in the sink makes this a for-sure buy!" — momonono

Get a 10-foot roll from Amazon for $15.99.

Available in sets of 20, 40 or 80, depending on how extensive your spice collection is, you'll be able to see everything laid out neatly — and you can just buy in bulk to refill!

Real and Vibrant is an Etsy shop owned and founded by Sapana Chandra, an author, recipe developer and food blogger (her blog is also called Real and Vibrant).

Get them from Real and Vibrant on Etsy for $10+ (available in six sizes and also in other lettering styles found on the store page).

Stick these right on noisy cabinets to keep you from being jarred awake with the BANG that indicates someone else's late-night or early-morning bowl of cereal.

Promising review: "Funny enough, but this is one of my favorite low-cost upgrades to the house. Our previous dampers were a cloth that came with the cabinets and were getting a bit thin. Thought I would try and upgrade to save on the stress of the hickory doors. Wow was I surprised of the difference of a good bumper. These stick on very strong, but don't ruin the wood if removed. They have a beautiful but solid thud that is not loud, but also don't bounce the door or drawer back at you which others might do. There are also so many in the pack that I replaced every bumper in the house, good or bad, and still haven't gone through half the bag. They'll be passed down through the generations!" — Andy Levesque

Get a sheet of 100 from Amazon for $7.

You can install these under your cabinets to make your kitchen look more expensive and also brighten dark pantries! They go on when you get within three meters (almost 10 feet) and turn off 15 seconds after you walk out of range. And they just stick right on — how easy is that?

Promising review: "One of the smartest things that I've purchased in a while. Just peel off the double-sided tape cover and stick the magnet wherever you need light. The light is metal so it clings to the magnet that you just stuck to the wall, ceiling, wherever — it's super easy to change the batteries. Motion-sensing so you don't have to touch them — just be there. Also, they are light-sensitive so that you don't waste battery power if there is enough light anyway. I like to use rechargeable batteries so that I don't have to buy batteries all the time. They are bright enough for a regular closet or under a kitchen cabinet and the lights are LED so they are energy-efficient. I just bought a couple more 3-packs for seasonal gifts. This is a no-brainer — you need this!" — Kindle Customer

Get a pack of three from Amazon for $17.99.

Made of sturdy BPA-free silicone, this strainer will make it so you can drain your pasta one-handed!

Promising review: "I cannot say enough good about this strainer. It fits all my pots from small to huge, even frying pans! I have strainers, colanders, every kind of lid converter. this strainer is the best ever. When the pot is too heavy for me to hold to drain off the water, with this I can still hold on with both hands, and then when it is mostly drained, I set the pot in the sink to continue to drain (fidgety pastas) Washes up like a dream, or toss in the dishwasher. I do not know how I lived without this strainer. Now I can get rid of probably 20 items out of my kitchens!" — SGA

Get it from Amazon for $15.99 (available in five colors).

Place these in your oven to keep it cleaner than ever. No worries if your lasagna drips over or your sweet potatoes ooze a little — you won't have to scrub out the oven, just remove these when the oven cools and you can wash 'em right up in the sink. And you can trim them with a pair of scissors to fit whatever size oven you have.

Promising review: "I have used these liners for years. I hate cleaning my oven and this liner has saved me so much time and effort, not to mention my oven always looks like new. I should comment on the durability of these liners. It recommends that you remove the liner before initiating the self-cleaning feature on the oven. I admit that I have forgotten a couple of times. Although it does the liner no good, it does stand up to the tremendous heat. I would recommend this liner for every busy person who has no time or desire to clean their oven. It's amazing." — Cartec

Get a pack of two from Amazon for $12.95.

Whip up smoothies, hummus, soup and other blended delicacies in a matter of minutes. Plus, clean-up is a breeze. Travel cup, no blender = one less thing to clean. This set includes the blender base, a tall cup, two short cups, a flat blade, an emulsifying blade, two resealable lids and a manual with recipes.

Promising review: "I've owned my Nutribullet for about two months now, and I still can't believe how amazing this product is. It makes getting healthy, nutritious food into your diet so incredibly easy. I can roll out of bed in the morning, grab an avocado, some nonfat plain yogurt, raw honey, flax seeds, and kale, blend up a delicious breakfast, AND clean everything up in less than 10 minutes. This blender is so seriously easy to clean. I love the cups that it comes with, too. It comes with a neat book full of recipes, although I haven't tried any yet. I'm still having too much fun making up my own recipes :) :) anyway, if you're on the fence about buying this product JUST DO IT :)" — Kira Wilhelm

Get it from Amazon for $85.

This set will really dress up your kitchen — and they actually are really great knives! It comes with 13 knives, a pair of kitchen scissors, a peeler and a two-stage knife sharpener.

Promising review: "These knives are great! They stay super sharp, they’re comfortable to hold, and I love how much counter space it leaves as opposed to a big bulky knife block. Fits perfectly in my minimalist kitchen. And it looks great on my counter being one of the few things that I keep on my countertop! It is the perfect amount of knives without being too many knives (I don’t like things in excess)! I have never had a cheese knife before, and this baby is my favorite one in the whole set! LOL! It slices through hard cheeses like butter! Have not tried on soft cheese, but I’m sure it’ll be great because it is super sharp! I can’t say enough about how much I love these knives!!" — Sadie Allen

Get them from Amazon for $49.99 (available in black and stainless steel).

You can bend the boards into a funnel shape to easily add ingredients to whatever you're cooking. And they have a textured back so they won't slip and slide while you're chopping. Plus, they're color-coded and individually labelled so you won't cross-contaminate in the kitchen: red for meat, green for vegetables, blue for fish, and yellow for fruit.

Promising review: "This is the best idea, labeled cutting boards! Now if I could just get my hubby to use them based on their labels that would be great. They are thin and flexible which is perfect for bending to transfer things straight to the pot. I have not noticed I have left any knife marks on the mats yet. I love that they are dishwasher safe and with so many of them I got rid of my gigantic cutting board that didn't fit in the DW. I wish they came in all one color options with the labels, but that's just personal preference." — KT Marie

Get a set of four from Amazon for $11.99 (also available in a pack of seven).

This will save you counter space — and money, if you're used to hitting up your local coffee shop for high-quality espressos and coffees. It comes with a milk frother, so say hello to delicious lattes and cappuccinos, too.

Promising review: "We are impressed! I am on my second cappuccino as I write this review. The coffee is rich, creamy and so flavorful! The machine is very easy to use, convenient, and gives you an aromatic and very delicious cup of coffee in just a couple of minutes. It's a great value too. Each cup of coffee costs less than a dollar, saving you money over the competition! The milk frother is wonderful addition. Works great and adds depth and creaminess to your coffee! I just love this machine!" — Renee Beckman

Get it from Amazon for $139.99+ (available in five colors, plus options bundled with accessories or coffee pods).

You can get your ice-cold caffeine fix immediately upon waking up. Waiting in that Starbucks line before even having your coffee? No, thank you!

Promising review: "I was wasting money every single morning at Starbucks on coffee I didn't even like until the Takeya came into my life. I went from spending $90 to $100 on coffee a month to under $10. This is how I make my coffee: I fill up the tube about three quarters of the way full of coffee grounds (so it's extra concentrated) on Saturday night. On Monday morning I remove the coffee grounds and pour three parts coffee and one part cold water over ice in my to go cup with a splash of coconut milk. Adding the water to it makes it so I can make five cups of coffee — good for one every morning for the entire work week. That way I don't have to worry about running out since it takes about 36 hours to make. It's that easy! Not only does it save me money but it also saves me all the time I spent waiting in the drive through (I live in Seattle lines for coffee get long!) Bottom line is it's totally worth it if you're trying to find ways to cut back on spending." — Katie

Get it from Amazon for $19.99 (also available in a larger two-quart size).

Stick this right on your fridge so you 1) never forget anything at the grocery store, and 2) stop wasting money on impulse purchases you don't *actually* need. Stick to the list!

Promising review: "I put these right on the front of the fridge. I tend to run to the grocery store for one thing I forgot and end up with a whole buggy full. I'm thinking this will surely save me trips to the store and money that I usually waste buying something else. There are extra lines to write in anything that's not listed. Perfect!" — CD

Get it from Amazon for $6.36 (available in four colors, plus specialty lists for vegetarians and those who follow a keto diet).

Made to never get stinky, these sponges are almost 100% resistant to mold and mildew, more durable than regular sponges, and won't scratch your pots and pans! Plus, there's a *guarantee* that each scrubber sponge will stay odor-free for at least three months.

Promising review: "My girlfriend has a keen nose for mildew, which meant we were throwing out kitchen sponges well before they were worn out. I came across these and was very happy with the first ones we tried. Absolutely no odor, even after several weeks worth of usage. The scrubber will break down long before it starts to smell. A definite winner in my book!" — Amazon Customer

Get a pack of three from Amazon for $9.95 (also available in a version to clean your stovetop).

Keep your greens washed and fresh for crisp salads whenever you want. This one has a smart, wobble-free design, and the corners make it easy to pour the excess water out neatly.

Promising review: "I eat a huge amount of greens every day. I like to wash them and then dry them thoroughly before I store them. This spinner really dries the vegetables and then you don't get those nasty wilting bits in the containers of baby greens from the market after a day or two. Well worth the money and looks like it will last a very long time." — JPC10

These containers are made with venting technology to keep produce fresh for up to 80% longer. The vents regulate the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide and keep moisture away so your strawberries taste freshly picked days and days and days later.

Promising review: "I read the reviews and thought I’d give these a try since they here easily half the price of the other ones I looked at that had to have the charcoal filters replaced periodically. These need no filter changes and oh-my-gosh, they work! I went on a 10 day trip to visit my mom and left my husband home with asparagus, strawberries, and spinach in the containers. He ate some of all of them, but there was plenty left when I got back and they were in perfect condition! I couldn’t believe it! These will save us a lot of money not throwing away food because we couldn’t get through it fast enough. (We shop at Costco and get large containers of produce.) These are TOTALLY worth getting and I will be getting a few more sizes. Excellent product. " — Elizabeth Walter

Get them from Amazon for $6.71+ each (available in five sizes and in sets of multiples).

Plus, check out BuzzFeed's full review of these game-changing containers!

Not only will this recork and keep the bottle fresh, but it'll also aerate, filter out cork particles and pour neatly. If you've got any wine on hand, you need this.

Promising review: "Don't know what the 'flavor' category means with respect to these wine bottle stoppers but the stoppers work as advertised. A local vineyard was using them in their sample room so I assumed that since a vineyard was using them, they would work as advertised and they do. You can lay a wine bottle flat and it won't leak. Nice that it filters out cork crumbs." — Lawrol

Get it from Amazon for $9.47.

This cookbook is a guide to creating mouth-watering combinations of ingredients, textures and temperatures for all skill levels.

It has over 1,000 five-star reviews, btw! There are suggested combinations (over 70 things go well with chickpeas, apparently), plus pages dedicated to specific main ingredients (like chicken or lamb) to inspire you to create *your own* recipes. One reviewer said that if they could only keep five books, this would be one of them!

Get it from Amazon for $22.49 or from Bookshop for $36.80 (to support local bookstores).

You'll find these bowls super useful because the bottom is made with nonstick silicone — whether you're creaming together frosting, tossing together the ingredients for a pasta salad, or whisking eggs to make a scramble, you do NOT want your hard work to end up on the floor. Plus, the set comes with lids for marinating and storage!

Promising review: "A VERY outstanding set of bowls. They are built to last a long, long time, very attractive stainless steel, inside measurements and a protective bottom to save your countertops. Very well though out, great sealing lids. I gave 4 stars for weight but that is a good thing. These bowls are heavy duty and the 4 stars rating is deceiving because these are not cheap, thinly made. they are sturdy and robust. " — Richard A Norman

Get a set of five from Amazon for $32.99.

The kit includes cooktop cleaning solution, a scrubbing pad and a scraper so you can absolutely remove every bit of baked- and caked-on food from any smooth range — no matter how long it's been there.

Promising review: "Never give up, like the Little Engine that could. I love my glass top stove, but cleaning it is not as easy as just wiping it down. If you have one, you know how it is when something boils over or spills. This bakes whatever hits the glass and leaves those frustrating scorch marks. No matter how hard I scrubbed, I could never get the film off. I have tried every cleaning product, as well every home remedy suggestion and it never removes the marks. I came across this product on Amazon and after reading the reviews, thought, 'Why not?' Ah, all is good in the world after finding this. I put a quarter-size dot of Cerama Bryte, scrubbed it with a light scratch pad, and rainbows and unicorns came dancing. Ah, so shiny. I think I’ve invested 20+ labor hours trying to clean the stove top, and just gave up. With this product, it took me five minutes. If you have the same issue, get this stuff — it’s incredible. 5 stars+++" — Implied Queens

Get the kit from Amazon for $9.69.

You'll never have to spend a fortune on pre-cut pineapple again. The tool is so easy to use, it's like a tropical vacation in your kitchen. Cut off the top of your pineapple, twist the corer into the fruit (kind of like a wine bottle corkscrew), then pull it out. You now have a cored and spiral-cut pineapple in minutes!

Promising review: "OMG! Why did I take so long to get one of these? I would typically spend two or three minutes slicing up a pineapple and I LOVE pineapple so its pretty common for me. Now, I can do it in 30 seconds, and that was the first time not knowing what I was doing or what to expect. I suspect I'll have this down to 10 seconds on the next go round. Love IT! Oh, BTW, it is sturdy and seems like it should last a while." — riverseine

Get it from Amazon for $11.99 (available in five colors).

Scissors so good they're basically guaranteed to make you say, "Chopping skills? Who needs 'em!" If you like adding flavor (which you probably do) to your culinary creations, you need a pair of these. And there's a cleaning comb built into the storage cover (plus an *extra* cleaning tool) to make removing any herbs that are stuck in the blades a breeze.

Promising review: "I am a firm believer in not having lots of useless gadgets in the kitchen, or unnecessary gadgets that simply replicate normal items. But I love to cook and use lots of herbs, so when I saw these scissors at my son-in-law's, I knew they were going to be a staple in my kitchen too. I just received them and used them tonight, but they seem to be sturdy, sharp, and very effective. I like that my herbs were chopped and not mushed as they often are when chopped with a knife. The little cleaning brush seems to work nicely. I like that they are dishwasher safe, though I think a nice swish through hot soapy water would do the trick usually. They will get a workout in my kitchen, so after I use them a while, I will update my review if I find that this tool is anything but the nice tool I think it is." — Tennessee Mare

Get them from Amazon for $10.99 (available in two colors).

This will quickly become your new kitchen-cleaning BFF. Sinks, stained cookware, stainless steel, faucets and handles? CLEAN AT LAST! It even works on countertops, tubs, toilets and grout.

Promising review: "This stuff is GOOD! I bought this right before purchasing a stainless steel cookware set and whew! I cooked some chicken that looked like I was going to have to scrub hard to get it off. I put a little bit on the bar keepers friend on the stubborn spot, let it sit for a minute or so, washed it with the little scrubby pad it comes with and that stuff came right off! SO glad I got this! (by the way the scrubby pad didn’t scratch!) Doesn’t leave any marks or stains on the pots or pans, I definitely wouldn’t leave it sit for any longer that a minute or two. I included a before and after of my cooked-on mess it got off. I’m very satisfied!" — Amazon Customer

Get the cleanser, plus a non-scratch dishcloth from Amazon for $17.99.

Plus, check out BuzzFeed's first-hand review of Bar Keeper's Friend original *and* the soft cleansing liquid for more deets and photographic evidence.

Since this candle is made of soy wax, it burns slower than paraffin for a long-lasting fresh scent that'll fill your kitchen — but not overpower it — if you *do* end up burning something.

Pretty Honest is a Black-owned business that makes pretty, deliciously scented, biodegradable soy wax candles. And they're just so pretty — check out the newest arrivals!

Promising review: "I love this lemon lavender candle — great for the kitchen. The scent is very refreshing to me — not in any way overpowering." — KWL

Get it from Pretty Honest for $24 (available in two colors).

You won't waste another morsel spilling all over the floor — these will keep your bags upright while pouring in leftovers for storage. Plus, they're great for air-drying bags you've washed out to reuse.

Promising review: "I used three of these to help me make freezer meals for after I have a baby. I can honestly say I don't know how I would have filled the freezer bags without these ingenious baggy holders. I was able to dump veggies, spices, meat, and cans of heavy beans and tomatoes into the bags, and they stood up the entire time without sliding or spilling. One of the bags I stuffed literally to the brim, as full as it could go, and the bag did not fall down. I would definitely recommend these." — Tom S.

Get a pack of two from Amazon for $11.35 (also available in larger packs).

You can crisp up leftovers, make homemade versions of your favorite fried foods (without having to deal with hot oil), and more with this gadget.

Promising review: "I'd been contemplating buying an air fryer for quite some time, but it wasn't until I found myself cooking every night with my family due to COVID-19 that I finally decided it was the right time to get one. Friends of mine were raving about their new Instant Vortex Plus 6-in-1 Air Fryer, so after reading similar feedback on Amazon, I decided it looked like a winner. I figured I would be using this appliance primarily as air air fryer, but as an added bonus, it can also roast, broil, bake, re-heat, and dehydrate food.

I've had this air fryer for about three weeks now, and I can honestly say it's become the hero of my kitchen. It preheats quickly, it's large enough to a good amount of food at once, it's easy to clean, and it makes food taste crispy on the outside and moist on the inside without any oil. I've been using my air fryer to make vegetables just about every night, and it makes them taste so good. If you're cooking for kids, picky eaters, or you just don't get so excited about eating vegetables, the air fryer could be perfect for you. If you like chicken, the air fryer might change your life, and I don't mean that to be dramatic. The air fryer produces restaurant-quality chicken that tastes absurdly decadent, except there's no oil involved in the cooking — just air. We also tried making sesame chicken in the air fryer using boneless skinless chicken thighs. The sesame chicken tasted almost identical to my favorite Chinese takeout, and it had nothing to do with my cooking skills. Thanks to the air fryer, the chicken gets so crispy. I couldn't believe I made this at home!!" — Hannah Loewentheil

Get it from Amazon for $119.99.

You'll want to get your paws on these ASAP for all of your meat carving and pulling needs.

Promising review: "These claws are just what you need for shredding pork, chicken, beef, or any other items. The points are sharp, narrow, and long and work well as a pair. It's much more efficient and quicker than using two forks. I thought I might have been a little extravagant in ordering this but now I realize it is very useful beyond shredding — e. g., holding a watermelon with one hand/claw as you cut with the other hand." — J. Renfrow

Get them from Amazon for $12.95 (available in four colors).

These cups will ensure you can make perfectly poached eggs with no hassle and no need for swirling water or vinegar. And they make it super simple — just spray the cup with oil, crack an egg into it, and place the cup into a lidded pot of boiling water. When the egg is done, grab the holes and lift the cup out of the water. Voilà!

Promising review: "These are just the coolest things ever! I have tried several times in the past to make poached eggs, and I never could get the hang of it. Earlier this year, I stayed in a hotel that had a beautiful tray of poached eggs on their buffet table every morning, and hey, were so good. Now I can make beautiful poached eggs at home with these poacher cups. and it's fun and never makes a mess. The pot doesn't even get dirty because the cups float! Such a great idea, and definitely worth the price!" – Katie W.

Get a set of four from Amazon for $10.95.

Okay, this might sound dumb, but it's the go-to tool of over 16,000 five-star reviewers who call this an avocado game-changer. It'll slice open the fruit, painlessly (no knife needed!) pop out the pit, and create perfectly Instagrammable slices.

Promising review: "Avocado? Yes, Please! This tool is awesome. Easy to cut open the fruit. Pit remover works well, just push onto the pit and give it a twist, and the pit pops right out. The best part is the slicer. Makes beautiful slices for a great presentation. The tool can then be used to scrape any remaining fruit out of the skin. Really happy I bought this!" — NPR Man

Get it from Amazon for $9.99.

This book will help teach you the building blocks of *how* to cook and build up flavors, not just give you recipes to follow. This is how you can start experimenting with recipes and flavors of your own! It's got 100 recipes, variations, helpful illustrations, and tips backed by science to make you a better cook.

Get it from Amazon for $18.40 or from Bookshop for $34.50 (to support local bookstores).

Not only is this a pretty kitchen print, but that'll also serve as a cheat sheet so you can stay on track.

Follygraph is a woman-owned Etsy shop based in Poland and founded in 2014. Their infographics are inspired by the connection between science and art.

Get it from Follygraph on Etsy for $16.38+ (available in eight sizes).


Microwaves are convenient because you can cook convenience food in them. Think about what you've used your microwave for in the past month I bet there are far fewer instances of "to steam vegetables" on your list than "to melt cheese." And now that I had more counter space, I was more inclined to make elaborate and healthy meals — even just for myself.

A handful of times over the two weeks I was alone, I got bored enough to walk into the kitchen and open the fridge. When I remembered that in order to make a snack I'd have to fire up the oven or stove and wait longer, I said "Whoa eff that," and shut the door. Laziness trumps boredom.

Related Post Confessions of a kitchen gadget addict

My name is Ange and I have a serious addiction. It's time I joined a group of like minded addicts because I could use some. Read more


Do you have a small space like a closet or spare room that sometimes become a total catch-all and can have a little bit of a stale smell about it? (remember Monika’s Closet on F.R.I.E.N.D.S.) Well to keep everything smelling fresh naturally… all you have to do is take a Mason Jar… fill it 3/4’s of the way with rice and then add 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oil (I like mint) then take a piece of breathable material like a cheese cloth or tea towel and screw it on with the Mason Jar Lid. Give it a little shake and then place it wherever you would like in the room. So easy!


HOW TO MAKE MICROWAVE PANCAKES

  1. Add butter to a cereal bowl.
  2. Melt on 50% power in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  3. Mix with water then add in pancake mix and mix well.
  4. Do not overmix the batter, it will be a bit lumpy.
  5. Microwave on 50% power for 1 minute (until the top is not wet). Eat immediately, it will deflate and become tougher as it sits.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH PANCAKES

Pancakes ala Mode is a fancy way of saying “pancakes with ice cream.” Well, technically it means “pancakes in the fashion,” but we only know that because we watched Little Miss Sunshine. Pancakes ala Mode is a level of decadence that you definitely need in your life, especially if you’re going through some things and want to have a DIY spa day.

Microwave Peanut Butter and Jelly Oatmeal

Microwave Scrambled Eggs

Microwave Chocolate Chip Cookie

Microwave Cheesecake

VARIATIONS ON PANCAKES

  • Blueberry : Let’s go with a classic. Get yourself some fresh or frozen blueberries and some lemon zest. Make the pancake batter and stir the blueberries before you pop them in the microwave. Just know that using frozen blueberries adds a lot of moisture and can alter the cooking times.
  • Banana : If you’ve never had banana pancakes, then you absolutely need to try some. They are so delicious, and you really don’t have to change much. Reduce the water to 1 tablespoon and stir in 2 tablespoons of mashed banana. Mix in 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and microwave yourself up some delicious banana pancakes.
  • Chocolate Chip: Chocolate chip pancakes are a thing of beauty, and they’re ridiculously simple. Literally, all you have to do is stir 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips into the batter before you cook them, and you end up with deliciously marbled pancakes.
  • Chocolate Chip Confetti : Upgrade your chocolate chip pancakes by stirring in 1 teaspoon of sprinkles along with the chocolate chips. The pancakes turn out looking like a tiny party on a plate.

SAVE SOME FOR LATER

Here’s the bad news. You may want to sit down. Are you ready? You don’t want to save these for later, you want to eat them fresh. Why? Because over time they get a lot denser and adding cold temperatures will turn them into coasters. Enjoy them right out of the microwave, and if you have any leftovers that are in good shape (not half-eaten) give some to your roommate. But the good news is they’re so quick to make it’s easy to have fresh ones.

COST FACTOR

$ : This is the kind of recipe that even starving students can afford. You just need two ingredients and some water, and you are totally good to go. You can also save some money by picking out a bulk package of pancake mix. It costs a little more upfront, but you get a whole lot more pancakes out of the mix.


Why Making Instant Ramen Is So Easy

Most people who’ve had trouble paying their bills for the month have “resorted” to instant ramen at one time or another, because it’s so incredibly inexpensive. Many others who are regularly pressed for time keep packaged ramen in their kitchen cabinets or a desk drawer, since it’s a fast way to grab a filling meal.

Why is making ramen so quick and easy? It’s because instant ramen only contains a few basic elements – and only one of them has to be cooked.

That makes it quite different from the meal you’d get at one of the ramen shops that are quickly popping up across America. Based on the ramen stalls and restaurants that have been popular in Japan for more than a century, these shops serve a variety of much more complicated noodle soups that may including pieces of meat or fish, seaweed, veggies, fish cakes and even egg. The predominant flavorings can range from soy sauce and salt, to miso and curry.

(Fun fact: despite the ubiquity of ramen shops in their country, participants in a recent Japanese poll voted instant ramen as the best invention of the 20th century. Karaoke came in second.)

(Interesting but not fun fact: when ramen shops began spreading rapidly in Japan after the second World War, outdoor food stalls were illegal and most were controlled by the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia.)

In contrast with the ramen sold at noodle restaurants, the packaged Top Ramen you buy at the grocery store or the Public Goods ramen you buy online contain only noodles (usually wheat noodles), and a sauce or flavor packet. Sure, some of the flavors of “real” ramen may be in the packet in condensed form, but there’s no food preparation or extra cooking required.

You just have to cook the noodles and add whatever’s in the packet.


1. How do you use Lupin flour?

  • Lupin flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour to make bread.
  • Lupin flour can be used as a substitute for rice flour to make glutinous rice paste.
  • Lupin flour can be used to make cookies and cakes.
  • Lupin flour can be used to make pasta and noodles.

2. Is Lupin flour Keto friendly?

the flour is a great addition to a recipe for Keto biscuits. If you are on a Keto diet, you should try this flour. If you are not on a Keto diet, you should try this flour. One of the popular uses of Lupin flour is in Keto bread.

3. Is Lupin flour healthy?

Lupin flour is often said to have a low gluten content. But, is it healthy? Some people think so, others argue that Lupin flour is not healthy because of its high content of protein. So, what is the truth? The fact is that the amount of gluten in Lupin flour is low. However, it does have a high protein content, meaning that it is not ideal for those on a diet. Some experts have argued that Lupin flour is not healthy at all, saying that the high content of protein in Lupin flour can lead to other health problems. So, what is the answer? The fact is that Lupin flour can be healthy if eaten in moderation.

4. Is Lupin flour inflammatory?

If you're looking for a gluten-free flour, you might be trying to avoid foods that cause inflammation. Lupin flour is a gluten-free flour you can use in many recipes in place of all-purpose or wheat flours. Flours made from lupin seeds are sometimes referred to as lupin flour, and some people who are sensitive to gluten find that lupin flour does not cause inflammation of the digestive tract.

5. Does Lupin flour cause gas?

If you are considering using lupin flour in a recipe, there are two main issues to consider: how much lupin flour you are using, and how healthy you are. If you are using too much lupin flour, it can be hard for your body to digest, and will likely cause gas.

While there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that lupin flour causes gas, anecdotal evidence suggests that for some people, it definitely does.


Five steps to Successful and Efficient Meal Prepping

Now that you’ve done the groundwork, you’ve got your containers ready, and your favourite tunes lined up, it’s time to put meal prepping into action with this five-step plan:

Step One: Plan Your Time

“Successful people don’t write to-do lists, they schedule their to-dos.”

Whether you meal prep or not, feeding your family always requires:

  1. Deciding what meals you’ll cook
  2. Shopping for the ingredients and
  3. Preparing and cooking food.

If your current strategy is to shop every day, decide what you’ll eat in the grocery store, then prep and cook when you get home, be prepared to save so much time and money you’ll feel like a different person.

Instead, imagine deciding what to eat just once a week, not every day. And shopping just once a week – no more battling traffic and queues every night. Then being more efficient with prepping and cooking.

You’ll save time meal prepping, but that doesn’t mean you want to jam a whole week’s worth of work into one day.

Spend a few minutes one day writing your plan over a cup of tea. Do your shop another day (or get the groceries delivered).

Then schedule an hour to three hours to meal prep on a Sunday (or day of choice).

Create a schedule that suits you and makes it a habit and the whole process will go a lot smoother.

Step Two: Plan Your Meals For the Week

Prepping in advance is impossible without a plan.

So the first step is to plan your meals for the week.

Start with recipes you already know, so the meal-prepping process is easy. You don’t want to be juggling multiple new and difficult recipes on a Sunday evening.

And if you want to cook whole meals and freeze them ahead of time, look for meals that can be frozen.

You can use Evernote or Pinterest to collect recipes, or you can use a meal planning app. With this app, you can collect recipes, create meal plans and shopping lists all on your phone or computer. It’s pretty handy.

And if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to making meal planning super easy, a plan that helps you eat healthy within your budget, check out my eBook Plan Cook Save.

Besides dinners don’t forget:

Snacks. Try baking a batch of muffins, portioning yoghurt, making your own trail mix, boiling some eggs.

Breakfast. Overnight oats and pre-made frozen smoothie bags make for quick and healthy breakfasts.

Lunches. Leftovers make great lunches but also try individually portioned meals (above) or salad in a jar.

Further tips for planning a meal prep session include:

  • Try to pick meals that use similar ingredients. For example: mince for tacos one night and cottage pie another night. That way you can bulk buy and save.
  • Choose meals that can be doubled and frozen.
  • Cook a roast in the slow cooker for shredded meat for sandwiches, wraps, pizza, salads, tacos and other easy meals.

Step Three: Grocery Shop

Once you’ve planned your meals, write a grocery list. Double check your recipes to make sure you don’t forget anything.

(You don’t want to waste time shopping more than once).

Then check you’ve got all you need for breakfasts, lunches and snacks.

Finally, check your staples: toilet paper, washing powder, toothpaste…all the things you need but might not have made it to the list yet.

Then go shopping or have the shopping come to you.

To make meal prepping easier, wash and store vegetables when you unpack your groceries.

Step Four: Write a Prep Plan

Don’t be tempted to skip this step.

Pros follow a work plan because cooking is quicker and easier when you do.

Be more efficient and take five minutes (it doesn’t take long) and plan your meal prep session. Grab a piece of paper, read through your recipes and write down all the steps you’ll need to take to complete your food prep.

You will save time if you prepare one food group at a time.

Do you have three recipes that call for chopped onion?

Do you have two chicken recipes?

Prep all the chicken at once and then switch chopping boards, so you aren’t cross-contaminating food.

Then order the tasks on your list.

Usually, it’s easier to prep everything first and then cook – that’s how chefs do it. However, it’s a good idea to start with the jobs that take the longest.

So, here’s a suggested prep outline, but adjust it to your recipes and schedule:

  1. Pre-wash and soak beans.
  2. Start any food being cooked in the slow cooker.
  3. Get any baking in the oven.
  4. Put on some eggs to boil.
  5. Wash and prep vegetables and salad and portion in containers.
  6. Chop, portion, and prepare meat. Freeze for later.
  7. Pre-cook meat if needed.
  8. Prepare sauces.
  9. Pre-cook grains for the next couple of days.
  10. Cool, wrap and freezer meals.

Step Five: Get Prepping

Now it’s time to put on your playlist, fire up the cooker and show off those knife (or food processor) skills.

Make sure you’ve got your recipes at hand so you can refer to them as you need and then simply follow the prep-plan you wrote down. You will thank yourself you took the five minutes to write it out because prepping will be so much easier and you can focus on your favourite tunes, the latest Dan Brown novel or perfecting your French.

Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point?

It’s a lot to take in. So here’s the recap:

  • Gather your recipes.
  • Create a meal plan.
  • Shop.
  • Create a meal prep plan.
  • Plan to spend just an hour or two on Sunday prepping, not the whole day.
  • Don’t try and do it all! Start small and prep just one or two meals in the beginning. Plan as much or as little as works for you.
  • Use convenience ingredients and cheat meals where you need to, to save time.
  • Prep Sunday night’s meal at the same time.

And the most important thing to remember:

It gets quicker and easier with time and practice.

It’s 2018 and life is busy. You’re trying to do it all. As much as I would like to say to slow down, simplify, do less, I know that’s not always practical.

The alternative is to become an organisational hero and efficiency expert (and cheat a little when you need to). Meal planning and meal prepping is an organisation super strategy for feeding the family while saving time, saving money and still eating healthy, home-cooked meals.

Melissa Goodwin has been writing about frugal living for 10+ year but has been saving her pennies since she first got pocket money. Prior to writing about frugal living, Melissa worked as an accountant. As well as a diploma of accounting, Melissa has an honours degree in humanities including writing and research and she studied to be a teacher and loves sharing the things that she has learned and helping others to achieve their goals. She has been preparing all her life to write about frugal living skills.