Getting online recipes in line – finally

Most people who cook today in the technological world we live in, get recipes online.  It is convenient and people post how they liked the dish, whether it is too spicy or bland and how easy it was to make.  People also list additions, subtractions or problems that they had with the recipe which can save you a lot of time and energy when making it for the first time.

I usually print the recipe to put into my recipe holder and at the same time, I copy and paste the recipe into an e-mail that I send to myself.  It is important that you don’t just e-mail the link to the recipe.  A lot of websites that provide recipes give you an option to do this but a lot of them do not allow permanent access to their recipes.  Instead, they are just available for a period of time.  I keep a folder in my e-mail marked recipes and I always put the recipe title on the subject line.  I have found this to be very useful for many reasons. 

If something happens to the printed recipe, you always have a copy to refer to and reprint.   Also, if anyone wants a copy of your recipe, you can just e-mail it or print it for them on the spot.  If you put all your recipes in a folder in your e-mail, you can use the search function on your e-mail to find a recipe quickly. 

I hope that you will incorporate my technique of e-mailing your online recipes to yourself and keeping an e-mail folder for them.  I think you will find it to save a lot of time, energy and unneeded searching when you need to get down to the business of cooking.


Pantry and refrigerator lists

One of the ways that I stay organized is by creating lists of the regular items I keep in my pantry and refrigerator.  The lists are alphabetized to make items easy to find and placed on the fridge door or on a hook in the pantry.  Putting the lists in plastic covers and putting a sticky note on top makes it easy to write down items as you run out.   If you create the lists on the computer, it is easy to update them when you need to add a new item that you are consistently purchasing.  

The time and energy it takes to create the lists pays for itself with less trips to the grocery store mid-week to pick up an ingredient that you forgot for that night’s dinner.  It also saves a lot of time when making out you grocery list and when planning your meals for the week.  Another advantage of keeping a well-stocked pantry, is if you end up having one or two unexpected guests during the week and need to pull something together at the last minute. 

I hope that you will consider taking the time to create pantry and refrigerator lists for yourself and see how easy it will make keeping your home stocked and ready for anything that comes your way.


Double it up Double it up

A great time saving tip that I recommend for busy people is to double up recipes.  Why, you ask?  Well, for one thing it really doesn’t take much extra effort to just make more of something.   You already have the ingredients out, the measuring cups or pans are already dirty and you are already in the kitchen cooking.  The reason it will make your life easier is that when you don’t have the time to cook, pulling a homemade ready made meal out of the freezer is easy.  Instead of stopping to get pizza, you can have a healthy meal that you prepared in advance. 

The other great thing about making extra is having left overs.  You can take them to work so you don’t have to buy lunch or you have them for dinner in a couple of nights.  It saves time and money when you cook in larger quantities.

It is also nice if you are having company over that may be unexpected or last minute.  You can pull out one of your delicious dishes from the freezer and still have time to tidy up before they get there.  They will be amazed and you will be less stressed if you have a back-up plan.  With a busy family comes uncertainty and a back-up plan is always a good thing to have.

One of my favorite recipes to double up on is cookies.  I never make one batch of cookies.  I always double it and freeze most of the dough.  I separate it into smaller containers and whenever my family wants fresh cookies, I just pull the dough out of the freezer and in 20 minutes we have freshly baked homemade cookies.  It does not take long when you pull the dough out of the freezer for it to soften enough to drop it onto a cookie sheet.  Make sure that you lable and date anything you put in your freezer so you can rotate and use the oldest first.

I hope that the next time you go to make chili or chocolate chip cookies that you will double the recipe and then pack some away in your freezer for the next rainy day or cooking craving!


Dust off your slow cooker and save time

When you are looking for ways to make your life easier, sometimes you need to look towards the tools in your home that you already have that you are under utilized.  I love my slow cooker.  I use it on a regular basis to cook delicious and hearty meals.  With a little planning, it can help make meal time easier after a long day at work.  

You can make one dish that you can stretch to make two or three dinners in a week saving you time and energy.  For example, you could roast a chicken in the slow cooker and enjoy that on the first night.  The next night, you could take the left over chicken, shred it and add some taco seasoning to have chicken tacos.  If you have more chicken left over, you could stretch it a third night and add it to salad with egg, bacon, avocado, tomatoes and some cheese for Cobb salads. 

The other nice thing to do with your slow cooker is to make a large batch of your favorite dish of chili, stew or soup and have it for dinner one night and freeze the rest to have in the future.  That way when you are at a loss for what to have for dinner, you can just pull out a serving of your homemade slow cooker masterpiece and just add a salad or some rolls for a complete meal.

Another great use for the slow cooker is for parties.  I often cook pulled pork in my slow cooker when having people over for a party.  I serve it with buns and coleslaw and people love it.  It cuts down on the amount I have to prepare before the party as I just put it all in the slow cooker and forget it.

A great website for slow cooker recipes is The Taste of Home Slow Cooker Recipes:  I like these recipes because they have reviews and include nutritional information for each recipe.

I hope that you will take a moment to plan a meal to cook in your slow cooker.  You will be glad you did when you come home from work and smell the delicious dinner that is hot and ready to eat.