1. Plan meals at least a week in advance to incorporate the use of leftovers. For example, have baked chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy for dinner Sunday, and then use the leftover gravy as the base of beef stroganoff Monday.
2. If you know you're not going to have time to cook one evening, prepare two dinners the night before and just reheat one the next night.
3. When preparing a meal using grated cheese, chopped onions, etc., prepare more than the recipe calls for and refrigerate the rest for another meal.
4. Clean your kitchen workspace as you go. When you're done there will be little left to clean.
5. On grocery shopping day, have your children help individually wrap their cookies, snacks, etc., for their lunches. Makes lunch preparation for the rest of the week a breeze and snacks don't disappear before lunches are made.
6. Don't hide your cookbooks away. Organize them where you can get to them easily, and you will use them a lot more.
7. Keep a notepad on the front of the refrigerator for your shopping list. When you run out of something write it on the list right away. Encourage family members to do the same.
8. Prepare favorite beverages like lemonade, tea, or Kool Aid in gallon-sized pitchers, and you won't have to make them as often.
Originally published at Suite 101.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of What's
for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner
ideas. For recipes, tips to organize your home, home decorating, crafts,
holiday hints, and more, visit