Time Management

Time Management In The Kitchen

February is National Time Management Month! The kitchen is one place where it can be really tricky to manage our time. Cooking a meal and having it ready all at the same time takes preparation and practice!

Most of us have grandmothers who were magically able to turn out a delicious Sunday dinner, and knew how to have it ready at the same time. Have you ever wondered how they did that? I don’t cook as well as my Nana does, but I do have some secrets of Sunday dinner to share with you. Even if you don’t cook a big Sunday dinner, these tips will help you with entertaining or any meal you put on the table.

Kitchen Time Management

The secret is all in the planning! If you’re new to cooking a meal with multiple components, think about each item you’re making and how long it will take to get it ready. Work backward from the time you want to have it on the table and start with the part that will take the most time.

Here’s a typical Sunday meal and how I plan ahead to have it all ready at the same time.

Menu:

Two Days Before:

  • Take chicken out of freezer to thaw (if your chicken isn’t frozen, you can skip this step!)

The Day Before:

  • Decide what bowls you need for serving
  • Prep chicken for roasting and store in the fridge
  • Peel and chop potatoes. Place them in a colander inside a stock pot and fill with water. Cover. (This keeps the potatoes from turning brown)

The Day Of (except for cooking the chicken, these can all be done about 30 minutes before you want to eat):

  • Place chicken in oven and roast according to recipe
  • When chicken is done, take out of roasting pan to rest
  • Boil potatoes
  • Start the gravy
  • Carve the chicken and cover with foil to keep warm (I always ask Paul to do this step!)
  • Start green beans
  • Put biscuits in the oven
  • Mash potatoes
  • Finish gravy
  • Take biscuits out of oven and put them in a bread basket
  • Put the rest of the food in serving platters
  • Call the hungry people to the table!

That looks like a lot of work, but it’s possible! Listing every task also helps you to think reasonably about the time you need to get it all done. It does take practice, but I believe that thinking things through ahead of time reduces stress and makes your attempts much more successful! After a couple years of practice, I can have this chicken dinner on the table in 30 minutes. Here’s to a Grandmother-grade Sunday dinner! 🙂

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9 thoughts on “Time Management In The Kitchen

  1. We had a four course dinner last night and it was so yummy. Crockpot roast beef and gravy along with Rice, Broccoli Slaw and Rolls. I bought some chocolates for Marvin for Valentine’s Day so he can have something sweet while I am off the sweet things for Lent. You are right, it really does not take a lot of time to make a nice meal.

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  2. Good tips! I like the idea of picking out your serving pieces ahead of time and prepping as much as possible so you’re not crazy the last hour before the meal. I don’t fix many meals for large groups, but it’s something I hope to get better at as I get older. I’ll definitely be keeping your specific list and timeline in mind.

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  3. Hi Whitney,
    I enjoy your blog and have used a few of your tips. I recently bought a great menu planner and am excited to use it. I’d like to try this chicken dinner. For the potatoes, do you put the stock pot in the fridge overnight after you peel the potatoes, or do you leave it out on the counter? I’ve never peeled potatoes the night before, and this seems like a great option. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Sheena! It’s great to meet you! 🙂 If I have room, I put the potatoes in the fridge – but they are fine on the counter. I made this meal for our Sunday lunch over the weekend, and I left the potatoes out on the counter. Just make sure they are totally covered in water so they don’t turn brown. Your meal will be delicious!

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      1. It’s great to meet you, too! Your blog and words of wisdom have inspired good things for me and my family. Thank you for responding. I can’t wait to try this dinner. Have a wonderful day!

        Liked by 1 person

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