How to Make Cooking Easier

How to Make Cooking Easier

Publish Date March 8, 2024 3 Minute Read

How to Make Cooking Easier

Cooking delicious, homecooked meals for the week can be overwhelming, especially when paired with busy work schedules, errands and activities. But with a few helpful hacks and time-saving kitchen tips, you can learn how to make cooking easier.

How to Spend Less Time in the Kitchen

Did you know that the majority of the time spent making dinner isn’t focused on cooking, but on washing, chopping and mixing ingredients? The best way to help make cooking easier is to find ways of mastering the prep process and utilizing shortcuts. Here are a few ideas for saving time on prep work.

Prep Ahead

Prepping ahead is a great way to save time and help reduce stress while cooking. Washing and cutting produce when you bring it home, storing your meat based on serving size, and making dressings and dips ahead are all great ways to help save time later in the week. It’s an easy way to meal prep without making a week’s worth of meals all at once.

You can use this prep time to catch up on other activities. Listen to an audio book or podcast, watch your favorite show or listen to music while you wash and chop. It can make the time go by faster and help to make meal prep more fun.

Pre-cut Veggies

When considering how to make cooking easier, utilizing pre-cut veggies is one of the most convenient ways. Prepping ahead is great, but we don’t always have time for it. Instead of spending time chopping your vegetables for meal prep, you can buy them pre-chopped. Quickly add flavor to any meal with ready-to-go Peeled Garlic or Minced Garlic. Make a Mexican dish with a Fresh Cut Fajita Vegetable Mix or toss a bag of pre-cut Vegetable Medley onto a roasting pan for a quick and hassle-free side. Frozen vegetables also work well for easy meal prep. Frozen at the peak of freshness, you can get all the flavor and nutrients of fresh vegetables with none of the chopping. A Shepherd’s Pie comes together in minutes with a Frozen Veggie Mix and boxed mashed potatoes, or start a Stir-fry in seconds with Kroger® Stir-Fry Starters Frozen Vegetables.

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Marinades can be a little mysterious if you don’t have a lot of practice with them. While they add so much flavor to meats, they can also add time in the kitchen. Instead, you can buy pre-made marinades and take the guesswork out of it. Use a Garlic Herb Marinade to prep for this Garlic Herb Steak recipe or get chicken ready for fajitas with a Mesquite and Lime Juice marinade.

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Seasoning Packets

Seasoning packets are another great kitchen hack. Make ground beef once and add a taco seasoning packet to half of it for tacos. Toss the rest of the ground beef into a slow cooker with a Chili Seasoning packet before work the next day for delicious, hearty chili.

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Kitchen Hacks

So, you’ve prepped your veggies or stocked up on pre-cut blends for easy cooking. Now what? Let’s look at ways to help you make the most of your time in the kitchen to get dinner on the table quickly.


How you have your kitchen organized can make all the difference when learning how to make cooking easier. Here are a few tips for organizing your kitchen and workspace for maximum efficiency.

  • Gather everything you need before you begin cooking.
  • Have spices and seasonings clearly labeled and store them all in the same place.
  • Store the tools you use most, such as colanders, mixing bowls and measuring cups, in easy-to-reach locations.
  • Prep meat in 1 step to avoid cross contamination. If you begin prepping chicken, finish the task before moving on to another, and wash your workspace and hands thoroughly.

Slow Cookers

Slow cookers are a fantastic way to spend less time in the kitchen. If you’ve prepped your ingredients ahead of time, tossing them into a slow cooker before heading out for the day will take almost no time. A Slow Cooker Bolognese or Beef Stroganoff will be ready and waiting to top your favorite pasta when you get home. Slow Cooker Ranch Potatoes or Cheesy Jalapeño Corn are perfect sides for a rotisserie chicken or leftover protein from earlier in the week. Or, create a whole slow cooker meal with this Slow Cooker General Tso’s Chicken recipe or this Slow Cooker Chicken Marsala Meatball.

Frozen Meals

Perhaps the best way to enjoy a quick and easy meal is to have pre-made meals ready to go in the freezer. There are a few ways to pack a full freezer that shouldn’t require a day of cooking.

  • Instead of leaving leftovers in the fridge, package them up and store them in the freezer.
  • Repurpose ingredients that can be frozen. If you’ve prepped and made chicken, pull some to freeze for a fast addition to a slow cooker chicken chili, or chop it and freeze for chicken tacos.
  • Keep a handful of prepared frozen meals in your freezer for when you’re short on time or energy to cook.

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Planning for Painless Prep

Planning a week of meals, making a grocery list, shopping and prepping can seem overwhelming. But now that you have your time-saving tips, let’s take the mystery out of meal planning.

Pantry Staples

Pantry staples like spices, canned goods, pastas and grains can be used as the building blocks for a wide variety of dinners. When planning your weekly menu, shop your pantry first. Do you have everything you’ll need for the recipes you know you want to make? If you’re struggling to come up with recipes, this is a great time to take stock of what ingredients you have and build a meal around them. For more tips on pantry staples, check out Stocking Your Pantry with Chef Mike Florea.

Meal Plans

Once you’ve shopped your pantry, you can start building your meal plan. The easiest way to shop and prep for a week of meals is to consider recipes that share ingredients so you can prep in batches. Pick a couple proteins and focus your menu around them. You can do the same with vegetables, choosing a few that can be used as sides or ingredients in your meals. For more inspiration, visit our blog on weekly meal planning or learn how to make meal planning easy.

Hungry for More?

Want more ways to make cooking easier? Visit our blog for even more inspiration, including recipes and simple cooking tips.