These 3 easy kitchen hacks will help you put a nourishing and delicious meal on the table in no time at all. Then you can chill out and spend more time enjoying the company of your loved ones over the holidays. You deserve it!
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For sure, the holidays look a lot different for most of us this year. Holiday parties, school concerts, family gatherings, shopping, and vacations may not be happening quite the same way – yet somehow we all seem to be VERY busy.
And, as much as I like preparing nourishing meals for my family, I’m pretty sure we all could use some time off in the kitchen this year. So, give yourself the gift of taking some shortcuts and holiday kitchen hacks to take some of the pressure off. This chill with your family, relax and be merry!
Holiday Kitchen Hacks: 3 Time-Saving Tips
ONE | Go Semi-Homemade
Clearly I’m pro-cooking, but taking shortcuts (no shame in that!) can turn a potential take-out night into a total kitchen win. For example:
- Grab a rotisserie chicken and incorporate it into soups, chilis, or salads (like this yummy Rainbow Rotisserie Chicken Salad pictured above) so you can reap the benefits of high-quality protein without spending extra time cooking it. You can also shred the chicken and stuff lettuce or collard leaves with a squeeze of lime for a light lunch.
- Start with your favorite frozen or pre-baked pizza dough (Did you know Banza has a new gluten free chickpea flour pizza crust? It’s very yummy!), then add your favorite jarred sauce and vegetable toppings plus a sprinkle of flavorful cheese to make it a meal!
- Another favorite kitchen hack, is to buy pre-chopped produce, especially those hard-to-manage veggies (ahem, butternut squash) that are more time-intensive to prepare. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and roast for a side dish or added to salads during the week. Pre-roasted sweet potatoes are also supper delish in my Bitchin’ Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potato Power Bowl. Just sayin’!
TWO | Cook Once, Eat Twice
Batch cooking is an efficient way to keep up with your healthy eating goals no matter what time of year. It essentially means cooking more than what you need in the moment so you can take advantage of having all of your cooking tools and gadgets out (read: it’s way more efficient!). Not to be confused with leftovers, batch cooking usually refers to one component so you can repurpose it later. For instance:
- Need rice, quinoa, or sorghum for your Monday night meal? Make a large batch so you can easily incorporate it in salads and grain bowls all week long. (It’s also yummy in my Mediterranean Grain Bowl!)
- Making hard-boiled eggs? It takes the same amount of time to make six as it does to make two. Enjoy as a snack, crumble into salads, or mash some on top of this yummy avocado toast.
- Baking sweet potatoes? Make a few more than you need and you’ll have the base for an easy, customizable lunch ready to go. (This easy weeknight chili would be really good on top!)You can also purée or mash the flesh for baked goods and use in place of pumpkin in a recipe.
THREE | Embrace the #1 (As in 1 Pan & 1 Pot Meals!)
Raise your hand if your least favorite part of cooking is the clean up. I feel you! (Actually Mr Spicy does because he’s the main clean up crew. Ha, ha!) Make it easier on yourself by searching for one-dish meals to seriously cut down on time spent doing the dishes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Create baking pockets by lining foil with parchment then crimping for perfectly roasted fish that stays juicy, never dry.
- Roasting your favorite protein with seasonal produce is a tasty no-fuss way to incorporate a few servings of vegetables into a meal.
- Still haven’t learned how to use your Instant Pot? Now would be a good time! You can get frozen proteins to the table fast with this safe and simple pressure cooker, like this simple 3-ingredient “recipe”…
Frozen protein [like chicken thighs] + favorite jarred tomato sauce + a jar of olives = yummy cacciatore that will have everyone running to the table for dinner. If you use plant-based protein, like dried chickpeas, just soak the dried beans overnight and be sure they are covered with fluid [jarred sauce + some broth] before cooking in Instant Pot.
Craving more one pot and one pan meals? Sign up for my newsletter and get a free cookbook featuring 20 QUICK & EASY one pot and one pan meals.
HOLIDAY KITCHEN HACKS BONUS! | Treat Yourself to Meal Kits & Healthy Ready to Eat Meals
It’s no secret that I fully embrace any kitchen hack that helps me stay healthy & eat tasty food when life gets crazy. And, at the very least, I think we can ALL agree that this year has been capital C CRAZY!
I’ve already shared my favorite meal kits and ready to eat meals on the Spicy RD blog, here (gluten free options) and here (low FODMAP options). But, since we’re short on time, and I want you to get back to cookie baking, eggnog sipping, Christmas Story (my favorite!) watching, or whatever you’re in the holiday mood for, I’ll share them again here:
- Sun Basket Meals. I’ve been using Sun Basket Meals off and on for the past year, especially when I know I’m going to have a busy week and don’t have time to meal plan or get to the grocery store. There are lots of healthy and delicious meal kit AND ready-to-eat meal options that my whole family loves! Sign up & get $35 off your first delivery + 4 free gifts!
- Daily Harvest I love these organic, whole foods based superfood smoothies, harvest bowls, soups, oat and chia bowls, and lattes shipped to your front door! I keep a variety of Daily Harvest favorites in my freezer for those busy days when my family and I want something healthy and nourishing to eat when we’re on the go. Mr. Spicy loves them too 🙂 Bonus, it’s easy to skip shipments when you need to. Click here to see all the delicious smoothies & meals!
- ModifyHealth.com. Following a low FODMAP diet? Enjoy fresh, fully-prepared Monash Low-FODMAP Certified™ and gluten-free meals delivered straight to your front door! Get started and use my code SPICY4FREE and get 4 meals for free!
So there you have it! My favorite holiday kitchen hacks from my family yours! Did I miss anything? Leave a comment and let me know what your go-to kitchen hacks are so you can chill out over the holidays!
Hi There! I’m EA, a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) in sunny San Diego. I create easy, DELICIOUS gluten free recipes & low FODMAP recipes for a wide variety of diets. Learn more about my nutrition philosophy and my nutrition coaching for digestive health, autoimmune disease, wellness nutrition, & vibrant aging. Sign up for my newsletter, or get in touch~I’d love to connect with you!