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Last week, Andrea shared some of her favorite Simple Kitchen Quick Tips. Today, I wanted to add to her list with a few of my own!

Prepare Produce at the Beginning of the Week:

We eat a lot of fresh produce, topping our cereal with strawberries, serving dishes of pineapple with dinner, snacking on carrot and cucumber sticks, etc. Because life can get busy and hectic as the week wears on, I prepare as much as I can at the beginning of the week rather than waiting until it's time to eat!

Start with Dry Ingredients:

To cut down on the amount of dishes you dirty when cooking or baking, always start with the dry ingredients. We all know that measuring out vanilla extract and then salt will lead to a goopy mess in the measuring spoon, but you can avoid using double if you start with the dry ingredients.

Mix Wet Ingredients in the Measuring Cup: 

Similarly, for muffins, brownies and other small batches, I prefer to mix my wet ingredients directly in my measuring cup rather than dirtying yet another bowl.

For example, for my favorite chocolate chip muffins, I add 1 cup milk and then pour in the oil until the mixture reaches 1-1/2 cups total. Then, I add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and an egg. I beat the mixture right in the measuring cup with a fork before pouring it into the bowl that holds my dry ingredients.  

Refrigerate Grated Cheese Before Transferring to the Freezer:

Whether you buy bags of grated cheese or grate your own at home, put it in the refrigerator for several hours before transferring it to the freezer to prevent it from all freezing together in one big chunk!

If you do end up with a chunk, lay the bag on the counter and use the smooth side of a meat mallet to break it up. Just make sure you've gotten all of the air out of the bag and sealed it tightly first!

Create Your Own Freezer Smoothies:

These days you can buy bags of mixed fruit specifically for making freezers, but there's no need to pay extra for these when they're so easy to make.

Add 3-4 peeled bananas and several cups of fruit (frozen berries are our favorite) to a plastic freezer bag. Add in a tablespoon of frozen orange juice concentrate for flavor and seal well. When you're ready to make your smoothies, just dump the whole bag in your blender, add plenty of water and blend. YUM!

What else do you do to save time in the kitchen?

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