8 Time-Saving Tips for Easy Meal Prep and Cleanup

Life has a knack for keeping us on our toes, doesn’t it? Between work commitments, family activities and the daily hustle and bustle, preparing and cleaning up after meals can sometimes feel like an Olympic event.

But worry not, because we’re here to share some ingenious ways to streamline meal preparation and make cleanup a breeze. Whether you’re a seasoned parent or simply trying to savor more of your time each day, these practical tips will help you enjoy delicious, hassle-free meals without all the kitchen chaos.

1. Embrace Easy Clean-Up Meals

Time-Saving Tip: Start with easy clean-up meals that require minimal pots and pans. One-pot wonders and sheet pan dinners are your new best friends.

Why It Works: When you’re juggling a million things, the last thing you want is a sink piled high with dishes. One-pot meals like chili, skillet meals, or pasta dishes keep cleanup to a minimum. And let’s not forget the magic of sheet pan dinners—simply line a pan, toss your ingredients, roast and voilà—a meal with minimal mess!

2. Plan Ahead Like a Pro

Time-Saving Tip: Spend some time each week planning out your meals. Write down some recipes you want to try and create a shopping list to ensure you have everything you’ll need.

Why It Works: Planning ahead not only saves you time but also reduces food waste. Be sure to stock up on popular proteins like chicken and turkey, and having plenty of frozen fruits and vegetables on hand is a great way to round out any meal. Plus, when you know what’s for dinner, you’re less likely to resort to takeout in a pinch.

3. Make Friends with Freezer Meals

Time-Saving Tip: Prepare freezer-friendly meals in advance. Batch cooking and freezing portions can be a lifesaver on busy days.

Why It Works: Having a stash of both single-serve and family-size freezer meals means you’re always just an oven away from a home-cooked dinner. No need to scramble for ingredients or spend hours chopping and prepping. Simply heat, eat and enjoy!

4. Invest in Quality Cookware

Time-Saving Tip: Invest in good quality, non-stick cookware. It’ll make cooking and cleaning up a breeze.

Why It Works: While quality, non-stick cookware may cost more upfront, it more than makes up for it in the amount of time you’ll get back in your day. Better pots and pans not only ensure your food doesn’t stick but also leave less soaking and scrubbing in the sink.

5. Embrace the Slow Cooker

Time-Saving Tip: Dust off that slow cooker or invest in one if you haven’t already. Trust us—it’s a game-changer for easy meal prep.

Why It Works: Slow cookers are a busy parent’s best friend. Simply toss in your ingredients in the morning, and by dinner time, you have a hot, delicious meal ready to go. Beef Pot Roast, Shredded Chicken and Fire-Braised Pork are our slow cooker go-tos. Plus, you’ll have fewer pots and pans to clean!

6. Double Up and Freeze Leftovers

Time-Saving Tip: When cooking, double the recipe and freeze any leftovers in individual portions. Consider lunch the next day covered.

Why It Works: It’s like having your own personal frozen meal stash. On days when you don’t feel like cooking, or when unexpected guests arrive, these frozen leftovers are an absolute lifesaver. Just turn on the oven or pop open the microwave to reheat, and you’re good to go!

7. Go for Prepped Ingredients

Time-Saving Tip: Buy pre-cut veggies, pre-marinated proteins or pre-packaged salad greens. It’s a simple shortcut to quick and easy meal prep.

Why It Works: Even if your knife skills are worth showing off, buying already prepped ingredients from time to time can significantly cut down on your chopping and prep time. You’ll find you can now whip up a Roasted Vegetable Medley or Brisket Burrito Bowl in minutes, making dinner a breeze.

8. Delegate and Involve the Family

Time-Saving Tip: Get the whole family involved in meal prep and cleanup. You know what they say—more hands make light work!

Why It Works: Who said you need to slave away in the kitchen all by yourself? Not only does involving other family members lighten your load, but it also creates a new opportunity for quality bonding time. Plus, kids are more likely to eat their veggies if they help prepare them.

Chop Your Meal Prep and Cleanup Time in Half with Yelloh!

There you have it, folks—eight ways to simplify meal prep and cleanup in your busy life. Whether you’re a parent racing against the clock or a retiree trying to enjoy the golden years, these tips are your secret weapons for making easy clean-up meals that taste like you were in the kitchen all day.

Since 1952, we’ve made it easy to shop and stock your freezer at your convenience with great-tasting foods your whole family will love. So go ahead and browse our selection of frozen-delivered foods to reclaim your time and your love of cooking.

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