‘5 tricks that cut my kitchen time in half’

As a food writer and stylist, I cook for a living, so after a long day of recipe development, the last thing I feel like doing is making yet another meal. I sometimes fall back on takeaways, but they’re expensive and can be disappointing. So, having come up with many a cookery hack for my work in the past, I decided to try out a few in my own life to reclaim time for myself and the family.

1. Order your staples online

I’m a serial food shopper, and buy groceries on a near-daily basis. I’ve meal-planned in the past, but life can thwart that detailed timetable in a heartbeat, so this time I’m aiming for a happy medium. Instead of making multiple supermarket trips a week, I do one online shop for staples such as lentils and pasta, five days’ worth of mix-and-match proteins and veg, plus some garlic, fresh herbs and tinned goods like coconut milk, chickpeas and chopped tomatoes. Then I can be flexible as the week progresses and pop some things in the freezer if they aren’t going to get used.

charlie bigham’s fish pie, still life on table

For the nights when I’m too tired to cook, I buy a Charlie Bigham’s Fish Pie and Tikka Masala. They’re the closest thing I’ve found to a ‘from-scratch’ dinner without me having to put the effort in.

2. Invest in time-saving gadgets

Handy and reliable kitchen tech genuinely saves me hours and effort. I use my food processor to whizz up raw veggies for a speedy soup, my pressure cooker can poach a whole chicken to perfectly tender in 30min, and my stick blender blitzes batters, mayo and marinades in seconds.

3. Plan ahead to save your future self hassle

Mornings are often fraught: getting ready for work and school, assembling breakfast… there aren’t enough hours to get it all done.

Instead of the usual dawn dash, I try something different. While my Bigham’s fish pies cook for later, I make some brekkies for the next few days, opting for dishes that are speedy to throw together and can sit in the fridge overnight.

organised fridge, birchir, time saving

I stir up a coconut, chia and oat bircher muesli, to serve with almond butter and berries come morning: I mix 4 tablespoons of chia seeds with a handful of oats in a large jar, adding a 400ml tin of coconut milk and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. I give it a quick stir, screw on the lid and pop it in the fridge to thicken and set.

To add to the breakfast spread, I pre-boil some eggs and cook up a raspberry compote to go with the bircher or some Greek yogurt.

Tidying up after I’ve cooked? Not fun, especially with kids in the mix. Rather than dirty loads of pans, I get creative with some one-pot recipes. I make a big sausage and tomato stew that’s done in one casserole dish and gives me enough leftovers to freeze for another meal. The next day, I dust off a favourite

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7 chef-approved gadgets to cut down on time in the kitchen

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While outdoor dining has gotten us out of our homes and minimized time spent in the kitchen, the colder months will likely bring us back to making meals and yummy treats at home once more.

Whether you’re whipping up dinner or trying out new TikTok recipes, two things are sacred in the kitchen: time and space. Working from home might have given you less time on your hands, and with the whole family home, your countertop space might be more sparse than ever.

Chef Elena Besser joined the 3rd Hour of TODAY this morning to share some kitchen gadgets that can help maximize space in one of the busiest rooms in the house and take some of the prep time out of home cooking.

From an electric wine opener to a food processor that can help reduce clean-up time, Besser shared a few favorites that can come in handy in any kitchen.

1. Lipper International Turntable Organizer

Lipper International Turntable Organizer

Lipper International Turntable Organizer (Amazon / Amazon)
Lipper International Turntable Organizer (Amazon / Amazon)
  • Lipper International Turntable Organizer $23.35 at Amazon

  • Lipper International Turntable Organizer $20.54 at Walmart

  • Lipper International Turntable Organizer $23.99 at QVC

Need extra room on your kitchen counters or even in your refrigerator? This tiered turntable organizer can keep sauces, jams and any other bottled or jarred goods within reach and prevent them from magically disappearing on bottom shelves or in the back of the refrigerator. You can choose from the acacia or bamboo styles to find the finish that best suits your kitchen.

2. Yamakazi Home Expandable Countertop Organizer

Yamakazi Home Expandable Countertop Organizer

  • Yamakazi Home Expandable Countertop Organizer $65.00 at Bloomingdale’s

  • Yamakazi Home Expandable Countertop Organizer $49.99 at Wayfair

  • Yamakazi Home Expandable Countertop Organizer $65.00 at West Elm

While some prefer bare kitchen countertops, sometimes keeping a few essentials on your kitchen counter can be unavoidable. Besser says a self-standing countertop shelf can help keep everything “looking pretty” without feeling like a cluttered mess. This expandable rack is made from steel with a smooth, white finish that can make any kitchen feel clean and modern.

3. West Elm Aaron Probyn Kaloh Spoon Rest

West Elm Aaron Probyn Kaloh Spoon Rest

West Elm Aaron Probyn Kaloh Spoon Rest
West Elm Aaron Probyn Kaloh Spoon Rest

West Elm Aaron Probyn Kaloh Spoon Rest $7.60 at West Elm

If you don’t own one already, Besser says a spoon rest can be a “game-changer” for any kitchen. Whether you’re stirring pasta sauce with a wooden spoon or using a silicone spatula to achieve the perfect scramble eggs, this stoneware spoon rest can help keep your counters free of drips and spills. You can even snag this West Elm exclusive on sale right now for less than $8.

4. Cuisinart Mini Food Processor


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