Spending most of my adult life working as a chef, often the last thing I want to do when I get home is cook. I’m quite a lazy cook in my kitchen at home but I also think it saves me quite a lot of money!
Cooking all day at work means that quite often when I get home in the evening the last thing I want to do is cook and over the years I’ve found a quite a few lazy cook hacks that save me money as well as time. And no, I don’t mean phoning the local takeaway and getting them to do it for me! I mean genuine things that save money or time or a combination of the two that anyone can try at home.
1. Lazy Potatoes
I absolutely hate peeling potatoes at home – probably stemming from the fact that I used peel around 25kg each week at work and honestly found it pretty boring so I can never be bothered to do it at home unless I absolutely have too. I leave the skin on for wedges, chips, roasties and of course jackets and hassel backs are usually skin on anyway.
This is great for two reasons: Less of the potato is wasted (saving money in the long term) and eating the skin is adding valuable fiber and nutrients to our diet. Win win!
If we do fancy mash I usually leave it to my husband as he makes the most awesome roast garlic and rosemary mash and won’t let me near the kitchen he’s cooking (apparently I can be a tad critical!)
2. Slow Cooker Love
I love my slow cooker and it is the ultimate lazy cook tool in saving both time and money in the kitchen. Its low wattage saves money as it costs much less to run than a conventional oven and one pot meals mean no other cooking (such as the using gas on the hob) is required. You can even buy a divider that allows you to cook two things is once in separate compartments. The slow cooker is also great for great for cooking cheaper cuts of meats that benefit from long slow cooking.
You can also check out some of my slow cooker recipes:
3. Tray Bake Cheat
Similar to the slow cooker, tray bake recipes are also a great money saving cheat that take little effort to prepare. If you think of the traditional Sunday roast the whole thing can take hours to prepare and cook. The oven is on for the meat and Yorkshires, hob for the gravy and various vegetables. Personally I’d rather do a pot roast – veggies on the bottom, meat on the top all cooking together with the only the oven being used. Saves on the washing up too!
4. Cheat Ingredients
Cooking is something I have always enjoyed, however when I was doing it full time, day in, day out for my day job I did used to get a bit fed up with it. So, I started making some cheat recipes. Baking is not usually my thing – don’t get me wrong, I love cake but it’s all the measuring and weighing that I find tedious. I’m definitely more of a chuck it all in and hope for the best kind of a girl!
I started with this 62p peach cake recipe – using budget ingredients and no weighing or measuring required. Packet mixes like the one I used here can often save a fortune compared to buying all the ingredients separately. While the quality does maybe suffer a little – it was worth it for the convenience and price point.
This wasn’t the best cake I have ever tasted I’ll admit – but winter stodge for four adults on a budget? It’s perfect.
5. Double Bubble batch cooking
Another way I’m a lazy cook? I make double and freeze for later when you’ll just need to defrost and reheat rather than make a whole meal from scratch. It also means the oven or cooker is only on once and then maybe a short time for reheating later on.
There are even ways to do this and make too totally different meals from the same base.
Make a double batch of bolognese in the slow cooker. Eat half and then turn the other half into Chili Con Carne – simply by adding peppers, chilli powder and kidney beans. It could either be eaten the next day as whole new meal or frozen for a later date.
We also do this with mashed potato – it freezes and thaws well and is much quicker than making it from scratch every time. Love curry? Try this curry sauce recipe that can be made in huge batches and then finished with different meats and veggies as needed.
What are your top tips for saving time and money in the kitchen and being a lazy cook?