6 Time-Saving Kitchen Tools EVERY Busy Mom Needs!

Let's be honest - what is the ONE thing we all want more of? Its TIME, right?

We want more hours in the day. We want to squeeze out every moment of the weekend and we want to spend our time doing the things we LOVE doing, instead of slaving away in the kitchen - right?

Now, you guys know - I work really hard to feed my family healthy meals and over the years, I've really honed in on what works for us and what doesn't!

Specifically, what kitchen tools we actually use and which tools sit idly doing nothing more than taking up precious cabinet space. 

Last year, I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and it was a GAME CHANGER. In fact - my kitchen was the FIRST area I tackled on what seems to be an endless battle to keep our home "tidy" and organized - like is that even possible with 2 growing boys? Lol!

And while, yes - a few of these do take up some precious cabinet real estate - the fact is, they spend most of their time being used, so they are totally worth it! 

Over the past year, I've fallen in love with streamlining, being prepared, and productive - being organized has always been a struggle for me - but I promise, if I can make these strides, so can you! 

If you're not already plugged into my Busy Mama::Clean Meal Prep group - make sure to CLICK HERE to join! If you like what I'm sharing here, then you will fit right in with our online community - all about eating clean when we want to save time and keep it simple!

Ok now on to the good stuff - I own every single one of these items and use them obsessively, errr regularly....

1. Instant Pot

We'll start with my favorite addition to my kitchen - the Instant Pot!

Like, seriously - if you don't have one of these, you're nuts! Its pretty much become my main squeeze on food prep Sunday - making everything from perfect hard-boiled eggs to spaghetti squash, chili, rotisserie chicken, soups, stews, taco meat - you name it, this baby can make it! And the best part? You can cook meat straight from frozen! If I could nominate one kitchen appliance that has saved us from take-out this past year - it is my beloved Instant Pot!

Don't worry - you are not going to blow up your house - I was a little concerned about safety, but this thing is dummy proof and I've had mine a little over a year with no issues at all. 

My favorite thing about the InstantPot? No more "slow cook" flavor undertone - you know that slightly weird taste meat tends to take on if its been in the slow cooker too long? Not an issue here - your food is basically flash cooked, so the flavors are bright, bold, and fresh! 

No need to plan 8-10 hours ahead - most nights I pop dinner in the InstantPot around somewhere around 3-5ish in the afternoon - it pressure cooks and then switches to the "keep warm" setting and we come home from soccer or hockey to a fully cooked meal! Life.Changing.

P.S. there are a ton of accessories and extras - but honestly, I don't have anything except this Instant Pot with the wire rack that's included and we've been just fine for the past year. I probably should order an extra sealing ring at some point, though - that seems to be the only piece that wears out. 

2. Defrost Tray

Ok - let's move on to my next must have and this baby was a total surprise - I mean, I know science is behind the magic here, but it is slightly magical! 

Takes your frozen meat and thaws it in about 30 minutes - say whaaaat?! yep - one of my coaches told me about this little beauty last year and I immediately went out and bought one. She's actually a beef cattle rancher, so she knows her shiz when it comes to thawing meat, lol! Be forewarned, the magic won't thaw a huge roast or turkey, but its perfect for chicken breasts, steak, pork chops, etc. 

One of the women in my free meal prep group recommends tilting it so it drains right into your sink - genius!

3. Slow Cooker

This list wouldn't be complete without the gold-standard of "set it and forget it" cooking - and as much as I love my Instant Pot, my slow cooker will always have a place in my heart  kitchen. While it lacks the laundry list of features of an Instant Pot, it is hands-down one of the easiest and hardest working appliances I own and lets be honest - the Instant Pot can only cook one thing at a time, so when I'm prepping for the week - I need this workhorse to help me out. Whether its chili, baking sweet potatoes, or chicken - my slow cooker never let's me down! I prefer the oval shape for versatility and love the travel capabilites with the locking lid (just make sure not too cook with the lid sealed!).

4. Rice Cooker

Ok - so this next one was a huge surprise for me - I remember registering for our wedding (eons ago, lol!) and thinking - why the heck would someone want a rice cooker? It seemed dumb - I mean, you can cook rice on the stove easily enough or microwave it. Why a rice cooker?

Well - a few years ago a friend was cleaning out her kitchen and asked me if I wanted hers. It was this exact model, like new condition and I decided why not try it out.

Well, simply put - I use it all.the.time.

And while yes, it makes prepping quinoa + brown rice for the week a breeze - one of our families favorite uses for it is making, wait for it.....

Yup - who knew?! But it is a regular part of our morning routine and now I cannot imagine life without my rice cooker.

5. Silicone Muffin Tray

Ok - now on to another item that has been a huge surprise for me and I debated on sharing these, because while they don't help you save time on the front end, I truly feel saving clean-up time is just as helpful! I make egg cups and muffins pretty frequently - but I despise the stuck on leftover you get after popping them out of the regular muffin tins! One of my coaches had been raving about her silicone muffin pan for ages, so I finally broke down and bought them. 

I spray mine down with Trader Joe's coconut oil spray, no burnt on eggs or batter - you literally just pop your muffins out, give it a quick wash and you're good to go! No more soaking and scrubbing!

6. Ninja Blender
Ok, here's the thing - I was a die-hard Vitamix fan. Yes, its a beast - it will probably last me 100 years, but earlier this year, I won my Ninja in a raffle and fell in love!

This is the set-up I have and its been awesome - its a huge time-saver when blending up our daily shakes and my kids even use the single-use blender cup on their own! Its super easy to clean (helllloooo - anything you can put in the dishwasher is a winner in my book and you cannot put the Vitamix in your dishwasher!).

So if you've got New Year's Resolutions on the brain and want to start making healthy smoothies/shakes a part of your daily routine - start with the Ninja for sure - Worth every penny!

Here's the thing - it does take more than buying the right tools - you've gotta get the best recipes and kitchen tips to make the most of them - so get thee to my Busy Mama::Clean Meal Prep group and get started on turning your kitchen into a meal prep machine!!!

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