The last thing you want to do at the end of a long day is spend an hour + in the kitchen preparing dinner. You stocked your refrigerator with healthy food for the week [yay!]; broccoli wrapped in cellophane, bag of carrots, and two pounds of Brussels sprouts are staring you in the face and all you want to do is sit down and eat.  A little bit of planning and your fridge-to-fork time can be significantly reduced.  This week we will focus on kitchen tools for improving efficiency in the kitchen and getting meals to the table quicker:


  • Mesh produce bags [LP team pick!]
    Let’s revisit that broccoli wrapped in cellophane. When you get home from the grocery store, clean and chop broccoli into florets and store in mesh produce bags. It will keep the broccoli fresh for up to 5 days until you’re are ready to use it. The florets can now be steamed, roasted, sautéed, stir-fried, etc. in minutes. These produce bags are great for any type of hardy produce [think cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, Brussels sprouts.] Make our Broccoli Currant Salad in minutes and enjoy for days. [Be sure to order plenty and you can use them while shopping:  Reusable Produce Bags ]
  • Salad Spinner
    Triple-washed packages of greens are a great head start, but if you would rather start with whole leafy produce, a salad spinner is a must. Purchase a head or bunch of greens like cabbage, kale, escarole, radicchio, or bok choy. Chop, wash, and spin dry. Store in your new mesh produce bags! A salad can now be made in minutes, a fistful of greens can be added to your smoothie, and sautéed greens are a cinch. Our Green with Envy Smoothie is a great example of using pre-washed produced. [This one cleans up nicely:  OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner]
  • Julienne Peeler
    We love our Paderno spiralizer, but here is another alternative that can save time and money. A julienne peeler is the size of a vegetable peeler and fits in your kitchen drawer.  It is perfect for making zoodles [zucchini noodles] quickly without breaking out and cleaning up equipment.  Making zoodles is actually faster than boiling a pot of water and making spaghetti.  Enjoy our Lemon Garlic Zoodles with Roasted Tomatoes. [Pick up this inexpensive, useful tool:  OXO Good Grips Julienne Peeler]
  • Slow Cooker
    Assemble, set it and forget it! While the premise of slow-cookers remains the same [cooking low and slow], the new generation is really impressive.  You can now brown, sauté, and roast if you want to.  Slow cookers are great for busy schedules and we include one every week on our meal plans. Forget about coming home to a vessel filled with grey, over-cooked, watery, and tasteless food.  Our recipes are created with flavor and texture in mind.  You can’t beat our Slow Cooker Herb Chicken for simplicity – make once, enjoy for dinner, and use leftovers for lunch all week. [Here’s our top pick for slow cooker:  Cuisinart 6-Quart Multi-Cooker: Slow Cooker ]

Written by Julie Harrington, RD, CPC
Reviewed and edited by Jeanne Petrucci, MS, RD