When you start to make your dinner, do you follow all of the instructions one by one or do you prep your ingredients first?
Prepping your ingredients first ensures that you have everything necessary to make your meal. That may seem like a silly thing to say but there are plenty of people out there who have started making dinner only to realize they are out of a key ingredient and don't have a viable substitution on hand.
Additionally, prepping before cooking saves you from miscalculating how long it will take to complete each step. You won't find yourself frantically chopping veggies while the first ingredients in the pot are starting to burn.
Measuring the spices for your recipe can also take longer than you would think. Having them measured ahead of time means you can just dump them in at the appropriate moment without worrying whether you need a tablespoon or a teaspoon and where those darn spoons went anyway.
If there is a recipe you make often, like I do with my chili, you can premeasure your spices and keep them on hand so you can cut that step out each time. If you're someone who has to juggle a busy schedule or just doesn't enjoy spending a lot of time in the kitchen, every step you can shorten adds up to time you can use elsewhere.
Lastly, when you have all of your ingredients prepped before you start cooking, you can also take a minute to consider where you might be able to make a few changes.
I like to try to sneak in extra veggies wherever I can. This might mean carrots ground up and added to Chili or larger veggies like broccoli added to Chicken Marsala.
You can see in the photo here, I have more vegetables than meat in the crockpot ready to become chili. Meat shouldn't be the majority of your dish. Try increasing the number of veggies in your meals. With planning and prepping ingredients in advance, you can get in the nutrients you need without losing the flavors you're after.