Looking for a way to make dinner time less stressful in your household? The idea of a home cooked meal has been romanticized for several decades. From 50’s era sitcoms where the women were typically depicted cooking the family meals to today’s pressing need for nutritious meals, dinner time has always been hectic for us moms. If you’re like most women who have to work a nine to five, the idea of facing a stove after a long day work makes most of us instantly reach for the phone to order takeout.
Time pressures, the need to save money, and the burden of making tasty meals that the family will enjoy are challenges that we face when it comes to cooking dinner. Check out these simple tips that can help make dinner time easier.
Keep the Kitchen Well-Stocked
There’s nothing more inconvenient than having to run to the grocery store when’s time to cook dinner. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that the pantry and freezer are stocked with staples like fruits, vegetables, pasta, and rice. Having such essentials will make it much easier to throw together well-balanced meals without having to spend a lot of time prepping. In addition to keeping your pantry and freezer well stocked the same goes for the cabinets. You can maximize flavor by filling the cabinet with a variety of spices that the family will enjoy like taco seasoning or Italian seasoning for pasta nights.
Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
Five o’clock on a weekday night is to be trying to figure out what you’ll be cooking for dinner. the worst time to begin figuring out what you’re going to be cooking for dinner. In fact, prior to the start of the week, you should sit down and plan each meal for each day of the week. Planning out each meal of the weekday can help cut down on midweek grocery trips and you’ll also be able to prepare to cook meals the night before which makes the process much easier.
Start Collecting Recipes
If you’re having trouble keeping things interesting in the kitchen. Having a collection of recipes in your stash makes grocery shopping simpler because you’ll know what ingredients you need to buy. Find new dishes that you know your family will love. You can also use foods from your favorite restaurants as inspiration.
The Right Kitchen Essentials
Of course, having the right kitchen tools is imperative. When it comes to whipping up home cooked meals, having quality equipment makes doing the job that much better. Here are just a few kitchen essentials that every mom should have in her kitchen:
Chef’s Knife- This is the most important tool in the kitchen. With a good knife, you’ll be able to slice and dice with ease. A good knife is nothing when it’s not paired with a quality glass cutting board. Glass cutting boards protect the surface of your counter and it’s easier to clean.
Slow Cooker – As a mom, the handy dandy slow cooker is one of the best tools you can own. It allows you to slow cook your meals overnight cutting down on preparation time for the next night. A wide variety of foods can be cooked in a slow cooker including soups, stews, casseroles, and one pot meals.
Embrace Kitchen Tech
Whether it’s a new pressure cooker or a vacuum sealer any device that allows you to cut down on cooking time and helps keep your food fresh is well worth the investment. Yes, kitchen technology can make a mom’s job that much easier.
Cook Once and Eat For Days
Consider spending some time cooking food in big batches so that the family can eat off the meal throughout the week. Food items like rice, quinoa, beans, and farro can stay fresh for at least three days. You can cook up different sides and combine them with a variety of meats throughout the week. Also, meal prepping for dinner throughout the week can be a big lifesaver. For instance, you can plan different recipes using most of the same ingredients.
In general, leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days. After that the risk of food poisoning increases. Therefore, if you don’t think you’ll be able to eat the rest of the leftovers in time it’s best to freeze them.
Say Yes to All In One Meal
All in one meals like chili and beef stew are tasty and the family can eat off meals like this for days. These types of meals are easy to make and you’ll use fewer pots and plans which means you don’t have to spend an hour cleaning up after dinner time. One off meals also freezes and reheat well.
Purchase Freezer Goods
Frozen vegetables, stir fried and prepackaged meals that require very little cook time are great to have in your freezer. Frozen goods offer a lot of versatility and can help get a complete meal underway.
Feeding a family requires that you get creative. Leftover meatballs can easily turn into a spaghetti meal or kebabs with roasted vegetables. You can even consider having breakfast for dinner one night out the week. Breakfast food like eggs and waffles can be whipped up in no time and it’s also filling.
Get The Family Involved
Who says that all the cooking should be left up to mom? If you are a working mom like me cooking every weeknight can be a major challenge. However, getting the kids involved in meal prep can save a lot of time. In addition, assigning your husband or the teens a night to cook dinner for the family can help take all the pressure off of you.
Yes, by making a few changes to your routine you don’t have to worry about slaving over a hot stove every night. In addition, thoroughly preparing for meals and smart grocery shopping means you don’t have to keep reaching for that takeout menu every night.