If you’re like me, life is busy. In the past, it often seemed like I was cooking in a hurry. I’d end up cooking my ‘fall back’ dishes, which meant we’d eat the same few dishes regularly. This wasn’t great for many reasons: limited variety means less nutritional diversity. And everyone got a bit bored with the same food (even me!).
When I streamlined my approach to the kitchen, it helped a lot. Here are some tips for busy parents: practical ideas that I have found really useful.
1. Plan ahead. Make vegetable soups on the weekend and freeze them; they are very quick to heat up for a meal. There are lots of great simple soup recipes in my new book (Getting to Yum); most take less than 10 minutes to make a large amount.
2. Cook once, eat twice. If you are making a time-consuming dish, make two batches, and refrigerate or freeze one for eating another day.
3. Use a slow-cooker (or “crock pot”): it will slowly cook a stew during the day – and you’ll have a delicious meal waiting at dinner-time.
4. Don’t cook every meal. Once a week, eat an “at-home picnic” with simple foods that don’t require much cooking. When we do this, we eat chopped vegetables with dips, simple salads, nice breads, cold meats, and sliced fruit. You can prepare many of these in advance and quickly serve them when you get home.
5. Delegate by asking your children to help with cooking! Most children over the age of 7 can chop and stir. They also love to eat the food that they have cooked themselves, so this is a great way to get them eating healthy food while saving you time. Younger children can do other tasks like put away cutlery, set the table, or fold napkins. They’ll have a great sense of accomplishment.
What are some of the strategies you use to save time in the kitchen?
3 thoughts on “Five Time-Saving Cooking Tips for Busy Parents”
Delegation is definitely a bit one for me! My two girls, 11 and 8, love to help in the kitchen. The other night I made Tartiflette, and the girls made a beautiful green salad and fruit salad (for dessert) to accompany it. My boys like to cook too, mostly they bake. I’ve always welcomed kids in the kitchen
Slow Cooker meals are my favorite! Love this cookbook on Kindle – Kid Approved Slow Cooker Meals. Most are less than 6 ingredients, throw them in and have a dinner your picky eaters will love. Mine do! http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_12?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=kid%20approved%20slow%20cooker%20meals&sprefix=kid+approved%2Caps%2C246
I find that evening meal preparation goes much more smoothly when I am able to do the majority of the food prep in the morning after breakfast (when my boys are much more easily preoccupied on their own), rather than in the evening when fussiness and whining tend to set in. I do as much chopping, mixing, etc. in the morning as possible and things go much more smoothly. For example, the other day I mixed all of the dry ingredients for the biscuits we were having for supper in the morning–then all I had to do before dinner was add the milk, mix, and form the biscuits, which the boys were more than happy to help with!