I wanted to blog about some tips that you can use as moms to save more time and effort on the things that may be overwhelming when trying to keep up with preparing your family meals.
I love cooking for my family! I enjoy doing it because it's a passion of mine. I was the girl who did home economics in high school. I loved to prepare different kinds of food each week, while in school. It grew on me as a mom and so I like to explore different foods and dishes from all over the world.
I also have a hectic family schedule that sometimes requires me to get dinner on the table in less than an hour for my family. So as much as I love preparing meals, I don't always have the time to do so.
Therefore, I have found some time-saving tips and household appliances that I just love to pull out and use, especially when I'm crunched for time.
Are you currently struggling to put dinner on the table nightly? Or do you have any tips that you could share with us? Please feel free to add to my list, or ask your questions or concerns in our FORUM section. I would be happy to help you!
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1. PREPARE MEALS IN BULK
Weekdays can be busy for our family, and sometimes after getting the kids to after-school activities, I don't get home in time to have dinner done. What I do is bulk prepare meals on my cooking days.
I don't cook every single day as some families do. I may seriously be running late on the activity days and my hungry spouse is almost on his way home.
So what do I do? I grab the already prepared meals that I either have frozen, or I grab what was prepared the day before.
I always try to have an emergency stash of food that can be easily warmed right away for my hungry spouse or kids.
So for me, that would look like grilling all the chicken, fish, or any meats on the weekends by my "master griller" husband. Then I use those meals to even make more quick meals such as a chicken salad, stir fry chicken vegetables, or pasta dishes.
Our favorite grill of ALL time is the Kamado joe! It's the best grill ever. Trust me on this! I have prepared our signature jerk chicken, along with fish, ribs, corn, mac and cheese and burgers on it for many family and friends for over 4 years and they still can't understand why our food tastes so different. It's the grill! I season the meat, hubby puts it on the grill and we have food for the week.
It's available on Amazon.com
Another thing I like to do is to purchase from Costco or Sams club, easy prep meals for the last-minute time crunch. My favorite purchases are:
Stir fry vegetables
Breaded chicken strips or nuggets
Sweet potato fries
I can use them to make just about anything quick such as chicken strip stir fry, spaghetti and meatballs, or chicken pot pie.
2. FREEZE MEALS FOR EMERGENCY
This is a lifesaver tip for me as a mom. I have had days where I am out of something that I need to cook right away, or I forgot to take the meat out of the refrigerator. Yes, it happens ALL the time. But thank goodness, I have my backup frozen meals waiting for me to pop out at any time that I need to get food on the table.
Any time you cook in bulk, save some for the "rainy" days or the day when you need something quick to put on the dining table.
3. QUICK WAY TO THAW FOOD
Have you ever forgotten to remove the frozen food you planned to cook for dinner and ran out of time? Well, I have a million times already! What has helped me to be able to still get it in the pot on time is to thaw it in cold water (not hot water), and place it outdoors on my patio in the sun or in the garage. It actually works! I kid you not. I don't need to put it under hot running water or defrost it in the microwave.
Also depending on how late I am to get dinner done, I will use my Instant pot and change my meal plan to maybe a soup or stew dish, where I can just dump the frozen meat right into the pot and add the remaining ingredients and make dinner.
Those two ideas work great for me and I am not calling for takeout any time soon, especially when we're on a tight financial budget.
4. QUICK RECIPES
I love quick recipes that I can do in half-hour max or less. I have my stash of easy-to-do recipes that I can pull out at any time when I'm crunched for time.
My favorite quick recipe that I love especially for the kids is the use of naan ready-made pieces of bread to make really nice personal-size pizzas, especially on Friday nights.
I also like getting wraps that I can quickly use to make shrimp or chicken wraps with leftover rotisserie chicken or can chicken. Another favorite of mine is foil-wrapped fish. It's so easy to season filet fish (I use tilapia) and dump them into the foil along with vegetables (corn, carrots, squash, okra, asparagus) or starch (sweet or regular potatoes) of your choice and into the oven in record time.
I am always looking for recipes that can be done quickly and no one will ever know how long I spent in the kitchen preparing their meals.
Here is an idea for baked foil-wrapped fish from This Bago Girl.
FAVORITE GADGETS TO USE IN THE KITCHEN
1. NINJA FOODI XL
Can I tell you that this convection oven is heavenly! I had a smaller version of this oven, but when I got the XL version, I was thrilled! Not only has it saved me so much time cooking in the kitchen and getting out meals for the family, but it's just so easy to use and clean up afterward.
I loved the oven before when it was just me and my husband. I did what I had to do and had the time to prepare meals. When these kids of mine came along, all hands had to be on deck and a lot quicker too.
So this oven helps me a lot to get meals out quickly and more effectively. I can prepare an entire meal in one go with this oven and not have to babysit it. It can do multiple things at a time as well with this oven.
I cooked a pack of chicken thighs with roasted potatoes at the same time and dinner was on the table in minutes. 90 seconds was all that it took to preheat the oven, along with the time needed to cook the meals. That's it! How amazing is that!
It's also multi-functional! It can bake, air fry, roast, toast and so much more. No more turning on the oven and waiting forever to pre-heat for me!
The oven can be found on Amazon.com
2. INSTANT POT
This is my all-time favorite kitchen appliance to use. Apparently, my rice is always perfectly cooked all the time, according to family members. My secret is this favorite of mine!
It's such a major lifesaver in my household especially when I need to get dinner done ASAP. I can cook a whole meal all at once in this pot. I do all my pasta dishes and stews such as gumbo, jambalaya, peanut soup, chicken soup, oxtail and the list continues.
I truly enjoy cooking with this equipment and love experimenting as I go with any dish that can be done. Yes, I also have done ribs before and for the Caribbean peeps, curry goat. It's a wonderful, highly recommended product.
It's available on Amazon.com.
For more recipe ideas that I have tried with my Instant pot, visit my blog post on:
Yonanas? Yes, you're seeing right! This next kitchen gadget that I love is called Yonanas. Now I love this gadget because it has saved me from dipping into the candy or cookie jar for my kids so many times already. I want them to have dessert but I don't want the sugar that comes with it, especially with these already active boys of mine.
But this gadget right here is a lifesaver. I even allow them to just go make their own dessert. The secret is that it's all fruits that are blended so smoothly into a sorbet, ice cream-like texture that is amazing.
They love it so much and I can get that extra serving of fruits my kids need for their development, without the candy or sugar overload.
It's also so easy to use and very clean-up friendly. You don't have to wait forever like the traditional ice cream makers and you get a quick dessert in no time.
It's available on Amazon.com.
4. CUISINART DEEP FRYER
I don't do a lot of fried foods on a regular basis, but when I do, I like to use this gadget of mine. It's a quick-heating, easy-to-use item that I can prepare quick favorites easily when I don't have to turn on the gas stove to fry anything that requires a lot of cleanups afterward.
I mostly use it for sweet potato fries and sweet plantains, or the occasional quick shrimp or batter-fried chicken dish.
I love that it has a splatter-proof cover and basket for frying.
It's available at Amazon.com
Overall I do hope that you were able to find some helpful tips and household gadgets that you can use to save time when preparing meals.
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Did you find the strategies listed in this article helpful? What were some of your favorite tips? How have they worked for you? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know what you think.
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