We all know that making food at home is healthier, cheaper, and often more delicious that getting takeout, but we’ve all been there – at the end of a long day at work, making a meal from scratch can seem like a daunting prospect. Here are some of the time savers I’ve picked up over the years to make cooking dinner a little easier.
First things first, I strongly recommend shopping online. Organise delivery for a time when you know you are going to be in anyway (for us this is usually Sunday night), and you can make sure your fridge is ready stocked up for a week of cooking healthy meals. If my fridge is empty, I’m way more tempted to get a takeaway.
This is probably something most already know about, but it really does make life easier – especially if you use it to stock up your freezer. Some of the things I batch cook are soups, pasta sauces, bolognese, stews. Basically things that take too long for me to cook on a week night, but that I can cook slowly over the weekend and freeze in meal size portions.
As a general rule, its cheaper (and often tastier) to buy vegetables unprepared and do them yourself. However there are some exceptions to the rule, and for me sometimes you just cant beat the convenience of having pre-chopped things in your freezer. I always have pre-chopped garlic, ginger, chillis, herbs and onions in the freezer. Just these few ingredients means I can throw together a tasty meal in a matter of minutes!
We get through a lot of rice (so much so that I buy it in 5kg bags!), and while 99% of the time I cook fresh rice for the meal, occasionally I have to confess to using a packet of microwave rice. When pushed for time, or if I just dont want to do all the washing up, I am a fan of using microwave rice to cut a few corners. Doing so means I can knock up a stir fry in less than 10 minutes – perfect for a late night after work!
Be smart with leftovers
There are some things which naturally result in leftovers – a perfect example of this, and one which we take advantage of frequently is cooking a whole chicken.
Can you beat a roast chicken? The ultimate comfort food, and for us, perfect for any time of year (not just a Sunday roast!). Served with a salad, or roasted vegetables during the summer, and potatoes or rice during the winter months. While it does take a bit of time to cook, its mostly a “chuck in the oven and let it do its thing” style of cooking, so I can do other things during this time.
The genius of a roast chicken is that there is always leftovers. So, dinner for the next day is taken care of – a curry, a salad, or even something like a chicken pie. Either way, the hard work is already done!
I hope that some of the above tips will make your weeknight cooking a little easier and faster, and if you have any other shortcuts please let me know below.