When you have had a hard day at work and then you have to come home and cook a meal, it can be a bit too much. All you want to do is sit down and relax, but the family are hungry and looking to you to feed them. Once they have eaten the washing up and clearing away needs doing, and by then it is nearly bedtime. This cuts your relaxing time dramatically, but there are a few ways you can reduce the amount of time you spend in your kitchen each evening.
Not only will these things give you more time with your family, but they can also mean that you will get to eat earlier too. Digesting food late evening is not too good for your body and you are far more likely to gain extra weight if it becomes a habit.
Make A Plan
Start off by planning the meals for the week ahead. You can waste so much time searching through cupboards, fridges and freezers deciding what to make. If it is all planned beforehand, you will save yourself that time. Ask for the family’s input as well, and perhaps let them all have the choice of one evening’s meal.
Spending time with your family is more important than being in the kitchen for hours. Get them to lay the table so that as soon as the meal is ready you can all spend some quality time together. In fact, some parents will happily tell you that they find out more about their children’s lives when the family is all eating together than at any other time.
Freeze Some Meals
You could stop on the way home and get a takeaway, or order pizza to be delivered, but if there are several of you that can get very costly. Why not spend some time making some meals and freezing them, so all you have to do when you get home is heat them up. This can be very simple meals, and you can make several at the same time. Things like meat pie and bolognese sauce both include the same sort of meat. You can cook a big pot of it and then split it between the two. Then when you get home from work you just need to boil the spaghetti or some vegetables, and in no time at all, you will have a meal.
Not only will meals like this be a much cheaper option, but they will also be better for your family’s health. You just need to make sure you have all the right implements in your kitchen to make cooking several meals at once a viable option. Plenty of saucepans, for instance, knife sharpeners and bowls will all help to make the task easier. The easier the task, the less time you have to spend on it.
Keep basics in your food cupboard too. Items such as flour, salt. pepper, potatoes, salads, fruits, vegetables, eggs, rice and some tinned foods such as beans, can all be used to help make a meal even if you do not have much else to include.
A slow cooker can be a real boon. You can prepare a casserole the night before and turn the slow cooker on as you leave for work. When you get home you will be met by the delicious smell, and the meal will be ready to eat.
There are many different meals you can make in a slow cooker, and you will find lots of recipes online if you think this may be a solution for you. Pulled pork, chicken tikka masala, brisket and onions and margarita fajitas will all be delicious after being cooked in a slow cooker, and ready for you to eat as soon as you get home.
Keep It Simple
An evening meal does not have to be complicated, and sometimes your family will be pleased you have served something simple. As an example, buy some pizza bases and pizza sauce. Put a few different toppings in some bowls and let the family make their own. They only take about 15 minutes to cook in the oven, drastically reducing the time you are in your kitchen.
You can do the same with baked potatoes. These can be done in just a few minutes in the microwave, and with things like cheese, baked beans, salads and cooked meats, they can be a filling meal that the family will enjoy.
Snack meals take next to no cooking at all and can be put together very easily. Cut some cheese into cubes, open a tin of pineapple chunks, roll some slices of cooked meats and add some buttered rolls. Maybe some chips and sausage rolls together with some salad, pickles and other tasty morsels and you will have a meal that everyone can help himself or herself to.
You can even have a snack dessert just by chopping up several different fruits in a bowl and having some yoghurt to hand for the family to pour over it if they want.
Ask The Family For Help
Some people hate having other people around when they are preparing meals and find them more of a hindrance than a help. That could well be how you fee but there is no reason why you shouldn’t ask them to help with the washing up afterwards. Even little children can be given jobs to do so that the whole family is involved. Or you can leave everyone else to do it while you put your feet up for a well-earned rest.
You could even get them to cook the evening one night, and you be waited on just as they are all the time. Children especially usually love cooking and as long as an adult is supervising them, they will love making a meal for you.
Get Out Of The Kitchen
Planning, being prepared and asking for help are the key elements to you spending less time in the kitchen. Of course, there will be times when you want to cook a special meal, but on a day-to-day basis, spending less time preparing and cooking meals after a day at work, will be a welcome relief and you should ensure it happens if your household.