The lazy days of summer are over and school is back in session. That means all sorts of activities like soccer, football and piano lessons take time away from dinner preparation. Yet, family members will be showing up soon with big appetites after an activity-filled day. What to do? We’re here to help with that dilemma.
- Utilize the “fix and forget” method of cooking your meal by putting the slow cooker to work. It greatly reduces the amount of prep time at the dinner hour. Any chopping, browning or combining is done hours before mealtime.
- Advance preparation always helps. Prep all vegetables on the weekend to save time on weekdays – it’s an easy time-saver. Also, try to prep a meal the night before you plan to serve it.
- Use convenience foods to cut down on prep time.
- Create convenience ingredients in your kitchen. Cook ground meat, adding onions and garlic, if you wish. Freeze it in one-pound portions. This preparation is a convenient start for making quick recipes such as tacos, sloppy joes, pizza, chili or casseroles. Remember to move the frozen meat from freezer to refrigerator for thawing 24 hours before using.
- Keep certain staples on hand for five quick meals, like soup, hamburger, tomato sauce, and onions.
- Cook in large batches on a day when you do have time to cook. Make a double or triple batch of soup, lasagna, chili or other family favorite. Place enough for a meal in food storage containers and freeze. Twenty-four hours before you want to serve this prepared meal to your family, place it in the refrigerator to thaw. Then all you need to do is to heat and serve.
These time-saving techniques will help when it’s late in the day and you need an answer to the inevitable question, “What’s for dinner?”