The post is titled ‘dinner hacks for busy moms’ which would indicate moms as the intended audience, but it’s really for anyone if you make your own meals and have busy weekdays. We can all use a bit of extra help and a short cut or two. I don’t know about you, but spending an hour and thirty-minute plus at the end of a weekday making dinner is not what I live for. In fact, having to do that and not using any of the hacks I am will have me grabbing fast food bags more times than I should admit.
Nonetheless, you know I’ve got you with the helpful hacks.
1. Buy Supermarket Shortcuts
They generally cost a bit extra, but on days when you are super busy, extra tired or just flat out don’t feel like going for the long haul in the kitchen, shortcut items can be lifesavers. Some stores have pre-seasoned meats (I don’t like those. I prefer to season my own meat.), pre-cut vegetables, pre-peeled ground produce (which I’m quite fond of) and more. I need all the dinner hacks for busy moms I can use.
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2. Wash, chop, season and parcel meats and ground provisions Immediately
When I buy meat, particularly chicken (my husband loves it so much I’m waiting for him to sprout feathers at this point), instead of buying the chicken frozen, I go for the refrigerated option. That way, I don’t have to think twice when I find a few minutes to wash, cut, parcel in meal portions and season the meats. The will be some for curried chicken, stewed chicken, brown stewed and some ‘open’ options where I can decide how I want to cook it after it’s thawed. The ‘open’ options usually get saved for Sunday meals. Then I freeze them.
I do the same with sweet potatoes, yams, etc. That is, I peel and slice them all at the same time and then freeze them in ziplock bags. I like to use larger bags and lay the slices individually so they freeze separately. It’s much easier to take the slices you need if they aren’t frozen together.
I can’t tell you how much of a lifesaver this is in my household. It’s much easier to dredge up the energy to cook when I know I’m just going to thaw and dump the meat into the pot and chops some veggies. It’s also been a huge plus with hubby making dinner. He is much more inclined to thaw a parcel and put on a pot of rice
3. Cook once, for two days.
As Jamaicans, we call it ‘Sunday-Monday’. The term is usually reserved for eating Sunday’s leftover on Monday evening, however, this is a common practice where we cook enough for two meals and have the leftovers for dinner the next day. As we speak, I am going to cook a parcel or thawed chicken and we’ll have it with leftover rice and peas. ‘Sunday-Monday’ Saves Lives.
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4. Slice Food Items Thinner
Depending on the meal, cutting food items into smaller or thinner portions can help the meal finish cooking faster. This will definitely save time in the kitchen on the evenings when you are tired.
5. Use Meal Helpers/Pre-Cooked Options
Jamaicans have a slang (Okay, so we have a lot of slangs). This one, in particular, is called “shake out of tin” or “flash out”. It essentially refers to a quick meal where the mail portion of the course is from a can. Canned foods, such as mackerel, tuna, corned beef, baked or broad beans, etc. I can’t have them myself (I get tomane poisoning) but I do have the occasional corned beef on hand for hubby and baby.
6. Meal Prep
I’m not a fan of meal prepping myself, but it’s definitely a useful and popular option when it comes to eliminating and lessening the time and effort in preparing individual meals. If you can find some time to spend prepping in bulk at the start of the week, it can help considerably on weekdays.
7. Cheat. Eat Out
Ordering in may not the ideal choice in term of health and burning a hole in your pocket, but some days you just have to go ahead and do it. Ordering in does not have to be junk food. If it’ll make your conscience quiet, order healthy meal options like wraps or salads, etc.
What dinner hacks for busy moms or dads can you share? Tell me in the comments.
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