Monday, April 11, 2011

The dinner dilemma

kitchen fairyDinner is probably the trickiest meal to coordinate, unless you have a kitchen fairy, and sadly, few of us do. Most of us work full-time and cooking, especially if you have to shop first, is the last thing we want to do at the end of a long day. So what’s a busy person to do?

Plan ahead
Determine how many meals you need to prepare for the week and write a menu plan. This takes the hassle out of weekly meals if you know in advance what you are going to make. It only takes five or so minutes and will save you lots of time and stress during the week.

Do a weekly shop
Use your menu plan to create a shopping list and do a weekly shop. You can save even more time if you do your supermarket shopping online. Coles allows you to create shopping list templates and then it’s a simple as clicking a button to get all the things you need for your menu plan. It also really helps to reduce wastage if you only buy the things that you have a plan to cook that week.

Prepare easy meals during the week
Some easy options include:
  • Frittata
  • Soup and sourdough bread
  • Casserole
  • Pasta - add lots of veggies and a good quality protein
  • Curry 
  • Grilled fish and vegetables or salad
  • Homemade pizza (use pitta bread)
  • Stir-fry
Don’t feel guilty about using pre-prepared sauces (avoid ones with preservatives and artificial additives) if you’re low on time. It’s still a much better option to have a home-cooked meal using a packaged sauce, rather than eating on the go or getting take-out.

Invest in time saving appliances
A pressure cooker can cook a risotto, soup, casserole or curry 10-20 minutes. At the other end of the spectrum is a slow cooker, which will cook your dinner while you’re at work. A rice cooker will cook perfect rice in minutes. Brilliant.

Make take out a last resort
If you do order take out, then try for healthier options. Check out our blog post on healthy take out tips

Good luck! If you missed them, you might like to check out our previous posts on breakfast and lunch.

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