The secret to a fast and easy dinner is not very complicated. In fact, most Food Network shows that promise a great meal in 30 minutes or less all share the same secret. Do you want to know what it is? Read on.
Most of us are busy and often the last thing we feel like doing is coming home at the end of the day and having to fuss with making dinner. Too many times we take the easy way out, order a pizza or throw a processed frozen meal in the microwave. We would love to have a healthier, tastier dinner but really, who has the time?
The kids are tired and hungry, you just want to relax and cooking a meal from scratch is not always what you want to do. You can make your family a nice dinner that is healthy and easy to prepare in not a lot of time. This is the “secret” for how to make it happen.
When the tools are there for the job it makes it much faster to take the stress out of preparing a fast dinner. The first step is to plan ahead before you even go grocery shopping for the week. Make up a menu of meals to prepare. Check your cabinets or pantry to make sure that you have all the ingredients you will need for the meals that you want to make.
The next step is to see how much you can do ahead of time. Mixing up a homestyle meatloaf and pre-cooking it while you are baking something else will give you a headstart on another night’s dinner. You can do side dishes like steamed vegetables very quickly by using your microwave and a steamer basket.
On the weekend when you are home catching up on laundry, cook a double batch of spaghetti sauce and then portion it into freezer containers. During the work week all you need to do is defrost it in the microwave, cook some pasta and throw a salad together. Multi-tasking by cooking in bulk and freezing food is one easy way to have a home-cooked meal without putting in a lot of time.
Another way to make a fast and easy dinner is to prepare your produce when you purchase it. For example if you bought a bunch of fresh baby spinach, before you put it in the refrigerator, wash it and put it in a storage bag or container. Pre-cut vegetables and have a ready-made or homemade dressing so all you need to do is toss it in a bowl when you want to serve it.
Pasta like vermicelli and angel hair takes no time at all to cook if time is really an issue. Tossed with some olive oil and fresh chopped garlic (kept in a jar in the refrigerator), you have a quick and easy side dish to go with leftover chicken.
Stir frys are another quick meal to make and are fast to make if you follow the rule of pre-cleaning and cutting vegetables when you buy them. Frozen mixed vegetables and diced chicken breast cook up quickly in a little bit of olive oil and make a delicious and easy dinner.
It helps when you know what you are cooking and are prepared by having some of the prep work done for you. Another tip is to have a well-stocked pantry. A can of Italian style tomatoes, chopped garlic and some basil makes a delicious 20 minute pasta sauce. An oven-stuffer roaster can feed a family of four for days if you use the leftover chicken in a stir fry or in a quesadilla.
Dinner in a hurry doesn’t need to be take-out or an unhealthy, preservative-filled processed boxed dinner. You can have a delicious, fast and easy dinner just by taking the time to plan ahead. You will be glad you did.