Mealtime rarely goes as planned. Cooking is time-consuming and it often requires a lot of preparation. The fact of the matter is that no one has time to spend cutting up vegetables or marinating meat.
But you and your family have to eat! The problem is that we live in a world where we spend most of our time on the go, so it can be hard to figure out how to fit cooking meals into your already jam-packed schedule. A number of latest cooking apps have solved this problem to a great extent, but still there is a long way to go.
The good news is that mealtime doesn’t have to be a wrinkle in your day. Here are five tips you’ll want to follow to make dinnertime enjoyable.
- Buy a Crockpot (And Use it Weekly!)
Crockpot meals are convenient, quick, and easy. We all lead busy lives and finding time to make a meal from scratch at home can be impossible. While it’s okay to eat out every-so-often, eating out too much can put a serious dent in your budget. Feeding a family of four with take-out food can cost hundreds of dollars a week!
With crockpot meals, you can make dinner even when you aren’t at home! Crockpot cooking only requires you to put all of the ingredients in, turn the heat on, and then let it cook. Most recipes require 5-8 hours. This means you can come home to a hot and tasty dinner.
If you’re new to crockpot cooking, have no fear. There are endless recipes online and using a slow cooker doesn’t require you to be an expert in the kitchen. With a crockpot, you can make Italian, Mexican, Asian, Tex-Mex, and all different types of food that your family will love.
- Try Minimum-Ingredient Recipes
A meal doesn’t have to use an endless list of ingredients in order to taste good. In fact, some of the tastiest meals only require a few ingredients. By following simpler recipes, you’ll find that cooking meals at home is a lot less time consuming and frustrating.
For example, if you’re looking for a quick and healthy snack for your kids after school, consider mozzarella sticks with a dipping sauce. All you’d need to do is buy frozen mozzarella sticks, heat up tomato or marinara sauce, and then top them with a little Italian seasoning. In just a few minutes, you have a protein-packed snack that your family is sure to love.
By embracing minimum-ingredient recipes, you’ll spend a lot less time preparing a meal. But fewer ingredients doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice flavor!
- Meal Plan
Mealtime is much easier when you know exactly what you plan to eat for the week. Look in your refrigerator and freezer and see what ingredients you have. From there you can plan what meals you will make throughout the week.
What if you’re running low on ingredients? See what’s on sale at the grocery store and create recipes around those ingredients. For instance, if chicken, broccoli, and cheese are on sale this week, you can create chicken and broccoli, a chicken alfredo, or even a chicken, broccoli, and cheese soup!
By shopping what’s on sale, you’re not only able to save money, you can also save time in trying to figure out what meals to make during the week. If you’re unsure what meals to make with the ingredients you have at home, you can use mobile apps like SuperCook, Allrecipes Dinner Spinner, and BigOven.
- Get the Family Involved
There’s no better way to enjoy being a family than to be in the kitchen together. Make mealtime fun by encouraging everyone to chip in! There are all sorts of ways that you can give everyone a say in what the family eats. Some options include:
- Encourage everyone to help make their favorite meals
- Go grocery shopping together
- Allow kids and your spouse to help you cook
- Clean up together
When everyone has a part to play in prepping and cooking meals, mealtime becomes much more enjoyable and easier.
- Become a Dove-Tailing Expert
Dove-tailing has become a huge trend in kitchens around the kitchen. Dove-tailing is a technique that allows you to focus on planning your weekly menu versus focusing on a single meal in isolation.
For example, maybe on Monday, you plan to make a huge batch of stir-fry. Using leftover chicken you could make chicken tacos or even a chicken tortilla soup the next day. This way you don’t have to worry about leftovers going bad in the back of the refrigerator.
Dove-tailing enables you to save time and money and it ensures that your ingredients never go to waste.
Mealtime can often be hectic, time-consuming, and stressful. But with these five tips, you can make mealtime a little easier. By embracing these tips you’ll save money by eating at home. You’ll also get to spend more time with your family which makes everyone happier!