With busy households, it’s hard to find time to cook at home and eat right. Here are some time-saving tips to use in the kitchen that are good for our families and our budget!
- Make breakfast the night before. Some ideas are: instant stovetop oatmeal, boiled eggs, and scrambled eggs.
- Pack your lunch and kids’ lunches the night before.
- Set aside a few hours on the weekend to cook for the week (or for 3 days worth of meals).
- Shop for ingredients on Friday.
- Do the chopping and food preparations on Saturday.
- Cook it up on Sunday.
- Defrost something from the freezer in the middle of the week.
- Invest in a deep freezer!
- Treat yourself to takeout towards the end of the week to help you make it into the weekend.
- Throw a bunch of chicken bones into a pot of salted boiling water to make chicken stock. Pour the cooked stock into ice cube trays and freeze. When recipes call for broth, it’s easy throw in a few cubes.
- Use salad dressing as a quick cooking sauce. Check out some recipes at www.Kraftcanada.com.
Try Quick Dishes
- Make easy Indian-style basmati rice on the stove or rice cooker by adding frozen peas, a dash of turmeric, cumin seeds and chicken broth.
- Use a rice cooker for cooking pasta. Add less water than listed on package directions. Recently I tried out a quick and easy tomato penne pasta recipe.
- If your rice cooker has a steamer, steam veggies on top while the rice is cooking and you’ll have a side dish ready for dinner.
- Try out crockpot recipes. Throw in a bunch of ingredients in the morning before leaving for the day. When you get home, dinner will be ready.
When you buy meat, poultry or fish for freezing, divide it up into meal-sized portions. Or try marinating it before freezing. Mix it with your favourite marinade, put it in Ziploc bags and label it. When you are ready to defrost it for cooking, the meat will marinate and tenderize while it defrosts. This saves you a step when it comes time to cook.
a) Stirfry or Pasta: Marinate chicken breast pieces or small beef strips with garlic, ginger, and your favourite dry rub or seasoning mix. Separate chicken/beef pieces into 1 pound portions and put each in Ziploc bags. Label and freeze. Great for stirfries, pastas, casseroles, anything!
b) Rotisserie: You could do the same for chicken thighs or legs. Marinate and freeze with St. Hubert or Swiss Chalet seasoning mix from the grocery store and you have a restaurant‐style meal at home. When it comes time to cook, take out the chicken, defrost, throw it in the oven / toaster oven / BBQ and let it cook while you do something else.
c) Tandoori Chicken Marinade: My favourite marinade is Tandoori chicken.
You don't have to go to a restaurant to eat Tandoori chicken. Make it at home with these easy steps.
- 4-6 chicken legs or thighs
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tbsp each of garlic & ginger paste.
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 2 tbsp of tandoori masala (I used Shaan)
- 2 tsp Paprika for colour
- 1 tsp garam masala
- Instead of Garam masala, use ¼ tsp each of cinnamon, clove and cardamom powders
- In a large bowl, mix the chicken pieces with the marinade ingredients.
- If freezing, put the chicken into Ziploc bags, then label and freeze.
- If cooking right away, place it on a baking sheet covered in foil.
- Bake it in the oven for approximately 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees.
- After 30 minutes, pierce with a fork. If the fork comes out clean with no liquid oozing out, it's done.
- For chicken legs, remove from oven when the meat starts to fall away from the bone.
Ambereen Rahim is a senior analyst, part-time blogger and mom of three year old boy/girl twins. In her spare time you can find her travelling, exploring activities with the kids, trying new recipes and blogging about it. You can follow their adventures on twitter @2cuteblog www.2cute.intiaz.com