Weekend Wonders: Tricks for Quick and Easy Dinners | News, sports, jobs
92% of Americans say the last thing they want to do after a long day at work is spend time cooking. Balancing work, family, and hobbies requires efficient weekday cooking — weekday meals that can be prepared in less than an hour.
Or even sooner. According to a study by Kitchen Stories, 41% of Americans want to prepare their meals throughout the week in less than 30 minutes. And since 70% of Americans claim to cook at least three times a week, every extra minute they spend in the kitchen adds up quickly.
Preparing a home-cooked meal in under 30 minutes may seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. I’m a professional recipe maker, and I’ve compiled a list of quick and easy meals that taste great.
Weekdays can be chaotic, and a little planning goes a long way. Taking a few minutes during the weekend to plan meals for the week and do your grocery shopping will save time during the week. It’s also a great way to make sure you’re actually cooking what you want to eat, and not just satisfying a momentary craving.
Create a weekly list
Knowing what’s on the menu each day saves home cooks the problem of “What’s for dinner?” panic. Plus, it helps simplify the grocery shopping process. Take a few minutes to think about what you want to eat throughout the entire week, including breakfast and snacks, and write it all down.
With your newly created weekly list, this week’s grocery shopping will be much easier. Make sure you have everything you need to avoid a last-minute supermarket run. This means making sure you have everything you need to cook dinners throughout the week, as well as household essentials like toilet paper, toothpaste, milk, and fruit.
Once you’re done shopping, get chopping. Chop and prepare anything that can be prepared in advance for the week: sliced veggies, seasoned proteins, pre-cooked grains. Store them in labeled containers for easy access during the week.
Double for leftovers
When planning a weekly menu, it’s a good idea to plan one or two extra servings for each meal. Extra portions can become lunches or dinners for the next day or put in the fridge for another busy night. This reduces cooking time and ensures there is always good food on hand.
Embrace the wonders of one pot
One-pot, one-pan meals are a busy cook’s best friend. They reduce prep work, reduce the number of dishes to wash, and are often relatively inefficient. Here are some ideas to consider:
French Fries: A combination of vegetables, protein and sauce cooked in one pan, ready to eat as is, or with rice or pasta. It’s quick, versatile, and full of flavour. Try teriyaki fried chicken, or make a Thai version with curry paste and a little coconut milk.
Dinner chops: Add your favorite protein and vegetables with seasoning, then grill them on a griddle. Try new combinations, or opt for classic dishes like chicken with vegetables or lemon pepper salmon with baby potatoes. These recipes ensure easy preparation and minimal cleanup.
Pasta Bake: Place a layer of uncooked pasta, protein, and vegetables in a baking dish. Add the grated cheese, pour it over the milk or cream, and bake for an hour. Families will get a full meal without any hassle.
Get creative with leftovers
Eating the same meal two days in a row may seem boring, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead, turn leftovers into brand new dishes. Here are some ideas to get started:
Roasted Vegetable Frittata: Pour beaten eggs into a hot skillet and add remaining vegetables, cheese and protein. Cook it on the stove, then finish it in the oven.
Wrapping it up: Use leftover proteins and veggies for wraps or sandwiches. Add some fresh vegetables and a delicious sauce for a quick and satisfying meal that’s perfect for taking with you.
Make a bowl of it: Combine leftover grains, proteins, and veggies. Top with a delicious sauce or sauce for a nutritious, fuss-free dinner.
Use time-saving devices
Modern kitchen gadgets can be game-changers for time-consuming cooks. If you’re pressed for time while cooking, consider purchasing a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or air fryer.
Pressure Cooker: It can significantly reduce the cooking time of dishes that usually take hours. It’s perfect for making stews, curries and soups, but can also be used for anything from risotto to potatoes. Slow Cooker: Prepare the ingredients in the morning, set the slow cooker, then come home to a hot meal ready to eat.
Air Fryer: Crispy, delicious results without the need for a lot of oil – and it’s faster than most other cooking methods. Perfect for quickly cooking favorite snacks like chicken wings and French fries, and a great way to cook vegetables and foods like salmon straight from frozen.
Eat 30-minute meals
It’s easy to forget that cooking delicious food doesn’t take a lot of time. There is an abundance of dishes that can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. Some examples are:
Simple French Fries: With pre-cut veggies, quick-cooking proteins, and stir-fry sauce, French fries are a quick dinner fix.
Pasta: 30-minute pasta dishes abound, and you can find one in almost any flavor you desire. If you’re lucky, you can cook it all in one pot.
Quick Skillet Dishes: From Sautethat itShrimp with garlic and lemon to spicy sausage and peppers, the fryer is your ticket to quick and delicious meals.
Cooking on the weekends doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a little planning, creativity, and the right tools, it’s possible to prepare delicious meals and still have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the evening. So, test out these cooking hacks and reclaim your evening from the dreaded kitchen hustle.
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This article was produced by Media Decision and published by Wealth of Geeks.
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