Creating delicious, healthy foods doesn't have to mean spending a lot of time in the kitchen. With a little organization and pre-planning, you can greatly simplify your cooking routine and come up with great-tasting meals.
1. Start a Cooking Group
Listen moms, this is a great one. Offer to cook a meal for another family in your neighborhood once a week (or once a month; whatever you determine in advance) and have them do the same for you.
2. Convenience Foods
These days everyone stays busy--from running errands to soccer games--and preparing meals from scratch is not always possible. To prevent yourself from using the fast food remedy, stock up on frozen meals when you see them on sale at your supermarket.
3. Crock Pots
Using a slow cooker (more commonly called a Crock Pot) is a great way to save time in the kitchen. Set it to cook while you're at work and you'll return home to a great tasting meal. It's great for frugal families because it works well in preparing inexpensive meals such as stews, soups and casseroles. Because meat is cooked slowly for a long time, you can also get by with using cheaper cuts of meat.
4. Create a List of 10
Create a list of 10 meals your family enjoys that take ten minutes or less to prepare. Include meals with ingredients that are easy to store so that you are sure to have ingredients on hand. Below is a sample list:
Fish: Fish fillets can be sautĂ©ed, broiled or grilled within a matter of minutes. Serve with steamed veggies and you have a quick and healthy meal.
Grilled Cheese: Served with soup, grilled cheese sandwiches are the ultimate quick comfort food meal.
Tuna Sandwiches: Mix a can of good tuna with mayo, a little chopped onion and celery to make tuna sandwiches.
Crab Legs: Buy these when they're on sale, and you'll have a quick and special meal for date nights at home.
Quesadillas: A vegetarian version with cheddar cheese and black beans can be made in just minutes. Serve with salsa and sour cream.
Waffles or Pancakes: They're not just for breakfast! Adding these to your dinner menus can help save both time and money.
Pasta Primavera: Toss pasta with veggies like mushrooms, onions and tomatoes. A simple sauce can be created by melting butter and adding a little Parmesan cheese.
Easy Jambalaya: Use minute rice, black beans, shrimp and sausage along with Tabasco to taste make a quick and easy jambalaya.
Egg Sandwiches: Fried eggs on an English muffin topped with a slice of American cheese makes a filling dinner.
Meatballs: Meatballs are a versatile thing to keep in your freezer, whether you buy bagged meatballs or prepare them yourself. Use them with spaghetti sauce and noodles, meatball subs or with cream of mushroom soup over mashed potatoes for meatballs and gravy.