Is there any worse feeling at the end of a long day than having to not only think of but also cook the family meal? Let’s face it, on top of everything else that needs to be done, most of us don’t have the energy to even eat dinner let alone prepare it and clean up afterwards. You will be glad to know you can have the best of both worlds; a nutritious meal and a break from cooking.
Below are our top 7 tips for taking a break from the daily grind of cooking:
Plan, plan plan.
We cannot stress this enough. Plan out your weekly meals. It takes a little bit of time once a week but it takes so much pressure off when you have a daily schedule drawn up so you know ahead of time exactly what you need to cook and when. Sometimes the drain of cooking is actually trying to think of something to cook not the cooking itself. Plan not only dinners but also breakfasts and lunches and take the pressure off you each day.
Make double the quantity of things like lasagne, spaghetti, meat sauce for nachos or tacos, curries etc. Freeze the extra quantity and you have a meal ready for the next week without any extra cooking time.
Buy a slow cooker.
While technically you are still cooking, if you utilise a slow cooker to its potential you can just put all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and come home to a ready-made dinner at night. There is nothing better than walking in the door and smelling a home cooked meal already waiting for you.
Give the kids an age appropriate meal to prepare.
Plan it in your weekly shopping. Give them a list of meals you think they can handle on their own and ask them to pick the one they want to cook this week. Let them loose in the kitchen. Not only does it mean you don’t have to cook but it gives them a sense of pride in being able to help prepare meals for the family. Of course, they also have to clean up afterwards so it’s a great way for them to learn to cook efficiently without using every pot and pan!
Dedicate one day a week to a dad’s dinner night.
That means you have to put up with whatever dad cooks but dad gets to choose and prepare the meal once a week. Of course if your partner is someone that regularly cooks then this may not be as useful to you but sometimes knowing ahead of time that a particular night isn’t your responsibility, can make all the difference to how your week turns out.
Salads in a jar.
Just search through google for some salad in a jar recipes. You can prepare a week’s worth in advance and then just store them in the fridge. That way on any given night you already have individual salads ready to go. If you want to add a protein it is easy enough to stop by the supermarket and grab a bbq chicken to go with the salad.
Join a mum’s cooking club/group.
These operate in many towns around the country. Mums get together and batch cook and then swap meals so that each family gets a variety of meals to take home and freeze. That means not only do you get out of the house but you get to mix with other mums and have some ready to go meals in the freezer! Check out Mama Bake for an example.
Happy ‘not cooking’. Enjoy your break Mum, you deserve it!
What do you do to have a night off cooking?