Saturday, 5 March 2016

Tips & Cheats To Prepare Dinner Fast

Cooking with a one year old means your cooking time has to be fast or easy. Gone were the days of 2 hours standing in the kitchen being Jamie Oliver. Now I'm lucky if I even get 30minutes to cook a decent meal. It's crazy! But don't worry, I can tell you that it is doable! So if you're a mommy who has to prepare dinner while keeping watch on the little one, here are some of the things I do to get dinner up in less than 45 minutes!

Whether you're a parent or a student on a tight schedule, here are some tips and cheats in preparing dinner in that short amount of time.

Tips- Here are some pointers to making the cooking experience go more smoothly.

1. Prep when it's nap time or the night before.

My prep starts at 3pm when LittleLim is down for her hourly nap. I cut my produce, prepare seasonings, defrost meat etc. After which I just place everything into containers and into my fridge until it's time to cook. Sometimes if I know I'm going to be using an ingredient two days in a row I usually just cut extra and store it away as well. 

2. Cook extra for lunch.

So you only need to cook ONCE and the baby won't get bored with the same activities.

3. Minimise cooking on the stove.

My new method is to use the oven, air fryer, steamer, slow cooker. Anything that allows me to chuck all the ingredients in one pot and leave it to cook itself is a winner! That way I can play with LittleLim and keep her occupied while my dinner is being cooked. Also it minimises the risk of burning. Put on a timer and just wait. If it's not cooked, throw it in for a few more minutes! Also, it lessens your wash load and clean up time!

4. Clean as you go.

This one is pretty basic. Just rinse and clean as you go along. Not only does it make your work table neat, it lessens your clean up time by a whole lot. Another way is to separate the really dirty and oily utensils from the rest. So you don't have to scrub EVERYTHING.  

5. Play cheat.

And of course there are times when you just have to play cheat. Other than using pre-marinated meat there are some other ways to cheat as well. Scroll down for my cheats.

Cheats: shhh... it's our little secret!

1. Teans Curry Paste

Heavent sent. All you need to do is add your own meat and fresh ingredients and heat up. So convenient and easy! The taste is so delicious as well, if you don't say, no one will even suspect you used a premade paste. Lol! You can find these in most supermarkets or if you're overseas, any Asian Supermarket will carry them.

2. Chopped Garlic

Chopping garlic drives me crazy! The peeling, the dicing, the smell that lingers on your fingers... yuck! Whoever produced this is a genius! Garlic chopped for you and in one neat little tupperware. All you need to do is to spoon as much as you need. I usually buy mine online from Tesco. 

3. Debone / chop your meat at the supermarket! Or get your butcher / fishmonger to do it for you.

This one I learnt from my grandmother in law who taught me that you can get the supermarket to clean the fish for you, debone meat and portion your chicken for you. They even remove the innards and everything and let you bring it home. It makes cooking so much easier!

4. One Pan meals!

This is just one of the many variants you can do. Use fish, steak or whatever works. It's genius and all you need is just one pan and foil. After you cook throw the foil and keep the pan back without washing. So easy! And going back to tip3 on using the oven and lessening the time hovering over the stove!

5. Freeze Whatever Can Be Freezed

Stock cubes, pasta, stew, curry... freeze it! Just like frozen dinners only healthier and you know what is put in your meals. My mom used to do it for me back when I was studying in Adelaide and she was there on holiday. She would cook big batches of curry, potato and chicken soy sauce, stock for me and freeze them. It was so convenient for days when I have no time to cook because of exams. Now it's still so convenient for days when LittleLim is extra clingy or I'm just too tired from chasing after her and preventing her from killing herself. If kept properly, these babies can last up to 6 months (I know I tried). Dinner in less than 15 minutes, yes please.

There you go! Hope you find these tips as useful as I did! Do you have any more tips to share? I'd love to hear your tips on how you make dinner fast with your child.


1 comment:

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