According to www.statisticbrain.com, about 20% of Americans eat out at least twice per week. Eating out can be tough on your waistline and wallet, which is why at-home dinners are attractive to most people. Here are three tips for creating quick and easy dishes right from your kitchen.
1: Create A Quick-Reference Meal List
In order to avoid the daily what-to-make dilemma, write down meals that your family enjoys, or find new ones they'll love at Simple Dish. It can be hard to remember ingredient lists in grocery stores packed with special promotions and attractive produce stands, but by creating a meal directory you can stay on task.
To get started, record the components of each daily meal as you go through the week. Write down dinners that your family requests frequently, and make sure to jot down all of the pertinent ingredients in the dishes.
Separate the dinner list into categories, grouping meals that use similar ingredients together. Here is an example of what a simple meal list could look like.
Dinner: Parmesan Chicken / Angel Hair Pasta / Broccoli
Key Ingredients: boneless, skinless chicken breasts, Panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese wedge, bottled marinara sauce, Capellini pasta, broccoli crowns
Dinner: Chicken Stir Fry / Brown Rice
Key Ingredients: boneless chicken thighs, bottled teriyaki sauce, red bell peppers, bamboo shoots, broccoli crowns, purple onion, brown rice
In order to plan dinner easily, simply refer to your meal directory. This will help you to quickly choose a dish, and allow you to easily copy down the ingredients that you need from the store. This method makes planning a snap, and takes the confusion out of shopping trips.
2: Keep Non-Perishable Items On Hand
Although creating a meal list will simplify trips to the grocery store, keeping the essentials on hand can make things even easier. Think about common staples that you use frequently in recipes, and consider their shelf lives. Stock up on ingredients that won't spoil easily, which can help you to cut down on your number of weekly errands.
Items like dried pasta can keep for up to 2 years in storage, which means that you can always have it on hand when you need it. Buying pantry staples in bulk can also help to save you money, as items sold in mass quantities tend to be less expensive.
When you plan your daily meals, take into consideration which items you keep on hand. Having a set stock of key ingredients can help you to instantaneously know if you will need to run to the store in order to gather ingredients for your meal, which can simplify your schedule.
3: Rewrite Your Recipes
Oftentimes, lagging dinner times are the result of trying to navigate through a poorly written recipe. In order to make dinner preparation simpler, it is a good practice to go through your favorite recipes and rewrite them in order to make them easier to read.
Most of the time, at-home chefs find themselves struggling with the same measurement conversions time and time again, which can eat up precious time. Make special notes for conversions that will allow you to speed up the process. For example, if you have a bread recipe that calls for packages of yeast instead of the bottled stuff that you keep on hand, write down that one package is the equivalent of 2 ¼ teaspoons of yeast. This simple addition will eliminate confusion and expedite preparation.
When re-writing your recipes, group together the ingredients in a logical order. Recipes commonly list all ingredients at the top of the page, which can be confusing to cooks. For example, if you have a cake recipe that lists all of the ingredient quantities for the batter and frosting together, break them out and list them separately. This will save you from having to carefully refer to the instructions when you are cooking.
Going through each recipe and rewriting it so that it makes sense to you can help you to get through the cooking process a little quicker, and to avoid mishaps along the way.
By confronting the problems that keep you from eating at home, you can make the process of cooking dinner more manageable.