If you have had a long day, a difficult day, are unwell or tired who wants to cook dinner on those nights!?
There are ways to walk in the door knowing dinner is minutes away, the work is done. What a relief. In lots of instances that also means you can spend time with the family rather than be frantic in the kitchen. And feed yourself and them something delicious and healthy.
My number one way of doing this is using the crock pot (slow cooker). As we get further into autumn and winter I will post some of my best easiest recipes. But mostly any casserole or soup you already like will work, just put it on in the morning, mix it around, mix it again once or twice when you can and dinner is beautiful. Long slow cooking like this is divine for meats that need it ie lamb shanks. But roasts, stews.... so many meals.
In summer my make ahead salads mean many nights we have cold meats and the salad is ready to go and those are no cooking nights. Also once a week we have a BBQ, Andy will do it and I put out salad and bits and pieces and it's like a holiday! I would never have a BBQ without adding extra meat so there are things cooked that will be next days lunch, at least.
Other things like casseroles, mornay, pizza, quiche, slices, curry, soups I would just never make one. The same time and electricity can mean you have several so that is what I would always do. Then you can further stretch them later by adding rice or a side or whatever.
I read a recipe for a lovely soup the other day. At the end it said "makes two cups" If you saw the look on my face you would laugh for a week! All that time and effort for two cups? lol No. Your time is worth more than that. Make enough for tonight and think of the possibilities... enough to take or send to work in a thermo for a few days. Enough for another evening. Enough to freeze batches for if you have the flu. (When you are sick beautiful soups from the freezer are so wonderful!) Enough that you can help someone else out. That you have a meal when you are tired and in all kinds of emergencies.
Meals put away or simmering at home in the crock pot mean you don't think of takeaway. They mean when you find a meat or vegie special you can make it last for ages and make the most of it. Thinking big will also give you more. If I cook anything in the crock pot I pretty much fill it up. Left over stew/casserole is the best pie filling. Then you have amazing meat pies as well. I will show you how to do this as I make mine in a few weeks.
Last night though I just made simple tuna mornay. I made it ahead as Chloe was coming after work to do my hair. (pre wedding hair...) She had been sewing her fingers off with wedding things, then a day of other wedding stuff, then work, then my hair after work... so I made us and her tuna mornay for an easy evening. Good swap too, I often wonder what it would be costing me if I was paying a hairdresser!
It takes no more time, power etc to triple the recipe. So we had an easy dinner, Chloe took one home and I have two to put away. Two nights off, coming up, in other words.
Even if you cook like this once a week it has reduced your cooking nights from seven to five. If you do it twice a week you go from seven to three! Add another easy night like a BBQ or toasties and you are down to two. Feeding your family well, making the most of specials, saving electricity and enjoying less hectic evenings.
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