Tuesday 7 May 2013

Nutritious meals, quick!

Maybe it's because I like food that I don't find it a challenge to prepare meals everyday for my family.

Breakfast is usually very simple -- a few pieces of toast with butter and jam.  Lunch is usually leftovers from the night before, or sandwiches if we are out and about, or jacket potatoes with an assortment of toppings.  Dinner is the main meal in our home so it's the one that I cook from scratch every day.  On Sunday the importance of the Sunday Lunch takes over so I spend most effort at preparing a full roast on that day.

Even though I enjoy preparing and cooking food, I don't want it to take over my life by spending more time in the kitchen than I have to in order to prepare a decent family meal.  I manage this in a few ways:
1.  Meal planning.  I have a weekly menu plan so I go grocery shopping with a full shopping list once a week, and I get everything I need on that trip.  This saves me time and cost since I buy only what I'll need to make meals for that week.
2.  Work fast.  This comes with practice.  Just like everything else, one gets good at what one does all the time.  I have had about 10 years of practice making meals in my kitchen, so I know where everything is and how to substitute ingredients effectively when they run out.  Speed also comes with familiarity, so I am reasonably fast when I work in the kitchen.
3.  Limit meal preparation time.  When I plan my meals, I make a mental note that each meal will not take more than an hour to prepare.  Again, Sunday Lunch is the exception but for the rest of the weeks we have relatively simple meals.  I learned most of my meal ideas from food magazines such as Easy Cook which has very clear instructions to make speedy yet delicious meals.
The application of the above three points have worked consistently to provide quick, delicious, and nutritious meals that meet my family's dietary requirements.  If you struggle to find time to cook while teaching your children at home, I hope the tips above will be useful to you as they have been to me.  If not, you are always welcome to consult the other homeschooling mums for other ideas.

This series is growing!  We have two new contributors to the series: Erin from Seven Little Australians and Counting, and Nicole from One Magnificent Obsession.  Please head over to see what they have to say about how to manage cooking and homeschooling at the same time:
  • In Plating Up, Erin shares how the key for her family to successfully juggle cooking is organisation.
  • Bernadette reveals her Hippie Method: Food Philosophied, in which she tells us how she makes easy, delicious, and (relatively) healthy food from scratch - almost every day.
  • Savannah has a Cooking Tip for the Home School Mom which promises to show us that even if you don't enjoy cooking there are ways to conquer the "What's for dinner?" question without calling Dominoes!

This post is linked up to:
1) Hip Homeschool Hop - 5/7/13
2) Hearts for Home Blog Hop #16
3) Homeschool Mother's Journal: May 10, 2013
4) Collage Friday - A Big Change and A Big Sale!
5) TGIF Linky Party #75
6) Creative Learning #14
7) Weekly Wrap-Up: The One That Was a Roller Coaster
8) Share it Saturday - Sensory Play Ideas
9) Sunday Showcase - 5/12/13


  1. You are so right about practice. The more you do it the easier it is to put dinner on the table. So glad you are a part of this series, Hwee.

  2. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your kind comment, Savannah! :-)

  3. I think working fast is a good one. I would probably be so much quicker if I could focus on doing one thing at a time, but I get so distracted I end up taking out the rubbish, watering the plants and rearranging the spice drawer while I'm trying to cook! I shall take your very sensible list and try to put it into practice! :-)

  4. I'm about keeping it simple and quick too. Can't say I always like cooking, I go through phases.

  5. Thank you, Lucinda and Erin, for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I just like cooking and preparing food. I think it's the chemistry and change that take place from raw materials to scrummy food that excites me. :-)

  6. I need to work on making a complete list to avoid multiple trips to the store each week. This would be both a money and time saver. I totally agree with keeping it simple. Now that spring is here, we are cooking out on the grill most nights. I love easy clean up!

  7. One thing I do to help cooking meals and saving time is to make double batches and serve the meal twice, warming it up on the stove or microwave, and having different side dishes so it seems like a totally different meal. For example, I might roast a lot of boneless chicken and one night is roasted chicken with rice and veggies and the next chopped chicken salad.

  8. Robin - thank you for stopping by and sharing your tips. Making a weekly list has been a big step for me towards cutting on trips to the supermarket. Cooking out on the grills is such a summer thing to do in the UK. I'm glad to hear that you're already enjoying it where you are!

  9. Jessy - I work very much the same way as you do, i.e. cooking larger portions and warming it up for the following days. It really saves time and effort. Thank you very much for sharing your tip with us. It really works, doesn't it? :-)

  10. Great tips! Thanks for sharing with us at Share It Saturday!
    Colleen at www.sugaraunts.com


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