As you may already know, I’m trying out the Trim Healthy Mama plan this month, so we’re eating a lot of meals containing basic ingredients. Of course, it takes a certain amount of time to prepare meals from scratch, so I want to share with you a few tips that might make getting a home cooked meal on the table a little easier… especially if you have a young baby or just generally don’t have a lot of time at dinner time to actually make the meal. So let’s get started!
1. Chop Vegetables/Cut Meat Before Hand
If you have a few minutes while your baby is sleeping in the morning or afternoon, take the opportunity to chop any vegetables and cut up any meat you might need for dinner that night before 5:00 PM rolls around… that way if your baby just wants to be held when you need to make dinner, you don’t have to worry about chopping carrots and celery for your soup… it’s already done! Even if you don’t need those particular vegetables/meat for your dinner that night, go ahead and chop them up if you can squeeze it in and freeze them for later… doing this will also help you avoid letting fresh produce go bad in your refrigerator!
2. Use Your Slow Cooker
Another great option for putting a good meal together is to utilize that slow cooker! Again, you can do the prep in the morning or afternoon, whichever is easier for you, and just adjust the temperature of the slow cooker accordingly. If you’ve already got some chopped vegetables set aside, that’s even better! Then you can simply place whatever your choice of meat is in the cooker along with some vegetables and a sauce or gravy and call it good!
3. Use Sourdough
This might sound odd, since sourdough has to sit for hours to rise and to get the benefits that it offers, but being able to mix up a batch of muffins the night before and not take the time to bake them till morning could actually be easier for you! When using sourdough, you’re allowed to break up the amount of time you need all at once, which can be helpful if you have a baby who only cat naps or you only have little snippets of time to get things done.
4. Freeze Cooked Meat
If you have a bag of cooked ground beef or venison, or a a couple containers of shredded chicken at your disposal, that will save you time when it is time to pull a meal together. Cooked meat can be grabbed and heated up for some quick tacos, chili, taco soup, meat sauce, chicken soup, or whatever else you want!
5. Have a Freezer Cooking Session
If you really want to make dinner time easier, have a full blown freezer cooking session! Cook up a bunch of meals at one time, freeze them, and then all you have to decide is what you’re going to want for dinner in time to let it thaw out and cook! If you can carve out enough time to do that, then you could certainly give it a try… the trick would just be having enough time all at once to get it done!
6. Keep the Essentials On Hand
If you can, keep basic ingredients and meal staples on hand. Things like canned beans, tomatoes, salmon, and corn are good to keep around so you can quickly put together a pot of chili or taco soup, or mix up a dish of Salmon Stuffing. If you don’t have time to chop your own vegetables, buy some frozen ones. If you make your own bread, maybe even try to keep some rolls or a loaf or two in the freezer, as well. And go ahead and slice your loaves before freezing them, so you can just pull one out and let it thaw and not worry about getting out the cutting board or taking the time to cut it. Oh, and try to have some eggs and cheese around while you’re at it. And butter… 😉
Well, I think that’s it for now! I hope these tips will help make dinner time around your house a little bit easier! Have a wonderful day, and check back next week for my next Trim Healthy Mama update!
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