By Tenina Holder, Cooking with Tenina
When you walk through the door of an afternoon, most of the time the last thing you feel like doing is cooking dinner.
And let’s face it, trying to make sure your kids are eating enough nourishing food, dealing with fussy eaters, navigating allergies, and not blowing over your weekly groceries budget… it’s enough to make you lose your freaking mind.
Lucky for you, I’ve been there and I know what it’s like… cereal and toast for dinner has rescued me on many occasions and is one of my all time favs.
HERE ARE MY TOP TIPS FOR FEEDING YOUR FAMILY FOR LESS AND SAVING YOU TIME. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!
1 // EMBRACE LEFTOVERS
“Double Duty” dinners are the best way to cut down on extra time in the kitchen. Cook plenty of protein on night one, then re-purpose the leftovers on night two. For example, roast chicken with all the trimmings for night one and on night two, shred the leftover chicken and make a salad to serve with flatbread or even make a pizza.
2 // THE SLOW COOKER IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
Literally throwing a bunch of ingredients into a slow cooker in the morning as you race out the door is the biggest mum secret there is. If you have minced beef, onion, garlic, tinned tomatoes, seasoning and any veggies that are lurking in the bottom of your fridge, you have the base for a stack of tasty meals – serve it over pasta, in a pie, as a bowlful of steamy hot goodness with hot toast, with mashed or baked potato or cauliflower rice. Depending on the numbers of mouths to feed, you could stretch it over a number of nights, saving you even more time.
3 // SHOP ONLINE
There is nothing more time consuming or annoying than juggling a baby in one arm and groceries in the other, or running in and out of the shops with a car full of kids grabbing at chips and lollies! Instead, jump online and have your groceries delivered straight to your door or Click and Collect.
4 // MAKE MONDAYS MEATLESS
Veggie-based meals are not only cheap, they’re nutrient dense. Make sure you include some heavy duty veggies, like eggplant and mushrooms, to fill those bellies and keep everyone satisfied.
5 // GET CREATIVE
Play your very own version of MasterChef’s ‘Mystery Box’ and cook only from your pantry one night a week. Come on, dig around back there and you are sure to find a tin of tuna or two, a bag of pasta, tinned beans and perhaps even something decadent like truffle salt, bought on a whim ages ago.
6 // USE YOUR FREEZER
Don’t let the bread lie around getting stale or mouldy. Gross! Instead, freeze it and thaw slices as you use them. Kale or spinach on special at the supermarket? Rinse, dry and chop it before popping into containers. Not only does it stay fresher for longer, there’s zero waste and it’s ready for whenever you need it – put straight into whatever you’re cooking or into boiling water for a quick blanche before serving. Voila!
7 // BREAKFAST FOR DINNER
As a mum of five kids, there were nights when piano practice, basketball training, dancing, homework, teacher/parent interviews, or any number of other events interfered with my normal routine. So we would have breakfast for dinner. My kids loved it and of course, it’s very cheap to whip up a batch of pancakes, a big old pot of porridge or toast with eggs. French toast was never a fail. It was like dessert for dinner. The kids weren’t opposed to a massive bowl of cold cereal either, so ease up on yourself. It’s 5pm and nothing happening? Breakfast is served! Come and get it.