Let’s be honest, who can’t use a few extra minutes in their lives? Every busy, at-home cook would love some extra time to relax. While it seems impossible to save time between the kids' packed schedules or your own daily work load, there is some hope when it comes to dinner, we promise!
Cooking one-pot meals can be the ultimate way to save time. Whether it’s through a skillet, a large cooking pot or creating a delicious meal in a single dish, a one-pot meal saves time, money and sometimes a person's sanity.
Mise En Place
Before even beginning the meal, a number one time saver is preparing what is called “mise en place.” It's French for “putting in place.” This prep technique is about placing all of the needed ingredients out on the counter, measured and ready to go. This means no more burnt food when searching for the butter!
It’s always a double win when you can save money and time while cooking. Become a winner by purchasing meat with both the skin and bones. According to cookbook author Tamar Adler, the skin and meat of an ingredient can be used for more than one meal. Adler loves pairing salmon with one meal, and the salmon skin with another over sauteed spinach.
Too Sweet, Too Salty, Too Much
Nothing is as anxiety inducing as discovering that a meal is off-seasoned, especially when it’s cooked all at once. Whether it’s too spicy, salty or sweet, there’s a fix! For a meal that’s too spicy, add some lemon juice. Lemon juice is also great for when things are too sweet, but if you’re out of that, a touch of vinegar will do. For the ultimate cooking sin, too much salt, it’s all about a touch of vinegar and sugar. This makes cooking one-pot meals foolproof!
A Saucy Touch
Not too sure which herbs to use when flavoring your one-pot meal? Ignore the spice rack and head towards a flavored sauce. We suggest a sauce like Prego’s Savory Bacon Sauce paired with mac n’ cheese and some ranch flavoring which gives an update to the standard schooltime favorite. Having the flavor built-in to the sauce creates a quick and easy shortcut without risking going too far with the seasoning.
Oodles of Easy Noodles
When cooking pasta dishes, the largest time consumer is cooking the pasta. Many children aren’t fans of al dente and crave soft, easy to eat noodles. To save some time on boiling, put pasta noodles in a water-filled bag overnight or for, at least, a couple of hours. This will prep the pasta ahead of time and allow you to add it straight to a hot pan or cooking dish. We suggest using this technique with this yummy Baked Ziti recipe to make the most irresistible family meal ever.
Nothing is better than throwing a bunch of ingredients together and coming out with a heart-warming meal. By using some of these helpful tips and great recipes, these easy to make one-pot meals will become a highlight in your family’s dinner rotation.
For more dinnertime recipes, visit Womensforum's "Mealtime, Family Time" Pinterest page.