5 Tips for Getting Dinner Ready in a Flash

Posted by JMom | Thursday, October 08, 2009 | | 0 comments »

Samsung Appliances, via TwitterMoms, is having a contest where bloggers answer the question, "With Our Busy Schedules, What Are Your 3 Valid Tips for Getting Dinner Ready in a Flash?”

I am a mom to three teenage girls and I also work full time outside the home. On most days, we don't get home until way past six in the evening and it is usually up to me to get dinner ready in under an hour. That's why I love quick and easy meals and stir fried dishes are one of them. I can have dinner ready in under an hour and it is, for the most part, a healthy and balanced meal.

Here's a few tips that I've found to work for me.
1. Plan Ahead - when you plan your meals ahead of time, you can have elements of it prepared ahead and ready to go. For instance, you can cook a roast on the weekend and plan to make two or three dishes with it during the week. Whatever meat you cook on the weekend, you can plan on making a pasta dish with it one night, you can have a Mexican meal night with tacos, burritos or enchiladas another night, and on the third night, you can make soup with all the tidbits leftover.

2. With planning ahead, you can also prepare your ingredients ahead of time. I can't afford to buy pre-cut meats and vegetables so I try to do most of these myself. If you're planning on a stirfry meal, for instance, the largest bulk of work and time is in the preparation. What I do is, I chop up my vegetables and meats on the weekend, put them in ziploc bags and put them in the freezer. BTW, for added flavor, you can marinade your meats and put them in the freezer. Then when it's time to cook, just start tossing them in the wok and you'll have dinner ready in the time it takes to cook rice.

3. FROZEN MEALS. I'm not talking about the frozen meals in the box that you buy at the grocery store. I'm talking about freezing pre-cooked meals that you can just warm up. If you make chili, soups or spaghetti sauce, for instance, make a big batch and freeze half of it. You can freeze them either in family portions or in individual portions. This comes in handy when the kids come home from school hungry. Instead of snacking on sugary and unhealthy snacks, they can heat up a bowl of soup or chili. Sometimes, when my girls have a hearty 'snack' like this in the afternoon they are usually sated for the rest of the night. Having individual portions is also great for their lunches. They can either warm them up before packing them in their lunch boxes or they can warm them up at school if they have microwaves.

4. Have a repertoire of Quick & Easy Dishes. Learn a handful of quick and easy recipes that you can tweak every now and then, and you'll have a steady stream of ideas that will keep your meals varied and not boring for the family. That's why I love stir fried dishes, for instance, because it always involves lots of vegetables and it's quick to fix. I can alternate meats and types of vegetables so the it doesn't seem like the family is eating beef and broccoli all the time. Mexican dishes like burritos and tacos are also easily adaptable to the type of ingredients you have on hand and they're easy and quick to make.

5. Menu Collection. When all else fails, call for take out. Yep, as much as I like preparing healthy home cooked meals for my girls, there are days when you just don't feel like it, or don't have time or don't have anything prepared. I have a file folder full of places near our house that either deliver or make great tasting and healthy for you food. You can also save coupons in the folder so it's on hand when you call in your order.

Do you have any tips for getting dinner ready in a flash? Would you like to win a brand new refrigerator? Visit Twitter Moms for details on the Samsung Blogging Sweepstakes.

Entries must be received by October 16, 2009.

• One lucky blogger with a qualifying entry will win a free Samsung Refrigerator (RFG297AARS) http://www.samsung.com/us/consumer/appliances/refrigerators/frenchd...

About Samsung Home Appliances:
"Need Home Appliances that help run your home? Bring It On. Whether it’s one of the largest French Door Refrigerators, or the quietest Washer in its class,* you’ll discover that Samsung Home Appliances bring the perfect balance of innovation, convenience, and savings to your home."

No purchase necessary to enter or win. You must be a legal resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia, have a personal blog and be a registered user of the www.twittermoms.com and www.twitter.com websites to enter and at least 18 years of age or older at time of entry. Entries must be received by 11:59 PM ET on 10/16/09. Click here for Official Rules.

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