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7 mummy hacks that will change the way you cook dinner.

Jo Abi with her kids in the kitchen.

By JO ABI

Cooking dinner used to be so much fun. I’d cook meals and bask in the compliments as everyone at the dinner party devoured everything in sight.

Then I became a mum.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

– The longer you spend cooking a meal, the less your children will like it;

– The less time you spend cooking a meal, the less your children will like it;

– What they love today they may reject tomorrow;

– Having to think of a meal idea every single night that is doable, healthy and affordable is enough to make you swig the cooking wine when nobody is looking.

But cooking can be made easier by using some simple dinner-hacks. It’s not about cutting corners. It’s about cooking smart. And you’ll be an efficient, savvy, kitchen-ninja in no time.

 Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Dairylea. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in her own words.

Presenting seven dinner-hacks that will change your life…

1. Mummy Hack: Pasta master.

Cooking delicious pasta sauce is easy, if you use passata instead of peeled tomatoes or actual tomatoes. Passata is pureed tomatoes. It’s already smoothed and cooked down so your pasta dinner will be ready in half the time.

But how to open those bloody jars?

I’m not sure if I have weaker than average wrists, but I could never get them open until I learned this hack that changed my life. I’m no longer intimidated by jars.

All you have to do is break the seal first, by hitting the lid with a hard object, such as a spoon quite firmly while rotating the jar.

2. Mummy Hack for toasted sandwiches.

A toasted sandwich isn’t just for lunch or a snack, it can be for dinner. All you need to do is fancy up the fillings.

Fill your toasted sandwich with baked beans, creamed corn, chicken with cheese and avocado. But if your toasting machine is on the blink, use an iron. Yes, an iron.

And you thought you hated ironing.

Put whatever fillings you desire between two slices of bread. Then wrap the sandwich in foil, and sit an iron on top of it for a few minutes. Turn the sandwich over and sit the iron on the other side. This leaves the sandwich looking like it’s been toasted in one of those fancy cafe-style sandwich presses I’ve been meaning to buy one forever but haven’t yet.

3. No spill Mummy Hack.

My kids lose their minds whenever I make what we refer to as Chicken Soup Pasta. All I do is boil water, add some small pasta shells or bows, add two tablespoons of powered chicken stock and boil it until the pasta is done.

Don’t drain it. Serve it as a soup. And sometimes you’ll even get away with grating some zucchini into it.

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But don’t let it spill over while simmering and bubbling away because it’s really hard to clean. So here’s how you stop that from happening; Place a wooden spoon over the top of the pot. No spills at all.

4. Breakfast for dinner – egg Mummy Hack.

Have you ever had breakfast for dinner? It’s so much fun and such a cool novelty, not to mention much healthier than many takeaway choices.

Whip up three of your children’s favourite breakfast foods such as scrambled eggs, toast and hash browns, and watch them dig in.

And by the way, you’ve probably been cracking eggs all wrong. If you find it impossible to pick shells out of the bowl while cooking with eggs, then you need to crack them using the side of the bowl, not the rim.

5. Melted cheese Mummy Hack.

Here’s a little secret…melt cheese over anything and it looks like you’ve gone to a bit of trouble. And delicious, bubbling melted cheese just makes everyone happy.

Whether it be melted cheese on toast, baked beans on toast with melted cheese on top of it, pita bread with some ham, olives and melted cheese or over plain pasta or rice. Cheese it up and dinner is served.

Forget about using the grill for your cheese, you can melt it in the microwave. Just pop it on a plate, leave it in the microwave for 30 seconds and it’s ready.

6. Garlic Mummy Hack for fancy sausage rolls.

Always keep a couple of packets of frozen puff pastry in your freezer. It comes in a healthier variety too and can make any leftovers into a quick dinner. You can make pies or sausage rolls, which are even easier.

To make a sausage roll just roll your leftovers up in puff pastry and bake them with full garlic cloves for extra, easy flavour. It’s absolutely delicious. Don’t worry. Peeling garlic is easy. Just put it in a metal bowl, place another metal bowl upside down on top of it, hold them together and shake it really, really hard.

7. Mummy Hack for Bruschetta.

Bruschetta is an Italian starter that normally describes any topping that can be heaped on top of bread. Traditional bruschetta is made out of tasty bread, tomato, olive oil, garlic and basil.

But cutting those tomatoes up is fiddly, particularly my favourite ones, cherry tomatoes. Here’s a tip. Take your cherry tomatoes, put them on a flat plate, place another flat plate on the top of them and then run the knife in between the two plates.

So, do you have some Mummy Hacks we should know about? Send them through on the form below for your chance to WIN.

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What are the ‘life-hacking’ secrets to your Mummy success? Share your creative MUMMY HACKS and you could WIN the ULTIMATE MUMMY HACK Holiday – 7 nights in a tropical Queensland resort -thanks to DAIRYLEA. There’s a Kids Club, so you can relax while they’re entertained all day long!  

See mummyhacks.com.au/competition for full details and T&Cs.

Look out in your supermarket for our new yummy cheese range, with nothing artificial added – they’re a simple MUMMY HACK snack that’ll keep a smile on kids’ faces!

DAIRYLEA, the DAIRYLEA device and MUMMY HACK are trade marks of Mondelez International Group used under licence.