Imagine if Superman was real. Seriously. Imagine. But not as the superhero that you know…
No, rather than saving the stolen royal diamonds and stopping the bad guys before they get away, this Superman (or most likely, Superwoman, because you know it’s actually women that are super) well, she turned up at your place, every night, at about 7, with dinner. WITH DINNER?!
That’s right, with dinner. “Hahaha!” you’re thinking or “As if! I wish!”
Yes, dinnertime can be stressful. Strike that. Dinnertime IS OFTEN stressful. Everyone’s hungry, everyone’s busy and everyone wants to eat NOW.
Not only is there pressure to get food on the table as quickly as possible, but parents these days are criticised for so many different things, it’s insane. They criticise us for eating meat, for not eating meat, for not buying organic, for having carbs, for not having enough carbs, for including too many options on our families’ plates, for not providing our families with enough options, for being or not being paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, fruitarian, pescatarian and every other type of eater that exists. It is so utterly exhausting.
But take comfort, fellow parents. According to a North Carolina University study, the "family meal" ideal is stressful, and we need to stop idolising a home-cooked family dinner as the ultimate display of perfect parenting.
Rather, it is suggested that more benefit will result from spending the time and energy it used to take whipping up the perfect meal, to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. To have a family catch-up and to share jokes and stories from the day with one another. This is far more valuable than having handmade the bread that accompanies your soup at mealtime.
As a food blogger, one of the main things that I am asked about is dinner. People far and wide ask for tips to create an evening meal that is not only delicious and nutritious, but that also doesn’t take six months to make. So, below I am going to share with you my top four pieces of advice when it comes to meal preparation.
You need to take as many shortcuts as you can when cooking, not just at dinner but at any time and for anyone. Making a pie? Buy the pastry, for god’s sake, buy the pastry. Ain’t nobody got time for all that rolling and layering. And who REALLY wants to see how much butter goes into puff pastry?! Not me! One of my favourite shortcut recipes is my aptly named "Cheat’s spanakopita". It calls for two pieces of store-bought puff pastry, a handful of baby spinach leaves, an egg and some cheese. It takes three minutes to whip up and then just 30 in the oven. It is DELIGHTFUL. And it’s also a shortcut meal. Shoot me.
The next tip I have for people is “Stop thinking that you have to make every part of your meal from scratch!” Got five minutes to chop up a salad but that’s where your time ends? Then it would be my suggestion that you buy some chicken pieces with a side of mash and serve it all together! A delicious, balanced, simple meal that the whole family will no doubt enjoy. KFC has recently added a sweet potato mash to their sides menu and I can tell you first hand it is super tasty! The perfect supplement to their delicious chicken.
Now while it is often more expensive to buy entire meals than it can be to make them, sometimes this isn’t the case. These days it’s super affordable to buy a variety of soups from your local supermarket or deli and to serve them with some hot crusty bread. Try a few different flavours of soup out during the week for your lunch, and then choose the yummiest one to give to everyone else for a mid-week meal.
4. Be Prepared.
Often people find that they are less busy on weekends than they are during the week. So why not use a bit of this time to get some of your weekly dinners underway. Stews and soups freeze really well, so you can make batches in advance. In addition to this, turn Sunday night’s dinner into Monday night’s too. The way to do this is to prepare something on the Sunday night, like a roast chook, whose leftovers can be converted into something hearty the following night, like chicken enchiladas. Alternatively, last night’s leg of lamb can be tonight’s lamb pie. Last night’s spaghetti sauce can reappear in tonight’s lasagne and so on.
So remember, at the end of the day, you have not failed at life because you didn't catch the fish you're serving for dinner tonight and you didn't grow the tomatoes for the Greek salad. Help take the pressure off by following some of my tips. I promise it’s worth it.
Now pass me some more of that KFC sweet potato mash.
What are your dinner shortcuts? Please share with us below, we wanna know!
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner KFC.
Introducing KFC's all NEW Sweet Potato Mash, which is the perfect winter sidekick to any meal. Made from real sweet potato, it’s tasty mashed up goodness with a sweet twist. For a limited time, it’s just $2 with any meal. So come and get it at KFC.