SELF CARE FOR PARENTS
How To Have Meals on the Table in Minutes
Do you ever feel like there are never enough hours in the day and you always seem to be rushing?
Two things can make a big difference:
1. When a gift of time presents itself (e.g. kid's sport is rained out) use the half a day cooking large amounts of meals.
Simultaneously cook up multiple different meals, reusing pots as you go
You make one huge mess and then daily life has a much reduced mess
2. The use of a freezer
Easy, safe storage of large amounts of food
Allows for greater variety of pre-prepared meals
Here I have chicken thigh fillets cooked and rolled ready for quick stir fries or wraps.
I also always keep wholemeal flour in freezer so it doesn’t get pantry moth.
I use the same size flat rectangular containers for storing foods in the freezer as I do for my salads.
Containers store the appropriate amounts for four people for curries, stews, spaghetti bolognaise sauce.
Chinese food containers work well to store meals for one or two people and also stack very well.
2. To combat this free time starved lifestyle I had what I would call cooking days.
This was when I would spend a morning cooking; and I would cook massive amounts of foods and freeze them.
If plans I had were cancelled, like say, if my child’s sport was rained out, I saw I had a gift of time which I wasn’t expecting.
I've often made 16 to 22 meals for a family of four. I had at least 2 pots cooking away on the stove at the same time as the slow cooker and the frying pan on the bench. While I made a mess at the time, it was one huge mess once not lots of messes daily. I washed and reused pots and cutting boards as I went and this reduced the overall mess.
And just one busy morning saved me a month of stressful afternoons of food prep.
This efficient use of my time meant I would go out to the supermarket/ butcher very early and get the larger volumes of foods to accommodate the large amounts of food I intended to cook.
This can also be a great way of catching up with your mum, mother-in-law, dad or a family friend that loves you but you never get enough time to see. They will often quite happily work alongside you, especially knowing that they are helping you.
Making Family Life Easy 4
1. The kitchen appliance that made the greatest difference for me was a freezer. And it saved me so much time and money over the years.
I always make at least double quantities of spaghetti, curries or stews which I freeze for use later. But I usually try to ideally make quadruple quantities of these recipes and store them.
I understand that many of you may put in very long hours. My son as a young surgery registrar regularly puts in twelve or thirteen hour days, often longer. He does it day after day. At times he’s had shifts of ten days straight doing fifteen hour days, or nights.
Recently when I looked at some of the organizational aspects of his life it reminded me of the strategies that I used when I had no spare time at all. When you are arriving at home with a family at seven o’clock at night you need food on the table within ten to fifteen minutes.
On these days I would rush out to the butcher and buy fresh meat and chicken. I'd cook up:
2kg (5 lb) lots of mince for spaghetti (at least 4 meals),
6 huge slices of chuck steak in the slow cooker for Mexican steak (3 or 4 meals),
16 chicken fillets for each lot of curry I made (at least 3 meals each),
12 lamb forequarter chops for lamb stew (at least 2 meals maybe 3).
Put on some music and have some fun with it. I help my son out in this way and it's enjoyable, bonding and productive.
The use of the freezer means that if you cook large amounts of foods you don’t have to eat it day after day until it is gone.
The biggest and best advantage is if you know you'll be coming home late, you can put the pre-made frozen food in the fridge ready for that evening. Dinner takes as long as it takes to boil a kettle and cook the pasta or rice.
You'll note I've allowed large portion sizes for my meals and that's deliberate.
In my home the teenagers were often hungry and I found that leftovers were devoured as soon as they came through the door. Having quality food available allowed them to eat well, even though their schedules may have been haphazard, due to either work commitments, or study demands.
For more Time and Money Saving Ideas go to the following links:
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