It’s a nightly race in many households to get home from work or school and then get dinner on the table. Menu planning, shopping, cooking, and cleaning all take time and effort, which can be challenging at the end of a long day. Fortunately, there are some ways to make the weeknight dinner rush easier and less stressful. Check out these eight ideas:
1. Prep ingredients in advance to save time.
When you’re putting up groceries, go ahead and chop those onions, juice the lemons, and wash and slice vegetables. You can even measure out recipe ingredients to store in containers or ziplock bags in the refrigerator. These steps can save you valuable time when it’s time to pull dinner together.
2. Keep recipes to as few ingredients as possible.
Recipes with long ingredient lists require more prep work, more measuring, more shopping, and can be more expensive to make, as well. Choose simple, straightforward recipes during the busy workweek and save more complex dishes to make on the weekends or days off when you have more time.
3. Cook extra batches.
While you’re making your household’s favorite recipes, go ahead and double or even triple the ingredients. You can freeze the extra portions or put them in the refrigerator for a repeat performance later in the week. Either way, you’re getting bonus meals with minimal additional time and effort.
4. Learn to cook with slow cookers and instant pots.
These handy kitchen appliances can be great timesavers for busy cooks. With slow cookers, you can prep and simmer recipes while you’re away from home, so dinner is ready when you walk in the door. Instant pots cook foods quickly, cutting the time it takes to get dinner on the table. Experiment with these devices to find some staple recipes that your family enjoys.
5. Have a dedicated salad or sandwich night each week.
Sometimes no-cook evenings are the best solutions to the dinner rut, especially during hot weather. Pick a regular night for serving healthy salads or sandwiches and give your stove and yourself a needed break.
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6. Consider a meal delivery service.
Whether it’s a single night or several nights a week, scheduling a meal delivery service can be a great way to ensure healthy dinners with minimal time. Since the meals arrive with all the ingredients and instructions, you’ll save time planning, shopping, and preparation time while still serving a freshly prepared dinner.
7. The last thing you need after cooking a weeknight meal is to spend even more time in the kitchen cleaning.
Line baking pans with foil or parchment paper to make clean-up easy. Wash and put away cooking vessels and utensils as you go, or put them into the sink to soak while you eat. Using vegetable sprays on pots and pans can also help cut the time it takes to rinse and wash them after use.
8. Take advantage of grocery pickup and delivery services.
Shopping for groceries can be time-consuming, so opt to complete your grocery list online instead. Then, all you have to do is swing by the store to pick up the items at the appointed time or open the door to accept the delivery. You’ll have more time to cook or to have some downtime for yourself.
Another way to help make weeknight meals easier is to have an HSA℠ home warranty plan in place. A home warranty is a one-year contract that covers the repair or replacement of components of many major home systems and appliances. With an HSA home warranty, you’ll have a resource to call for covered malfunctions, which can help get your kitchen back in working order. You’ll also enjoy budget protection and friendly service from HSA professionals. Visit onlinehsa.com for more information.