Four years and no kids ago, I was really inspired by Rachael Ray’s 30 minute meals. Gourmet in that short of time? Sign me up! Now that I have a preschooler, a toddler, and a baby due in a few months, 30 minutes of active prep is just too much most nights – especially if I have to use more than one pot to clean up!
This year one of my goals is to cut prep time down to 10-20 minutes most evenings, and there a few things that I have found work and don’t work.
First what doesn’t work for me if I’m in a hurry:
- last-minute decisions about what to eat that night
- multi-tasking, especially talking on the phone
- teaching kids about kitchen safety, food prep, etc while I’m trying to get dinner together in a hurry
- experimenting with new recipes
What does work:
- frozen, pre-cut veggies (particularly onions and green peppers)
- familiar recipes with fewer than 5 ingredients
- a meal plan for the week so I’m not trying to make last-minute substitutions or shopping trips
- microwaveable leftovers – my all-time favorite trick for cutting prep and clean-up time in half
- prepping during naptime or a Veggie Tales
- 0ne child in the kitchen, watching and talking but not touching/helping
How do you handle the pre-dinner crazy time? I’d love to hear other people’s advice and experiences!