Five Kitchen Tools/Dishes for Busy Parents

Written by on July 23, 2012 in Family - No comments | Print this page

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I love to cook, so even when my schedule has been full to the max I still find myself trying to make something fabulous from scratch to feed my family.

Yes, sometimes I break down and we eat frozen pizza or some other instant, out of the box solution, but I do try to prepare home cooked meals as much as possible.

 
Here are five kitchen tools/dishes that I could not live without and that most busy cooks under utilize:

1) Slow-cooker/Crock-pot: The slow cooker is my hands down kitchen savior. There are a lot of really great slow cooker recopies online and in books for easy home cooked meals like chilies, stews, soups, ribs, chicken dishes, and pot roasts. Using your slow-cooker requires you to prep everything the night before but it will allow you to come home to a warm, ready-to-eat meal which will almost feel like somebody cooked it for you. One thing you have to watch for is that anything cream based does not tend to work well as the cream breaks down during long cooking times. Also, any raw meat should be added to the crock pot when you are ready to turn it on rather than leave it in with all the other ingredients over night due to the possibility of cross contamination.

2) Muffin Tin: These are super handy for way more than muffins. You can make a quick and delicious breakfast by placing a slice of ham in each cup, crack in an egg and top with a bit of cheese and bake until done (sorry search this online for an exact recipe). You can make individual meatloaves that cook a lot faster than the full size version, look cute and are kid friendly. You can also use muffin tins to reuse leftovers such as baked mac and cheese portions – let your imagination go wild and your stove top take a nap.

3)  Casserole Dish: Oh how I love casseroles. They’re so easy and there are an endless number of varieties. They make great leftovers and freeze beautifully. When I was commuting 2 hours each way a day I got in the habit of freezing casseroles that I could then put in the oven in the morning, program the oven to come on at a certain time, voila! We came home to a warm meal. It was such of a comfort and the leftovers provided easy lunches for the following day.

4)  Tinfoil: Tinfoil is amazing as you can cook just about anything in it. Wrap up some chicken, potatoes and carrots with some butter and spices, cook it in the oven and you have a meal in a bag that will stay moist, flavorful and best of all, minimal clean up! Parchment paper also works great, especially for cooking more delicate meats like fish.

5) Dutch oven: Again the theme here is one pot meal. These are great for stews and pot roasts, but they can also be really great for baking chickens in the oven or baking veggies (if you get a stainless or cast iron version). There are lots of one pot meals out there and these will save you so much time in the prep department and the clean up dept.

If you are not a fan of cooking, then finding ways to save time and effort will be something you can appreciate and if you do love to cook there are lots of really great options for using all of the above kitchen buddies. There will always be days when take-out, boxed meals or toast and jam win out over a home cooked meal but for days when you want to put something made by Mom (or Dad) on the table, these five dishes will do wonders for your budget, your sanity and your tummy.

I am always looking for further kitchen tips so if anybody has some to share, please do!!

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About the Author

Jenessa Blanchet

I am a working mother of two, with a passion for writing and lending a literary helping hand to fellow parents and family enthusiasts. Born and raised on the west coast, I have a love of the outdoors; sailing, beaching and all things wonderful including constantly trying to keep a handle on family life. View all posts on Family Life.