Weeknight cooking can be a burden, especially when you fail to plan your meals. About 50% of Americans spend no more than 60 minutes whipping up a meal on weeknights, and some do it without much planning. This shows that things could be simple and stress-free. Taking the stress out of weeknight cooking is the key to looking forward to fixing a meal on those busy days. It can even encourage you to cook more at home. Here are some tips for doing this right.
- Use the slow and pressure cookers more
What makes the slow cooker a kitchen appliance to have is its versatility. It can be used to cook a wide variety of meals without the hassle. Moreover, the fact that it uses less electricity pushes it a few notches up the ‘must have’ ladder. Its hands-off cooking approach makes it more important to use it during the week. Weekdays are usually stressful, and cooking is the last thing on your mind at the end of a long tiring day. However, if you set the slow cooker before leaving in the morning, food will be ready when you return home.
When using the slow cooker, knowing how long each meal type takes to cook is helpful. It takes eight to twelve hours when the appliance is on low heat. On the other hand, when put on high, it will take anywhere from four to six hours for your dish to be ready. All it takes is remembering to prep the night before and deciding whether to use low or high heat. The science behind pressure cookers is to trap superheated steam for preparing meals. Additionally, it cooks 30% faster than traditional methods, which makes it an ideal appliance for a weeknight dinner. Therefore, when you return home from a busy weekday, your pressure cooker can take some stress off your cooking.
- Re-assess your current cooking methods
Traditional cooking methods like boiling, frying, steaming, braising, baking, grilling, etc., are widely used in many US households. However, each one has peculiar advantages and disadvantages. For example, while boiling may be quicker, a lot of vital nutrients get absorbed into the water. This is why you may want to review your weeknight cooking method.
Roasting is quicker, requires less fat, and enhances food flavor. Consequently, you may want to add more foods that require this method to your meal plans, and this new recipe for oven-roasted Brussel sprouts is a good example. They are delightful additions to your weeknight dinner table.
- Focus more on quick-cooking proteins
For starters, not all foods cook the same, with some taking longer than others. And fast-cooking ingredients are what you should be aiming for on those weeknights. Proteins like fish, chicken, eggs, and thin cuts of beef are some options to consider. They save you the stress of waiting too long to cook before eating. For vegetarians, quick-cooking proteins like tofu and tempeh are excellent options that don’t require much time to be ready. As a tip, you will want to avoid cooking them when frozen, as it will take 50% longer to be ready. Now, that defeats the purpose of stress-free weeknight cooking. Instead, thaw them in the refrigerator before leaving home. When you return, it will be thawed enough to aid in quicker cooking.