Family meal times can and often do happen in a disorganised flash. Many recipes promise you’ll have a simple, tasty meal on the table in no time at all. Only for you to find you’re still trying to find all the ingredients and utensils 15 minutes later. Sigh!
Being prepared is the art of cooking a meal in super quick fashion! If you have everything you need within easy reach the need to go hunting through your pantry half way through the recipe (often with mucky hands) will become a thing of your disorganised past!
Have you ever been to a friends kitchen and had kitchen envy at how family meal times are sleek and organised.
Do you feel like you are watching a perfectly rehearsed theatre production? All the family know their roles and a healthy delicious meal is on the table in a perfectly presented flurry of knives, forks and pretty plates in no time at all?! Yep – us too!!
Some people just have the innate ability to be able to follow a recipe, they know where everything is and thrive on the challenge of ensuring their family meal times are fuss free and easy. The kids are even in on the act too.
Well stress no more, we have a few ‘tried and tested’ hints and tips to help make your family meal times easy and AWESOME!
Take time to read through a recipe and find everything you need, place all the ingredients on the kitchen counter top so you can just grab as and when you need them!
Making sure you have all the kitchen utensils the recipe calls for at hand, will help too – there is nothing more annoying than using a bowl that’s too small for all your ingredients or trying to finely slice garlic because you couldn’t find your garlic press.
If like us, you like to break the rules of a recipe that’s fine too. Unlike baking, cooking’s not an exact science and you can experiment with your own measurements. Add a bit more chilli to a recipe if you like your dish hotter or use strong cheddar instead of parmesan.
Do you ever wonder why your dish never looks like the food in the pictures of the recipe? It’s not meant to; your dish is as individual as you and as long as it tastes nice and the family devour it, what more could you want?! Besides, most recipe photos have been created in a professional test kitchen to make everything look perfect, so cut yourself some slack!
When you’re short on time and the family are pounding the table for their dinner, using up those long forgotten pantry essentials will not only encourage you to use what you have, but will kick start you into being creative in the kitchen!
There’s nothing easier than boiling some dried pasta and topping it with jarred marinara sauce or a quick marinara made with canned tomatoes. Quick and easy, that’s what we’re all about!
We’ve all got endless bags of open pasta in our pantry, I know I’m guilty of that, so why not mix your leftover bags of pasta together – the kids will love finding new shapes to munch on. Dinner doesn’t have to look perfect, so long as it tastes delicious, who cares what it looks like?!
Finish off your super quick pasta dish by tossing the pasta in the sauce and serving it family-style, in the middle of the table so everyone can help themselves, with toasted breadcrumbs as a garnish on top. Bellissimo!
Indy Chef Tip: Drain or spin your pasta to remove most of the water, but don’t let drained pasta sit and “dry off”. As it cools, the starches will firm up and the pasta will stick together. Leave a small amount of water on the pasta, that is, don’t drain it and let it sit in the colander, drain it enough for the water to drain but leaving a little left on the pasta, quickly tip the pasta back into the pot and drizzle with some olive oil to coat the pasta, this way the sauce will stick better to the pasta as well. Add the sauce as soon as possible and serve!
Yes it is possible. Most Chefs can promise you a tasty meal in 15 minutes, but we like to build in a buffer!
An extra five minutes can make the difference between serving your family a meal in a cool and collected manner or rushing their meal to the table sweating, red faced and frustrated because you failed to prep and cook the meal in 15 minutes. Who want’s that?
Relax, chill out and take another five minutes. We won’t tell!
Our super tasty and easy Chinese Beef and Broccoli dish can be prepped and served to your family within 20 minutes (or less if you like a challenge). How cool’s that? Or, if you want to go ‘meatless’ for one day a week you could always substitute the Beef for Tofu or even Fish!
Your Family meal times should be a time to enjoy good food and catch up on your day, not a time to stress. So take your time and enjoy it.
Indy Chef Tip: Add as many vegetables as you like to the Fajita mix. Veggies such as peppers, zucchini, onion or even shredded carrot will boost your families veggie intake. So delicious, they’ll never know it’s got veggies in it and it’s actually good for them!
How about treating the family to a mid week family meal time Mexican favourite? Our quick Chicken Fajitas are nutritious and delicious, the kids will love building their own tortilla wraps.
In the Indy Chef kitchen, we’ve all decided there’s one night of the week where we just want someone else to take care of cooking the family meal for us, and that’s Friday night.
After a long week cooking, organising and shopping, we think you deserve a break, seriously!
Simply hand this super easy Indian Chicken Coconut Curry or Pork Tikka Masala to your family and set them the task of cooking for you for a change. As long as kids are supervised by an adult, they’ll love to feel involved in the kitchen!
If you’re lucky enough to have a night in without the kids, spend time to cook the recipes with your loved one; cooking together can be both calming and enjoyable and a great way to catch up on what’s happened in your day.
We realise it’s not quite the ‘takeout’ you were thinking of, but the recipes are healthier and you know exactly what ingredients are in each dish. Besides, nine times out of ten your home cooked meal always ends up tasting better, so why not give it a try?
Your family may just enjoy spoiling you for a change too.
So instead of Family meal times being stressful, cut down the stress and remember to plan ahead. If you take time to know what you have in your pantry, meal times can be the well rehearsed theatre production you always dreamed of. You just need to make sure you’re the leading lady or man!