Being a working mum is hard. You come in after a long day at work and immediately have to put on your mum hat. You don’t get a chance to relax, you need to get dinner on and feed the family. Often the first phrase you are met with when you walk in the door is “Mum, what’s for dinner?” You know the family are hungry and won’t wait long without getting grumpy. It can be hard to think of a meal and often you just want something that is quick and easy to make. The last think you want to do is to make a big meal that takes lots of effort. All you want to do is to get dinner on the table as quickly as possible. It is possible, you need the working mums meals survival guide. Five ways to ensure you have food on the table as quickly as possible.
Never underestimate the power of meal planning. Every weekend I write a list of what meals I am going to have during the week and then go out and do my shopping. I make sure I get all the ingredients I need and put the list on my fridge so I know what I am going to make when I get in. The meals can be swapped about but the advantage is you know everything is ready and you won’t find you are missing a crucial ingredient when you start cooking.
When you know what you are cooking you can do a lot of preparation the day before. Make sure all the dishes are washed and get the pots and pans ready on the stove. If you need to take anything out of the freezer to defrost do it the night before and leave it in the fridge. Get your ingredients ready so everything is to hand. I will often cook something like a shepherds pie at the weekend and have it ready in the fridge so on a Monday I can just bung it in the oven.
The freezer is great in two ways. Firstly if you are making something like spaghetti bolognese, make a big batch. Eat half and freeze half, you then have a meal on standby if you need something in an emergency. Secondly it is great for keeping frozen food, like this selection from Birds Eye.
I love my slow cooker. I put the ingredients into it in the morning before I go to work, switch it on and come home to find dinner ready. All I need to do is to cook some vegetables and serve it up. It is great for doing warming winter stews, ham slow cooked in coke and I have even roasted a chicken in it. It is a great way to make you look like a super mum without much effort.
Make sure you have a few basic store cupboard ingredients in your cupboard. Tuna and pasta can be made into a delicious tuna pasta bake in no time. Cheese and pasta can be made into a macaroni cheese and baked beans on toast is always a quick snack if you are desperate. If you have tins and pasta you can always make something tasty.
How do you survive meal times as a working mum? I would love to know any tips you have.
This post is an entry for #Afterschoolchefs Challenge, sponsored by Birds Eye. Learn more on the Birds Eye Facebook Page