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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Dinner made Simple : from Blog Content Guild

I had registered with Blog Content Guild during my initial blogging days. And then I totally forgot about it. But the other day, I received a mail from Sean (of offering to write a guest post for my blog! I really love having other people write for my blog (I'd love to do the same too ) and so I accepted his offer. Over the next few days and a few edits here & there, we have finalized the content. The basic article was written by one of their writers, Brett H about quick and easy dinners. Over to him -
Some of us try to do it all. There’s work, that post graduate degree, adult soccer league, and that’s just if you don’t have kids. Of course, having children is the perfect way to create a chaotic schedule, as any parent knows. Moms dash to PTA meetings, football practice, piano lessons, school and play dates. . .the list goes on and on. By the end of it all, we get home, exhausted, only to hear that dreaded, age-old question: “What’s for dinner?”

So how do you keep the stress to a minimum at dinnertime? Here are some great ways to prepare quick and easy meals that the whole family can enjoy. 

1. Keep Staples Handy - Don’t underestimate the power of the good old staples (of your respective cuisines), like Roti, Rice, Mac n’ cheese, Bean Burritos, Porridge, Tortillas made with Maize, Barley, Millet, Yam, Bananas etc! These main ingredients can be jazzed up or used in lots of different ways so that your palate never gets bored. 
There are plenty of ways to make a classic new again by adding different sauces and herbs, like pesto, garlic, or rosemary. Just imagine your Mac n Cheese with such awesome spices! Food and Wine recommends adding carrot to macaroni and cheese to reduce the fat in the recipe. To make a mac n’ cheese meal complete, you can always add a bit of protein into the mix, like hot dogs, bean balls etc.
Again, a simple tortilla (roti) could be used in a million ways to make a complete meal! Boil Lima beans, then stir fry with other veggies & some salt, red chili powder. Roll it up & you have a nutritious dinner option!

2. Use Small Appliances that do the work for you -   Invest in cooking appliances that can make assembling dinner a breeze. Crock pots can be a great asset to the overwhelmed mom! All you need is a mature, less marbled piece of meat, some veggies, like potatoes, corn, chives, turnips, carrots, or celery, beans, spices and some sauce. You can try using liquor, soy sauce, or tomato sauce to add more flavor to your stew. You can easily change up your typical stew by playing with different spices or sauces. For a classic flavor try parsley and garlic and for the more exotic palate, opt for curry, cumin, or cardamom. Throw all of your ingredients into the mix in the morning, let them mingle for eight hours, then serve for dinner. The best part about slow-cooker stews? They can be easily stowed away and served as leftovers days later.

A panini grill can also come in handy when you’re trying to bust out a fast, yet delicious dinner. Make a quick stop at the bakery, get some great, fresh, spongy Italian bread, brush with olive oil or butter, and stuff the sandwich with whatever strikes your fancy. This dish should take about 10 minutes to make. No, seriously. Not only are they fast, but panini are nearly impossible to mess up. This meal is easy as pie, even for our culinary amateurs. Try your panini with Italian ingredients like mozzarella, prosciutto, basil, and tomato. The Food Network also recommends getting a bit more adventurous with your ingredients. Their Chorizo-Pair panini includes crunchy, sliced pear, fig jam, manchego cheese and Spanish chorizo.

Another kitchen appliance worth giving a whirl? The wok. A wok meal may take a little extra time to prepare then our beloved 10 minute panini, but a stir-fry can be made in bulk and will keep well for days, making for the perfect leftovers. There are a few “rules” to using the wok. For example, cook your ingredients ahead of tim and only use oils that can be heated to a high temperature (like peanut oil, corn oil, or soybean oil). Always cook your meat or poultry first, followed by the faster cooking vegetables and stir vigorously! All you need to make a nutrient-rich chicken and broccoli stir-fry is some chicken, scallions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and broccoli. Once cooked together, these ingredients can be served of some jasmine rice or noodles.

3. Grocery Store Meals - If you want to take it easy on the cooking, you can always pop into your local grocer and see what kind of meals they have cookin’. Now, with trendy, high-end grocers on every street corner, it’s easy to find a fresh and delicious meal, prepared onsite. Try checking out the deli and purchase a salad or some guacamole and chips for a starter. Many grocery stores also have delectable rotisserie chickens, which can be paired with some potatoes, green beans, or a pasta salad (also pre-made and available at the grocery store). If you’re in the mood for some greens, the salad bar is a great option. There are also pre-made salads that can serve, again, as a side with a rotisserie chicken. For desert, serve up some ice cream with sliced fruit on the side. With grocery stores, all you have to do is pursue the aisles, purchase, and serve. Easy!

So there you have it. Eating at home does not have to be difficult. If you have the right kitchen appliances and a bit of ingenuity, you can make eating at home both fun and stress free. While some of us love spending hours in kitchen, whipping up gourmet-worthy dishes, others of us just don’t have the time! For the quick cookers of the world, find out the flavors and combinations that work best for your routine and you will surely save time and money while bringing hearty meals to the table. 
Bon Appetite!


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  3. Very helpful post kavi.ur version makes it so interesting.

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Thanks for the feedback! :-)

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