13 Tips for Making Weeknight Dinners a Breeze
You know the story. The kids are home from school, you've just got home from work. All you want is to relax but there's still dinner to take care of. Your weeknight time is precious, that's why we've come up with this list easy weeknight dinner tips. Get your time back with these simple and nutritious ideas for weekday meals.
1. Prepare your dinner early
Finding you’re always in a rush in the evenings? Don’t fancy slaving over the stove when you’d rather be catching up on Netflix or walking the dog? Preparing dinner earlier in the day is a good tip for folks who’d prefer to keep their evenings to themselves. Take meat out of the freezer, prepare salad after breakfast, cut up the vegetables and whip up any dressings or sauces you’re planning to use. That way when dinner rolls around, all you have to provide is the finishing touches.
2. Use a slow cooker
For the busy family that still wants to enjoy a delicious dinner a slow cooker is a must have item. Simply throw your ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning, and come dinner time your meal will be ready. Because your meal is cooked slowly over time, flavours are deliciously sealed into the ingredients, making for restaurant quality food with very little effort.
3. Shop fresh
Before you set out to the grocery store go over your shopping list and make sure there's enough protein, fresh fruit and vegetables. Shopping lists are a great way to help you steer clear of filling the shopping cart with too many sweets and prepackaged foods.
4. Keep it simple
Good, quick, tasty food doesn't have to be complicated. It's all in the ingredients you use. Fresh, raw, seasonal produce will have you whipping up healthy, tasty meals in no time.
5. Keep leftovers for later
Cook double and keep your leftovers for later in the week. Make sure to wrap up your meals thoroughly in cling film and store them in the fridge or freezer, depending on when you next plan to eat them.
6. Make dinner a social event
Catching up with friends midweek helps you keep in touch and can make dinner easier. If you’re entertaining at home, ask everyone to bring a plate to share, or if you don’t feel like cleaning up, meet up at the pub for a cheeky midweek bevvie and steak dinner.
7. Keep a recipe collection on hand
Stuck for inspiration? Keep a collection of your favourite easy recipes on hand, in a binder or book in the kitchen. That way there's always something you can go to in a pinch.
8. Cook quick dinners
Convenience and deliciousness don't have to be mutually exclusive. There are dishes that you can whip up in 20 minutes and enjoy as a tasty meal. Try the following:
Chicken or beef nachos and salad – Quick, fun and easy to prepare. Fresh avo, yummy cheese and Mexican spice mix are key to this party time plate.
Tuna and lemon pasta – For a fresh take on Italian, try a simple orecchiette pasta with anchovies, basil leaves and capers.
Mushroom San Choy Bau – Fun and fresh finger food perfect for the summer with the crisp crunch of lettuce that will delight the taste buds.
Herb crusted pork cutlets with apricots – A simple, easy pork dinner the whole family can enjoy.
9. Recapture the romance
Make midweek dining a time to remember for that special someone in your life. Book a table with ocean views or dine out on the food of lovers at Delizioso and recapture the romance in your life. No cooking, no cleaning, just a delicious meal, a bottle of wine, dessert and some good conversation.
10. Create healthy habits
Eating fresh and healthy throughout the day can help you create better habits during your weeknight dinners. Consider packing your own lunch for work, or even using leftovers from last night dinner. Good eating habits every day will give you more energy for less calories, taking the pressure off dinner to be the only healthy meal of the day.
11. Take it outside
If the weather's good why not take your dinner out into the back yard or to the local park. You'll enjoy the ambience of the great outdoors and there's less fuss when it comes setting the table and cleaning up afterwards.
12. Eat out as a reward
Reward yourself and your family with a meal out or takeaway. Set some goals like:
Clean the bedroom
Sweep the verandah
Eat four healthy dinners in a row
Then reward yourselves with your favourite takeaway restaurant meal.
13. Enjoy your meal in good company
Food is nutrition, but good food is also a pleasure to eat. Enjoy your dinner, savour the flavours and the company. Catch up with your family over good food and reconnect. Avoid eating in front of the TV and instead be entertained by each other.