One of the things about social media that I personally enjoy is that I learn so much, not just from or about others, but also about myself. During a few comments on a fellow blogger’s Instagram profile last week, I was inspired to write this post, in the hope that I can share a little of what I have learned. I do hope that I can learn lots from you, my dear readers. I, therefore, encourage you to comment with your food preparation tips at the bottom of this post.
When you’re a working mum or dad, whether you’re working at an office in a normal 8-5 job or from home – either way, you’ve got to cook to provide meals for yourself and/or your family. Great if you have a husband or someone else to help. If not, like in many cases, it can become stressful because there’s just so much to do.
I’m certainly no domestic Goddess, nor is it one of my aspirations in life, but I do think that these food preparation tips may make your life a little easier…
Prepare and pack your meat into ready-to-cook parcels
We usually buy a lamb for a month. I ask the butcher to cut it specifically for curry pieces and to give me a leg of lamb, some chops and ribs as well. My mother in law then cuts the meat (Chicken as well for curries) further and packs them into ready to cook parcels. (Chops dishes, Lamb curry, Ribs, etc.)
This makes it so much easier than having to break apart a frozen pack of meat at the time of cooking. You also save time buying monthly as you don’t have to make daily or weekly trips to the shops.
It’s also not a good idea to take out an entire pack of meat from the freezer to thaw and then put back the pieces you don’t use to freeze again. Preparing them into parcels will ensure you take out only what you will cook and if you have guests, you just take out more packs.
It also works out cheaper to buy half a lamb or a full lamb than a pack of meat at a time.
Thaw meat before cooking
Decide the night before or in the morning about what you will cook later in the day. This will allow you to take out the meat from the freezer so that it can thaw during the day – in our case, those prepared parcels. Or a chicken or leg of lamb, if you’re going to roast either.
On very cold days, even though you take out the meat early from the freezer, it doesn’t thaw completely, if so, place it in hot water to thaw.
Boil beans, dhall and similar in advance
Depending on what beans you’re going to cook, it can take very long. Sugar beans, broad beans and dhall and similar can be boiled in large quantities at a time, then pre-packed into ready to cook parcels.
When you want to cook the beans on a specific day, all you need to do is braise it, saving you so much of time.
Samp: this used to sometimes take up to 3 hours to boil. Now we use parboiled samp, which you can cook even quicker by using a pressure cooker.
Invest in a pressure cooker
All of the above can be boiled in more than less half of the time by using a pressure cooker
Use a slow cooker
When you have lots to do and can’t or don’t want to be standing in front of a stove, use a slow cooker. There are endless slow cooker recipes online at your disposal. Nothing like a slow cooked leg of lamb falling off the bone or even lamb shanks.
Liquidise your tomatoes and onions
We liquidise tomatoes and onions (separately) for the week. Throwing them into the blender only takes a few minutes once a week, but you can use them for the whole week after keeping it in the fridge.
I’m not sure of the price difference, but I buy onions that are already peeled, so that also saves time.
What do you do to save time when cooking or preparing food to cook? I’d love to know your food preparation tips, so please do share them in the comments below or comment on this post on my Facebook page, which I am glad to share has reached 5000 likes!