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6 Dinner Strategies for Parents Short on Time - Dinner with Kids

6 Dinner Strategies for Parents Short on Time - Dinner with Kids
From The Kitchn - October 11, 2017

If there were ever an award worthy of giving a parent, it would be for one feat: delivering a nutritious meal to the table on time. That's especially true for me, given my 90-minute commute home from work, two children (a 3-week-old and 3-year-old) and a wife who does plenty else besides also taking on the cooking duties.

Over the years, I have developed a number of strategies to get a good dinner on the table. Here's how I do it.

1. Know that perfecting the shopping might include grocery delivery.

Want proof that the grocery store is often the most time-consuming part of the dinner experience? Look no further than the rise of dinner kit delivery services like Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and Platedto name a few. I have used all of them, but the per-meal cost is simply too high to sustain.

I have enjoyed using new delivery services that are linked to my local grocery store (like Peapod and Instacart). I build my list over the week, then submit for on-time weekend delivery. Even online retailers like Amazon and Jet are getting in the grocery delivery game. The services are growing in popularity for one reason in particular: They are a great idea.

2. Prepare ingredients ahead of time.

I use that time saved not shopping on Sundays to do some meal prep for the week. Why chop onions multiple nights if you can do it once and then store them in a refrigerated, airtight container? Do this with all of the ingredients you constantly use. Tip: If you are mincing garlic for the week, store it in olive oil in the fridge so it does not brown.

3. Pre-cook when appropriate.

This tip is as much a time-saver as it is a way to get great flavor out of your ingredients. Things like tough meats, heavy vegetables, and hearty grains can all benefit from being cooked twice.

4. Master your oven's delayed start feature for preheating.

5. Always keep a bailout meal ready.

6. Think fresh.

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