2012-12-19 / Local & State

How To Make The Most Of Your Time In The Kitchen

Meals give you an opportunity to enjoy what you love – time with your family, friends and the chance to relish a well-made dish. Unfortunately, meals can often feel hurried, especially when you’re juggling daily work responsibilities and household tasks. Any shortcuts you can take in the kitchen will allow you time to do the things you love the most.

Here are some time-saving tips that will help you slow down and savor every meal of the week:

Stay organized

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Make this your kitchen mantra. Searching endlessly for needed utensils while you’re in the throes of meal preparation will take a major bite out of your evening. Use tools like alphabetized spice racks and drawer organizers to help you keep your most used items handy and easily found.

Go oven-free

It’s possible to get the taste of an oven-baked meal without the oven or the hassle. For those busy times where you find yourself running between sports practices and book clubs, keep a quick, wholesome family size meal in your freezer that serves as a complete meal – lunch, dinner or any time.

For instance, Marie Callender’s has created a whole new line of meals called Comfort Bakes, including Baked Mac & Cheese and Savory Chicken & Rice Bake, that are made with special attention to detail and quality ingredients – like real cheddar cheese and white meat chicken. These dishes deliver homemade goodness to your family table.

With these dishes you can expect oven-baked taste from the microwave, providing evenly cooked meals in just minutes, minimizing burnt edges and eliminating the need for a stir step. Quick dinner and dessert ideas can be found at www.MarieCallendersMeals.com.

Stock up

Your fridge and pantry are like a food library. Be sure you always have your go-to ingredients on hand. When you begin to run low on staples like milk, eggs, onions, flour and sugar, immediately add the items to your shopping list so you never run out. A surprise need for a trip to the convenience store is anything but convenient.

Plug in to slow down

Create enjoyable ways to slow down during meal time. Dinner time is often the first chance many of us get to catch our breath during the day, so it can be an ideal time to connect with loved ones. Learn the ropes of video conferencing and nurture your most meaningful relationships by setting up a video conference at your kitchen table and hosting a dinner date each week. With today’s technology, video conferencing easily allows you to have a “virtual dinner date” with friends and family across the country, or even the world.

Meal time is about more than eating. It’s about the pleasure and comfort of a good, sit- down meal. By streamlining your efforts in the kitchen, you can give yourself more time to sit back and enjoy what you’ve prepared.

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