It’s the end of the day and time to sit down, rest, catch up with your family and enjoy a home cooked meal. Wait – you didn’t spend the day lovingly preparing a nourishing three course meal that everyone will enjoy? Neither did I. We got this.
Sometimes, keeping up with modern life calls for modern tech and that includes the kitchen. Sometimes, it seems we need a hero to save the day. But with some creativity, and the help of these mealtime heroes, you can save the day (or at least dinner)!
The Slow Cooker
Hero Power: Time Travel (in that you can have your evening back).
The slow cooker is the ultimate in set-and-forget magic. Simply dump in your ingredients in the morning and go about your day. When dinner time comes, everything will be ready. Many modern slow cookers have built-in settlings like sear or stay warm function that help streamline the cooking process and save on dishes. Some even have multiple compartments for multiple dishes.
Tip: If time allows, try sautéing ingredients first, to enhance flavors. Also, be sure all ingredients are thawed before they go in the slow cooker to avoid spending too much time in the temperature “danger zone.”
Hero Power: Good under pressure and super speed.
Modern countertop pressure cookers, or “multicookers,” have the ability to cut preparation and cooking time from all afternoon to an hour or less. In addition to their speed, modern countertop multicookers come with features that help simplify the process, like the sauté function. You can use this setting to brown foods before adding liquids and pressure cooking. And when cooking is complete, turn sauté back on to cook down liquids for a delicious reduction. Also, because the heat comes up so fast on a pressure cooker, many meals can be cooked from frozen without thawing first.
Pro Tip: Try a one-minute grain bowl with the pot-in-pot method. Quinoa and many vegetables take only a minute in a pressure cooker. Start with quinoa and water or broth at the bottom, nestle in the trivet, add an oven-safe covered container of canned beans (or last night’s leftovers), and top with foil-wrapped veggies like broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, etc. Set the multicooker for one minute. It’ll take some time for the pressure to build but when it’s complete quick-release pressure manually and everything will be ready to assemble. Top with some pre-washed greens and whatever else you like and enjoy.
Hero Power: Can cook a lot at once.
These kitchen gadgets can be very helpful but if you just have the oven available, make it work for you. Many of us are working from home more and can get an earlier start on dinner some nights. We still have work to do, but might be able to take a little break to throw something in the oven and then get back to our day, while dinner cooks.
Pro Tip: Sheet pan dinners are incredibly simple and easy to make. You just cook everything on one sheet pan. Line it with parchment or foil for easy clean-up. And since the oven is on, you can bake up some sweet potatoes for lunch or dinner tomorrow.
Let these mealtime heroes save dinner, so you can save the day — or maybe just put your feet up for a bit. Being a hero is hard work and you’ve earned a break!