Tips For Creating Easy Family Meals

Whether you have a small family or a large one, sometimes thinking about cooking dinner can be overwhelming. Maybe you work full-time, or maybe you chase kids around the house full-time, but then you have to have the energy to clean the house and make a meal. It’s exhausting.

There are ways you can make meal creation a bit easier, though. You can make a healthy meal without hours of prep (or you can do the prep ahead of time and freeze the goods till they’re needed). Here are some helpful meal ideas for busy moms and dads.

Shop Premade

You can buy healthier foods that are premade. Not everything always has to be cooked from scratch. Just make sure you’re looking for organic and healthy food choices. Check the ingredients and make sure the foods aren’t filled with sodium.

Find ways to combine things in with your easy to make meals. If you microwave a premade meal you can still add some extra fresh vegetables to the side or maybe some wild rice to give the meal more bulk. You don’t have to eat only what came in the package.

Make It Ahead Yourself

There are plenty of times where it can be convenient to do a lot of cooking in one day. Take your day off work and use it to be productive in the kitchen. The prep you do now could make dinner a much easier task the rest of the week. Prep is often the hardest part of creating a homemade meal.

Even if you don’t make a complete meal, you could cook up meat and broth to use for soups, cook burger up to be used in tacos and pasta dishes, and even prep other foods so they take less work when it’s time to cook them. Chopping and dicing vegetables ahead of time and bagging them in family serving size containers can cut down a bunch on prep time.

Invest In A Crockpot

If you want to get ahead in the kitchen then you really need to invest in some good items that can help you out, like blenders and mixers. One really important item for people that have a family to cook for and those that want to make meals ahead of time is a crockpot. Crockpots are for more than just soup.

If you know you have a long day ahead you can easily toss some meal ingredients in a crockpot and have a completed meal when dinner time arrives. The bigger the crockpot, the more you can make. And leftovers are something you can freeze and use for another quick meal in the future or for a healthy lunch one day when you’re too busy to make one of those.

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8 Unforgettable Cakes to Make for the 4th of July

What are you making for the potlucks and BBQs that pop up around the 4th of July? Here are 8 awesome ideas!

8 Unforgettable Cakes to Make for july 4th

The 4th of July is such a fun holiday! It is the prime time of summer, the days surrounding it are filled with food, family, fireworks and fun!  This year I plan to take a special sweet along to the festivities and I found 8 awesome ideas for a patriotic dessert for a crowd!

 

Patriotic Pound Cake
Red, White and Blue Ice Cream Cake
American Flag Surprise Cake
Watermelon Cake
Strawberry Poke Cake
Red, White and Blue Fruit Cake
Strawberry Jello Cake
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Poke Cake

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Cooking Healthy With Cast Iron Pans

Most people are becoming concerned about not just the food they eat, but how it’s prepared. When you make good, healthy, food at home, the last thing you want is for it to be tainted by cookware that leeches bad chemicals or contaminants into your food.

 

Cooking With Cast Iron

 

Cooking in a cast iron pan has a lot of advantages. While it’s merely OK as a heat conductor, its strength more than makes up for that – it retains heat like nobody’s business. A cast iron pan will stay hot for a really long time.

 

Once you finally do get it up to temperature, you shouldn’t have much trouble keeping it there. Cast iron can be taken from the stove top and put right into the oven. You can even transfer it to the grill, if you want to.

 

Since it’s pretty rugged, it will even find a home over open flame if that’s your thing. Basically, these types of pans are virtually indestructible. If you’re new to cast iron cooking, start out with a good 10-inch pan from a reputable store.

 

When you’re more experienced, look for vintage pieces.

 

The Benefits Of Cast Iron

 

Cast iron cookware should last you forever. An often overlooked benefit of cooking in cast iron is that it can become a supplemental source of iron if you ever cook acidic foods in it. When properly seasoned, the pan will be slicker than teflon, and yet easier to clean than most other types of pans, even stainless steel.

 

Cast iron is also more rugged than just about any other type of pan on the market. After you’ve seasoned it, it’s also relatively maintenance free. Most of the foods you think of as problematic, like eggs, will not stick to a properly-seasoned pan.

 

How To Take Care Of Your Cast Iron

 

Taking care of cast iron can be either terribly difficult or ridiculously easy. Most of the time, when you hear people speak of the ills of cast iron, it’s because they didn’t season it correctly. Most people do not know how to season cast iron. The usual directions – slather on a bunch of oil and cook it for 2 hours – is not seasoning. You don’t want to cook oil in the pan in the hopes that the oil will “absorb” into the metal.

 

You want to coat the oil lightly and then heat it sufficiently to cause polymerization. This simple “how to” will walk you through the steps. Make sure you’re using an edible drying oil high in ALA and that you’re not using too much oil. Check the seasoning periodically to make sure it’s fully intact and then keep your eye on it – once a year it should be redone.

 

Avoiding Teflon and Ceramics

 

You should avoid teflon and ceramics at all costs. Some newer cast iron is coated in ceramic, which sort of defeats the point of cast iron, but it also introduces a contaminant into your cooking surface – lead. Avoiding ceramics and teflon coatings will go a long way towards ensuring the health of you and your family.

 

Erin Perryman loves to cook using her cast iron cookware. An avid writer and home chef, she enjoys sharing her insights with others online. Look for her appetizing articles on a variety of websites and blogs.

 

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