* The Singapore Secrets series brings you simple tips to save you time and help carve out time for you to relax and recharge. For other tips in the series, visit this link.
This week, I asked the Singapore Mom Bloggers for their secret tips on preparing home-cooked meals for the family. If you work or have kids, it can be difficult to make time to cook.
Here are some tips that I hope will inspire you to get cooking this week.
1. Repeat the Weekly Menu
Cindy Chia from http://weizjourney.blogspot.com says, "We thrive on home cooked food, so to make this possible, we repeat our weekly menu. So it may not work for families who love variety. It does ensure we eat home cooked food even if there's not much variety though. Based on the weekly menu, I'll order groceries online, usually Cold Storage, and get them delivered. The family's chef and kitchen take a break during the weekend, and that's when we will be looking through Jasmine's list of food delivery options!"
2. Freeze Stock in Small Portions
Angeline Ng from http://www.simplymommie.com says, "I freeze stock in portions that I need to use so that I can easily defrost only what I need. I make a batch which lasts about a week or so at a time and it works out very well for my family, especially when I need to whip up a soupy brunch for my girl before she heads off to preschool.
3. Use the Double-Sided Pan
Susan Koh from http://www.ajugglingmom.com says, "The two main gadgets that I use in the kitchen are my slow cooker and my happy call pan, which I'm always raving about. For a pan that uses pressure to cook, I use minimal oil and my food is easily cooked in 10 mins or less. Plus after all the cooking, I don't end up with a oily and smoky kitchen so cleaning is relatively quick and easy. It's an investment that I never regretted."
4. Be Creative
PC Lee from http://scrapmumloft.blogspot.com says, "Think out of the box! Once I fried chopped kailan with eggs as that was the only two fresh ingredients in the fridge. Just once, and I'm glad that the kids didn't reject it. Oh, must always keep eggs in fridge for the last minute rescue"
5. Use a Thermal Cooker
Jennifer from http://www.dinomama.com says, "We adore our ShuttleChef thermal cooker which reduces cooking time and also saves energy. In the morning, I cook the meal on the stove in under 30 mins and then place it in the insulation pot and by evening time, we are able to enjoy delicious soups or braised dishes.
6. Cook Extra Spaghetti Sauce
Jean from http://jeanstitch.wordpress.com says, "When I cook spaghetti, I always cook extra spaghetti sauce so I can reheat it for lunch the next day. We also have a menu drafted out as a sample and when I run out of ideas, I often refer to it."
7. Stock up on Non-Perishable
Ai from Sakura Haruka says, " They are basically "shelf-stable" items that have months of shelf life. They are not all unhealthy and include a wide variety like canned vegetables, dried fruit, pasta, cereals, baked beans, sauces, canned fish etc. Sometimes the opportunity to cook suddenly appears, and with these ingredients readily available you can easily create a wholesome meal."
8. Cook Fried Rice
Pauline from http://mamabliss.blogspot.sg says, "When pressed for time, cook fried rice cos it is quick and easy. You can find most ingredients in your kitchen such as onions, garlic, eggs and frozen mixed vegetables. If you have chicken, you can add it in otherwise just egg with fried rice is good enough too."
9. Cook Extra Soup
Justina from http://makingmum.blogspot.com says, "We eat at home on weekdays and as I usually cook soup for dinner, I normally cook extra soup to use as a base for pasta/noodles/porridge for lunch the next day. To avoid cooking two different meals, I normally scoop out a portion of the soup for my baby before adding salt to the remaining portion."
10. Use Technology
Li Yann from http://yannisms.com says, " I turn to technology for help. :) I look for recipes online and then save it onto my Paprika Recipe Manager app on the iPad. It has a repository for recipes, as well as a menu planner and a shopping list. The menu planner is very useful: selecting the recipes stored in the app will allow you add the ingredients into the shopping list. http://www.paprikaapp.com
11. Save Left-Over Gravy
Angeline from http://www.ourprincessdana.com says, "My mil taught me to save the left-over gravy from dishes like beef stews, 3-cup chicken, braised pork bellys etc and use them as seasoning when you cook the next meal (fried beehoon/noodles/veg) so the flavours can be retained for good use!"
I hope these tips will get you into the kitchen and eating healthy home-cooked meals with your family.
Do you have a tip to share? Do share it with everyone in the comments.
* In October, we will focus on taking care of yourself. Together we will think about exercise, hair, hobbies and beauty. I can't wait!