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This Cooking From Scratch post is sponsored by Pillsbury and My Blog Spark but all opinions expressed are mine alone.
My kids have more activities to keep them busy than I can keep up with. Every day after school we tackle homework and whatever extracurricular activity is scheduled for that evening. Occasionally that means my husband and I are taking different kids in different directions and don't get to eat dinner til 7 PM. I like that my kids are active but I refuse to eat takeout and/or delivery on nights that we are busy. You might think that cooking from scratch is impossible on busy nights but I have learned a few ways to make cooking dinner for my family a little bit quicker. Cooking from scratch is much healthier and cheaper than hitting the drive through and you get to control the ingredients you put into your meal. Sometimes, cooking from scratch requires a bit of advanced planning, though, to make it work for a busy night. Here are a few ideas on how you can make cooking from scratch a little bit easier:
Cooking From Scratch Made Easy
1. Homemade soups are much healthier than the canned variety and are an incredibly easy, one pot meal. Skip the canned stock, too, by making up a batch of homemade stock and freezing it back on the weekends. Just add leftover bones from your latest roast, a few chunks of veggies like onion and carrots, and some herbs and seasonings. After a few hours of simmering you will be left with a low sodium, flavorful stock that you can freeze back in plastic containers or zip to lock bags for the next batch of soup you want to cook from scratch on a busy night.
2. Making a casserole? Try making TWO! If you invest in a couple of extra glass pans with fitted plastic lids it is easy to make up one extra casserole or pan of lasagna on a Saturday afternoon. Freeze one back for a night when you just don't have time to cook.
3. Do the dicing and chopping ahead of time: If you dice up several onions, bell peppers, celery stalks, carrots, etc you will have a lot less work to do the next time you pull out your favorite recipe. Use a hand held chopped to really get things going quickly and then store the leftovers in the freezer so you can cook from scratch without getting out your cutting board again.
4. Throw an extra chicken breast on the grill on the weekend. I love having leftover chicken in my fridge because it is so incredibly versatile! If you have the grill on anyhow, throw one or two boneless chicken breasts on. Use them on top of homemade pizza, in a stirfry, or as a top your own salad addition. All of those meals are much quicker when you don't have to worry about cooking the meat first!
5. Realize that semi homemade is still okay: Some things can be made quickly from scratch and others cannot. I learned long ago that ALMOST homemade is still better than fast food and takeout. I do not roll out my own homemade pie crusts when I make a quiche and I do not make my own pizza dough when I make homemade pizza. I COULD...but I rarely have that kind of time during the week. Thankfully, you can buy some great premade pizza crusts at the grocery store, including the Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust with Whole Grain.
Making homemade pizza is a great way to use local and seasonal ingredients in your dinner. It is also very easy to make up your toppings ahead of time to help make dinner preparation quicker. With previously diced peppers and onions along with some leftover grilled chicken, I have a balanced meal for my family that is filling and quick to make. If you want a few ideas on how YOU can prepare homemade pizza for your family check out the Farmer's Market Pizza Ideas from Pillsbury. Also make sure to get the online coupon for $1.50 off one package of Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust.
Want to try the new Artisan Pizza Crust and make your own Farmer's Market Pizza? My Blog Spark would like to give one of my readers a prize package that includes:
- A VIP coupon for one FREE Pillsbury Artisan Pizza Crust with Whole Grain
- 15.5" Farberware Pizza Pan
- Food Chopper with Storage Containers
- Silicon-grip Oven Mitt
- Retail Value: $64
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Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.