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Monica's time saving tips for the kitchen

Rosalind Scutt
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
image: istock

Monica is a busy, working mother. Both she and her husband are from Italian families and love to run a busy home full of friends and family - and good food! This requires some serious time managment on Monica's behalf. See below for Monica's time saving tips or read more about her in her biography.

My top five time-saving kitchen tips for making fast, nutritious and delicious family meals:

1. Make a large amount of a versatile dish: If you whip up a huge batch of chilli con carne, you can have it on night one as chilli con carne with boiled rice, night two add corn chips, avocado, fresh chopped tomatoes and cheese and have nachos night! I am the queen of double dipping in recipes

2. Stick to core recipes that work: While I'm really organised, I'm not very good at preplanning meals so I find sticking to core ingredients and recipes works best for me. We love our Italian food and our home is stocked with core Italian ingredients like canned tomatoes, frozen mince and cheeses so I can whip up all sorts of last-minute meals for as many people as I like without having to duck out the shops. I buy weekly fruit and vegies to knock out a quick salad or dessert.

3. Be time efficient: I have a rule in my kitchen, if it takes more than 15 minutes to make, I'm not interested! With a busy family, house to run and a full time job, I don't have time for fussy recipes. While I love to watch Masterchef, I can't be one at home so I keep it simple and fresh — which is probably why I have Donna Hay recipe books in my cupboard!

4. Plan ahead: For special meals and where more time is needed I take pre-plan the event from budgeting to shopping to delivery. Christmas is a great example; I start thinking about it in November and pre-buy items that the freezer can look after for me until the time comes to cook. I know in advance which recipes I will use so I never panic.

5. When all else fails, choose pasta!: I knock up a big batch of pizza dough in the morning and have a huge pizza night in the evening. We invite friends and family around with the proviso they bring their favourite pizza ingredient. So much fun and we get to try so many new flavours! The best part is the leftovers, which we freeze for busy nights when we haven't got time to cook — comes back to tip number one and double your quantities when you cook! Pizza dough is so quick, easy and cheap to make and feeds so many people. We avoid too much cheese etc, even opting for potato pizzas.

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