Let’s face it; restaurant “takeaways” are not everyone’s favorite. At the same time, you can’t rely on snacks every time you get home late. Here are a few food hacks that will ensure you eat a proper home cooked meal anytime you wish.

1. Don’t Throw Away the Leftovers

I know how cheap this sounds but leftovers can be a lifesaver sometimes. When you have no time to make meals from scratch, reach out for that leftover rice and gravy and turn them into a quick yet delicious Chinese stir-fry.

Briny pickles are also excellent for re-using. They don’t lose flavor if you store them in airtight jars. So make a good amount for preserving your fresh veggies and what remains becomes your extra pickle for the week. Add chopped vegetables of your choice in these jars to make them crispy are ready to eat a few days later.

2. Prepare in Advance

With today’s hustle and bustle, you barely have time to keep chopping fresh ingredients for dinner every day. Why not prepare them in advance? On a Sunday afternoon (assuming this is your free day), cut all the vegetables for the week and pre-boil them. Then refrigerate them in airtight containers. To help with the chopping, a vegetable peeler will come in handy.

Similarly, season all your proteins ready for a few minutes cooking on the grill or just pan frying. Did you know that pre-seasoned steak tastes heavenly? Thank me later. And when it’s time for dinner, defrost your meal and warm in a microwave or in a buttered pan to awaken the flavors. Remember to wash the container and keep it ready for your next meal prep.

Finally, if you love cookies, cakes, pizza, donuts, and the likes, knead your dough in advance. It stores well in a freezer. The secret is to use a vacuum bag for storage or ensure you release all the air in your ordinary freezer bag before freezing.

3. Invest In Kitchen Gadgets

This is an investment that you’ll never regret. If microwaves are not your thing, don’t worry, modern-day kitchen gadgets make cooking easy. That is my plate of boiled rice, steamed vegetables, and beef stew. This was achieved in 20 minutes using only two gadgets; a rice cooker and a multi-cooker: Which also means fewer utensils for me to clean.

4. Use the Microwave

Microwaves are gadgets with unlimited potential, but home cooks rarely utilize them fully. The beauty with microwaves is that food cooks in seconds, and the secret is in the recipes. Here are a few of my favorite:

Oats Porridge with Eggs and Bacon
For the porridge

  • Mix 35 g quick cooking oats, 150 ml cold water, 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, and spices of your choice (I use cinnamon and nutmeg) in a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Microwave for 2 minutes, stir and add an extra 15 seconds and your porridge is done!
  • Garnish with fresh fruits or nuts to serve.

For The Eggs and Bacon

  • Coat a warm mug with butter.
  • Beat in 2 eggs with a tablespoon of milk.
  • Season with salt and black pepper and add roughly chopped bacon, spring onions, and cheese if you like.
  • Microwave for 90 seconds and voila, breakfast is ready!

Vegetarian Pizza

  • Remember your pre-made pizza dough and chopped veggies? It’s now time to whip up a delicious Pizza for lunch in just 20 minutes. Thaw the dough in a microwave, roll out and shape it nicely.
  • Spread a layer of oil (optional), pizza sauce, and finally add your toppings.
  • Set your microwave to convection mode and cook for 15-20 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is oozing.

Chicken Soup with Vegetables

  • In a warm bowl, add 1/3 cup chopped cabbage, 2 whole curry leaves, a handful chopped coriander, little grated ginger (optional), and 11/3 cup water.
  • Add 3-5 chicken pieces, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Microwave for 6-10 minutes until the chicken is tender and serves while hot.

Chocolate Cake

  • Get a large microwave friendly mug. Mix in sugar, baking flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
  • Add melted butter, an egg, and a few tablespoons of milk.
  • Mix, drop in a few whole chocolate chunks, and microwave for 2 minutes.
  • This cake is moist and yummy and the chocolate chunks will melt in your mouth: Very addictive if you ask me.