Singapore is a busy and bustling city. With 67.7% labour participation rate and long working hours, Singaporeans have less time to prepare meals for their family or themselves. As a result, most would resort to take-outs from, for instance, GrabFood or FoodPanda.
Of course, you can easily prepare a plate of instant noodles with a lump of meat and a small bunch of vegetables all within 10 minutes. Consuming this every single day could have a detrimental effect on your health.
Hence, we aim to provide 5 simple, time effective and health-conscious ways to prepare your dinner.
#1 Plan and prepare in advance
It is definitely worth spending a few hours on a Sunday to plan out your dinner for the weeknights, then prepare and shop for the necessary ingredients. You can do so by first looking at the schedule for the week and find out which days you will be particularly busy. On these days, you can either cook a simple spread or decide not to cook at all.
If you decide to proceed with the former, you can pick a few recipes to cook for the week and come out with the grocery shopping list. While it is good to have a wide variety, it is important that you are comfortable with the recipes you prepare.
Once you are home from your grocery shopping, have those veggies and fruits that you bought, washed and cleaned. Slice and dice them to an appropriate size and shape for the upcoming meals for the week.
It is good to prepare your meals in advance. However, do not prepare too much as they do not last more than 3 days in the refrigerator. Place them in the freezer and take them out to defrost in the refrigerator the night before eating it. This will prevent germs and bacteria from entering your food.
#2 Keep it simple
You don’t need to be like Gordon Ramsey or Jamie Oliver to prepare a meal. What you really want is something that can fill up your stomach. Besides, aren’t you more likely to be more energized and motivated to cook when you know that you won’t need to spend an entire hour in the kitchen to prepare a hearty meal?
Within half an hour, you could easily prepare a plate of beautifully garnished Bacon Aglio Olio. There are many other dishes that you can prepare within half an hour. Here are some good examples:
1. Hainanese Chicken Rice (Total 40 mins)
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
For 3 persons’ serving
|4 Large chicken legs||2 Stalks of Spring onion (green section)||2 Cups of Jasmine rice|
|2 Stalks of spring onion (white section)||1 Tbsp of grated ginger (heaped tbsp)||1 Tsp of grated ginger|
|5 Slices of Ginger (0.5cm thick)||1 Tsp of Salt||2 Cloves of garlic (grated)|
|1 Tsp of Salt||5 Tbsp of Sunflower oil|
|2 Pinches of White pepper|
Rinse the chicken and remove excess fat. Place in a pot in a single layer and add spring onion stems, ginger slices, salt, and white pepper. Add water halfway up the chicken legs and turn the heat on high. Cover and boil rapidly for 10 minutes and turn the heat off. Leave for another 20 mins.
Chop spring onion greens and grate ginger. Place ginger in a bowl and set aside.
Heat oil in a shallow frying pan. When the oil is shimmery, add the spring onion and turn the heat off. Swirl around for 1 minute then pour into the bowl with the ginger. Season with salt.
Rinse the rice and drain. In the same shallow pan use for the sauce, heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium-high heat and add the grated ginger and garlic. Stir for 1 minute.
Add the rice to the pan. Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the rice to a pot/rice cooker and cook as usual.
Remove the chicken leg from the pot and de-bone. Slice and serve on top of the rice.
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2. Braised Ee-Fu Noodles
This Braised Ee-fu noodle is flat in texture and tastes similar to the egg noodles. This dish is popular among Chinese wedding dinners in Singapore. If you want to go vegetarian, you can omit the chicken and replace the oyster sauce with mushroom sauce.
#3 Be creative with your ingredients
With a little number of ingredients, you can prepare meals with many different recipes. This helps to save cost when gathering the necessary ingredients when preparing your desired meal.
There are several other innovative ways to prepare meals. Leftovers, for example, has a poor reputation and it is possible to see why this is so when you are reheating them. Yet if you are able to utilize them effectively, you will be able to make it more pleasant. You can blend cooked vegetables with a can of whole tomatoes and create a veggie-packed sauce for pasta. Create burritos with leftover cooked rice, meat, and vegetables, and add some sour cream and salsa. Here’s an example of a dish you can make with leftovers:
Pork Fried Rice with leftovers
Wonderfully made with leftovers, this bowl of pork fried rice is bound to tickle your taste buds. The addition of garlic and sesame oil during the cooking process helped to enhance its taste.
#4 Get help from family
Because most work in a typical 9-5 corporate working hours, the only ideal time left to cook a decent meal is an evening dinner. Yet, by the time they knock off from work at the stroke of 5, they would have been mentally drained, let alone having the energy to cook.
Hence, if you are staying with your loved ones, you can get them to help you out. They can help you to carry out various tasks on your behalf such as plucking beansprouts, chopping vegetables and even as simple as taking out frozen meat from the freezer to defrost. When each of your loved ones carries out these tasks for you, they will begin to understand the hard work and effort required for you to prepare a simple spread and they will appreciate you more for the dedication you put in.
#5 Utilize your home appliances effectively
In a modern household, electrical appliances are essential. This will help to quicken the cooking process for certain food ingredients that requires a longer period of time to cook.
An air fryer, for instance, can be described as a miracle tool for making fried-like foods such as French fries, chicken wings and nuggets in minutes with minimal effort. They are made crispy with less oil using convection. Here’s an example of a dish you can cook using an air fryer:
Air Fryer Salmon (8-12 mins cooking time, varies with various factors)
8 minutes are all you need to prepare a tasty piece of air-fried salmon, may take longer depending on varying factors such as the thickness of the fish or the size of the air fryer. Once the 8 minutes is up, make sure that the salmon fillet is just dark brown. This air-fry can be cooked with less oil. Its taste is a good blend of sweet and salty. You can add some green salad to enhance your taste buds.
Mac & Cheese
A rice cooker may not necessarily just be used to cook rice. It can be used to make other foods such as mac & cheese and even muffin cake. This can be done so long as you know how to utilize the rice cooker. Here’s an example of a dish you can make using a rice cooker:
Easy cook, easy done. This Mac & Cheese prepared with a rice cooker allows for a stress-free cooking experience. If you want a less creamy Mac & Cheese, try to use less cream/milk/sour cream.
So there you have it! These are 5 effective ways to whip up a quick meal. Still can’t find time to whip up a meal? Here at 338 catering, we offer the Tingkat Delivery for busy people like you. We prepare your dinner with the freshest ingredients with less oil and salt. For further enquiries, please feel free to contact us.