Every parent needs a few smart kitchen hacks up their sleeve.
Even something as simple as preparing sandwiches for the school lunchbox can be made easier with a smart kitchen shortcut or two.
Here are 10 super handy tips and tricks every mum MacGyver needs to make family life easier, including one very smart use for the dishwasher that you probably never thought to do!
10 Incredible Kitchen Hacks Every Parent Should Know
1. Cupcake liners
Not just for cake, cupcake liners moonlight as ice-cream drip catchers and anti-bug drink protectors. Genius! My hot tip: keep some in your car as well as in your kitchen drawer.
2. Eggs in a hurry
If everyone wants eggs for breakfast and everyone wants to eat all at once – think outside the square. You can easily cook eggs in a pie maker. Alternatively, if you have the time to warm up your oven, reach for a muffin tray and cook oven baked eggs en masse.
3. Grab-and-go snack stations
Make packing lunch boxes a breeze by preparing and packing the week’s snacks in advance and keeping them together, handy in the fridge – aka snack stations. Dry goods (biscuits, crackers, muesli bars) can also be portioned and ready in the pantry. Simply grab and go!
4. Frozen kitchen sponges to keep food fresh
Buy a pack of kitchen sponges, wet them and freeze individually in sealed sandwich bags. They’re great for not only keeping lunch boxes cool, but also for when an icepack is required for bumps and bruises! The ziplock bag holds the water as it melts and then the sponge soaks it all right back up. Chuck it back in the freezer when the kids get home from school and you’re good to go again the next day!
5. Get the jump on school lunches by FREEZING them
Kids love sandwiches? Great! Make a loaf of freezer friendly sandwiches (Vegemite, peanut butter and jam, ham and cheese, shredded chicken etc), slice, tightly wrap in Gladwrap or sandwich bags and freeze them. Simply pop your frozen sandwich into the fridge the night before and that’s one job done!
6. Multi-purpose ice cube trays
Don’t underestimate the importance of having ample ice cube trays in your plastics cupboard. Perfect for freezing portions of baby food, a tot’s snack plate instead of fancy divided plastic ware or even moonlighting as a paint palette. Ice cube trays come in handy ALL THE TIME.
7. The dishwasher cleans ALL THE THINGS.
Plastic building blocks, plastic toys and all the rubber plastic shoes you can fit in the top rack, can likely be cleaned in your dishwasher. Let them go through a light cycle for a zero effort (on your behalf) refresh.
8. Yoghurt ice-cream hack
Kids gone off eating the yoghurt in the fridge? Turn the discarded dairy into an ice cream treat by pushing a pop stick through the lid and freezing overnight. Presto, the easiest ever frozen yoghurt ice cream pops. Yum!
9. A flour and butter free phone
From time to time we’ll all be referring to a recipe on our smart phone or tablet (or the kids will be). Keep headphone jacks free of greasy butter and flour by wrapping your device in plastic wrap or popping it into a ziplock bag before starting – rest assured, you can still operate the touch screen!
10. No mess bacon
Waffle or sandwich press bacon instead of pan frying. Avoid all that bacon grease spitting all over your kitchen by cooking those sweet pork rashers in a sandwich or waffle press. Guaranteed to be crispy AND you can cook plenty at once!
Got some smart hacks or tips of your own? Let us hear them! And make sure you check our previous article for 32 clever food hacks that’ll keep food fresh for longer and shave big bucks from your weekly grocery shop!