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Cooking Tip for Busy Moms

Mama-to-Be Cleaning Tip:
If soaking and scrubbing doesn’t get the burnt-on food off, fill your pot with some water and add a tablespoon of dishwasher soap. Bring the pot to a boil and then cover and simmer for 10 minutes. When it’s cooled a bit but before the water gets to room temperature, you can generally get the burnt food off easily by using a wooden spoon or firm rubber spatula to scrape. This won’t mess up the non-stick surface or stink up your house. Then dump the dirty water and repeat the process if there’s still a lot left to clean.

I’ve used that tip a lot recently. Sometimes I get distracted when I’m cooking, and burnt food is the result. One night last week my dinner caught fire while I was absorbed in answering an urgent email on my Blackberry.

Despite the fire, I still maintain I’m not a bad cook…just one with a short attention span. I am capable of cooking amazing gourmet food on weekends. But I’m just too tuckered out after work on weeknights to pay attention. This is one reason I make a lot of salads with chicken or fish, fresh veggies and homemade salad dressing. You can’t mess up or burn a salad. Plus, they’re healthy and fast.

But having a cold salad every night gets boring. With a little advanced planning, I can whip up a hearty dinner in my crock pot. One of my favorite cookbooks is “Fix It and Forget It- Lightly,” which has low-calorie recipes for slow-cookers. Before I go to work, I toss ingredients for a stew, chili, soup or roast into my crock pot. The food is perfectly cooked by the time I return in the evening and never ever burnt. Newer crock pots even have features to keep the food warm in case you’re late for dinner. And with the newer pots, you can even clean the crock pot liner in your dishwasher if you’re too exhausted to wash dishes by hand. (Jarden Direct)

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