Fresh ideas for making cooking at home easier

(BPT) – With family members on different schedules, virtual learning in full swing and working from home showing no signs of slowing, it’s challenging to have meals and snacks ready when hunger strikes. And when time is short and your crew is tired, the last thing you need to be doing is spending ages in the kitchen.

Here are some solutions for making cooking at home easy — and delicious. All it takes is a little planning, a few kitchen tools, and a few family-friendly recipes.

1. Use your air fryer

It’s time to pull that air fryer out from the back of the pantry. Many people own this unique tool, but it can sometimes feel overwhelming to use it. The key to getting the most out of your kitchen equipment is planning ahead. Preheat your air fryer before adding your food. Simply turn the air fryer on to the temperature that you need and set the timer for 2 or 3 minutes. When the timer goes off, the air fryer has preheated and is ready for your food.

A pro tip we like to share: Don’t overcrowd the basket of your air fryer or else you’ll prevent foods from crisping and browning evenly.

You can easily convert some of your favorite meals from conventional cooking to air fryer usage. The good news? You can make an air fryer meal for any time of day and enjoy a meal without getting any dishes dirty.

Editor’s note: I use the Megachef Halogen Oven Air Fryer. If you purchase through my Amazon link I may receive a commission.

2. Schedule meal prep for the weekend

If you have the time, you will certainly be happy to find your casseroles, stews, pasta dishes and other meals completely ready to eat each evening. Just cooking up some make-ahead dishes like a Cheesy Shrimp Bake or a Crab Quiche during the weekend could free you from kitchen duty a night or two during the week.

If you don’t have time to prep entire meals beforehand, there are still some little things you can do to help reduce your daily cooking time. For example:

  • Marinate proteins a day or two ahead of time.
  • Peel and cut veggies and store them in your refrigerator.
  • Mix up any spices or sauces you might need, labeling them clearly.

3. Keep quick, tasty options at-the-ready

Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite between Zoom meetings, creating a home-gating spread to watch the game, or just having a fun date night in, frozen seafood is a great option to keep on-hand. Luckily, the frozen seafood aisle has so many products to choose from. Some products that deliver on quality, taste and convenience are SeaPak’s Budweiser Beer Battered Shrimp, Budweiser Beer Battered Cod and Budweiser Beer Battered Crab Poppers.

For a restaurant-inspired experience at home, try making these Budweiser Beer Battered Shrimp Lettuce Cups with Mango Avocado Salsa. For this recipe, you could also try making the shrimp in the air fryer since you have it out of storage already. The good news is you do not need to defrost the frozen shrimp before you start cooking them. You can just pull them straight from the freezer and pour them out of the bag into the air fryer basket!


1/2 of 12-ounce package SeaPak Budweiser Beer Battered Shrimp
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeds removed and jalapeño finely diced
1/2 mango, peeled and chopped
1/2 avocado, chopped
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced
Salt and pepper, to taste
8-12 leaves of bibb or other butter lettuce


  1. Cook Budweiser Beer Battered Shrimp in air fryer or according to any of the other package directions and keep shrimp warm.
  2. In medium bowl, combine Roma tomato, jalapeño, mango, avocado, cilantro and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. To assemble each lettuce cup, place Budweiser Beer Battered Shrimp in center of lettuce leaf and top with the mango avocado salsa.
  4. Serve immediately.

For more recipe inspiration, visit


One easy meal prep is to utilize packaged meal kits. Serve as a side dish, or just add chicken to make this tasty Chicken Pasta Rice a meal.

Visit my WellPReservedShop for more meal ideas.

Published by jilldutton

Evolving Magazine publisher and travel writer, Jill Dutton, caught the train travel bug when she spent three months in Europe with a Eurail pass. Now, she enjoys traveling–and writing about–the U.S. and Canada by rail. Freelance Writer Jill has worked as a freelance writer for more than 20 years. She is the author of, The Joyous Journey: Living Life on Purpose, with Purpose. In January 2015, Jill departed on the first of several trips traveling the United States writing feature articles, blog posts, and an eventual series of books on train travel. Follow Jill on her travel blog at Magazine Publisher Jill Dutton has created three publications over the past 21 years. She published Evolving Woman magazine from 1994-2000, then started Evolving magazine in 2009 and Eating Well in Kansas City in 2010. Read Evolving Magazine at

3 thoughts on “Fresh ideas for making cooking at home easier

    1. I purchased a Megachef halogen air fryer. While I love it, it’s very large and I don’t use it as often as I might have used something smaller. I can fry a whole chicken in mine! It’s great in the summer when you don’t want to heat up the kitchen.


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