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Even if you refuse to make a second meal for the tiny terrorist who's demanding grilled cheese 30 seconds into dinner, it feels like you spend all day in the kitchen. Same. Here’s how to cook less while keeping your family fed and happy. 

RELATED: 9 Easy Dinner Recipes That Will Help Your Kids Learn to Cook

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Wash produce when you unpack it
Clean and chop that whole bunch of carrots as soon as you get home, after the kids go to bed, then stash in easy-to-open containers toward the bottom of the fridge. When the children are hungry, they can help themselves to fruits and veggies instead of reaching for an unhealthy snack or asking you to stop and make them a sandwich.

Cook in bulk
We're not just talking big-batch chili. When it comes to cooking staples like grains, beans and veggies, make double what you think you need. Remember the same roasted broccoli will taste quite different served with chicken than it does with burgers and ranch for dipping.

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Choose recipes with inactive time 
Forty minutes of chopping? No, thanks. But 40 minutes of inactive time (aka hands-off time in the oven or on the stove) equals a lot less slaving away in the kitchen. Psst: We love this super-easy recipe for Baking Sheet Quesadillas.

Dice less
Good news: It’s OK to cut corners. Onions can almost always be sliced instead of diced. Vegetables like carrots, cauliflower and broccoli rabe can be roasted in big chunks—a few swipes of your knife and you’re done. If you really need a fine chop, make the food processor do the work for you.

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Shortcut with premade ingredients
 No one’s going to know if you bought your marinara or pie crust. As for making beans from scratch? We’ve never seen the point. And let’s be honest, rotisserie chicken is probably better than your DIY roast. 

Invest in a second freezer
...Then stock it with frozen veggie burgers (a quick way to bulk up a salad), 
frozen fish sticks (to make crispy fish tacos a breeze) and leftovers from last night's dinner (just be sure to label with a date). 

Use grocery delivery
Don’t know about you, but after a trip to the supermarket, the last thing we feel like doing is cooking. Order nonperishable pantry online and hand-shop for the fresh stuff.

RELATED: 25 Easy Dinners Every Kid on the Planet Will Love

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