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5 Tips for Getting Dinner on the Table in a Flash—So You Can Spend More Time Outside with the Fam

Daylight Savings Time brings another hour of sunlight and the long-awaited unofficial start of spring. But it’s also the beginning of our family’s schedules getting a whole lot busier (yes, somehow it’s possible). So we’ve partnered with Kraft Heinz to show you how to start spending more time with friends and family. We’re calling it “Daylight Spendings Time.” You in?

Who has time for an elaborate meal when there’s a whole evening of sunlight to be enjoyed? Not you, that’s for sure. But there’s a lot of pressure when it comes to getting dinner on the table quickly, especially if it’s already a pain point in your day. So in the name of Daylight Spendings, here are six easy tips to help you shave time off of the cooking process. Because the sooner the dinner bell rings, the sooner your family can get back outside for some much-needed fresh air.

ocotopus hot dog macaroni and cheese
KRAFT HEINZ®

1. Don’t Underestimate Classics

Constant creativity in the kitchen is exciting. It’s also time-consuming and exhausting. Which is why we say lean into the classics, like OSCAR MAYER® hot dogs and KRAFT® Mac & Cheese. This duo is a long-time favorite for a reason: It’s great tasting (hello, cheesy salty goodness), convenient, and you can still cook it in surprising ways. The kids will be talking about this for ages. But it’ll only take you minutes to make.

Getty Images/lisegagne

2. Make A Weekly Menu

Raise your hand if figuring out what to cook is sometimes the hardest part. Yep, been there. So instead of spinning your wheels every single night, just do it once—right before your weekly grocery run. You can even get your family’s input on what they’d like to have (reasonable requests only, of course). It’s motivating to know they’re looking forward to what you’re making, and you’ll shave minutes off the whole shebang when you can get straight to cooking without a second thought.

Getty Images/Katherin Ziegler

3. Enlist Help

Don’t worry, help doesn’t have to mean with the cooking (we know that could add even more time to the task if they’re not into it). Think broader: Rinsing veggies, gathering peels and stems while you work, running spice jars back to the pantry. You’ll cut down on a few tasks and your workspace will stay clutter-free, which can only add to your productivity. And the cleanup? You’ll be halfway there by the time dinner is served.

GettyImages/Capelle.r

4. Sharpen Your Knives

There’s simply no arguing that a sharp knife works better (and is, in fact, safer to use). Blunt knives cause all sorts of problems, including slowing you down during dinner time. Keep a sharpener handy and use it regularly so that your prep is smooth and efficient.

Getty Images/VioletaStoimenova

5. Pre-cut Vegetables

Speaking of knives, while you might not have time for full-blown meal prepping, try to make a little time for a weekly slicing and dicing sesh. Chop up vegetables you normally use in your dinner rotation (broccoli, carrots, tomatoes etc.) and keep them in containers in your fridge. Your meals each night will still be fresh, but you’ll cut the time it takes to make them down by about half.