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Managing everyday cooking


A common question I get asked by people who just found out that I juggle between work and parenting is so do you cook every day?

And the answer is: Yes. Pretty much.

But like most mums, I have my own back of tricks – pre-made stuff, shortcuts and freezer stash items. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy cooking. But, as much as I want to put together a picture perfect meal in Anthony Bourdain style, most days it’s a race against the clock to pull together a decent meal for my hungry boys.

My five favourite express-meal helpers include:

  1. Garlic infused olive oil – saves time on chopping garlic
  2. Dried anchovies (ikan billis) – for quick soups or a yummy fried topping
  3. My pressure cooker – soups, stews and casseroles made in half the time
  4. Classic cocktail of Chinese sauces – oyster sauce + soy sauce + kecap manis
  5. The freezer – where I stash pre-made stuff like frozen fishballs, Ikea meatballs, frozen veg, ready-made sauces as my instant fall-backs for meal preparations

So how does a typical weekday home-cooked meal look like at our household?

Here’s an overview of the meals I pulled together (generally in 30-40 minutes) and served up at the dinner table last week:

Monday ~ spaghetti in garlic olive oil with Swedish meatballs
Cooked some spaghetti and tossed them in a simple garlic-infused-olive-oil dressing, served with Ikea Swedish meatballs (from my freezer stash), and a side of home-made baked beans in tomato (pre-made from my freezer stash)

Tuesday ~ pork & veg soup, omelette, blanched kai-lan
Pressure-cooked a soup of pork bones, carrots, red dates and dried veg (pak choy kon), fried a simple omelette with bacon and spring onions, blanched kai-lan (chinese broccoli) with oyster sauce, served with steamed rice

Wednesday ~ anchovy soup, stir-fried beef, stir-fried tomatoes
Cooked a soup of dried anchovies, sweet potatoes and red dates, made a quick stir-fry of beef, onions and the classic cocktail of Chinese sauces, for the veg I stir-fried some chopped tomatoes with oyster sauce, served with steamed rice

Thursday ~ nasi lemak with my mum’s homemade sambal
Chopped an onion and fried it with my mum’s home-made sambal, boiled a couple of eggs, sliced up a cucumber, and fried a handful of dried anchovies to crisp them up, served with rice steamed in coconut milk

Friday ~ simple homemade pizza
My bread-maker is my trusty tool for this. For the base, I just throw in the dough ingredients into the bread-maker to knead everything together. In the meantime I chop up the vegetables and slice up some ham. After that it’s just a case of assembling everything together and popping it into the oven. Yummy way to round things off for the week!

I still sometimes have days where I feel like this…

Funny Family Ecard: Why do they want dinner every single night?

On days like this, my hubby will pat me on the shoulder and tell me that there’s no need to stress out, that’s what Dominos pizza or supermarket ready-made roast chickens and even KFC is for!

Have a good week ahead everyone!

Linking up to Susan’s Motivational Mondays


  1. I wish I have time for this as well, but no I cook for the baby in the weekends and end up having packed food for ourselves, how sad :( I hope to do more cooking, this is a nice list Serene :)

    1. Oh Geraldine! No need to stress yourself out. If I was working in Singapore I’d probably be in the same boat as you. I totally understand as when I was working there a few years back, to leave the office on time is already a challenge, let alone rushing back to cook dinner. BTW one of the main reasons I cook is also because eating out is expensive in Perth. Getting simple, fairly cheap, relatively nice food on a everyday basis in Singapore can also be considered a good thing.

  2. Lovely dinner list for the week. I too cook mostly during the weekdays for the kids.

    1. Thanks, Dominique! Yeah… lifestyle always changes for the kids. But I guess it’s good for the parents too ^_^

  3. Wah! Thanks for the tips! I don't have pressure cooker, still thinking whether I should invest one.

    1. We got ours via a redemption of our credit card points! Personally I find it useful. But if you have a slow cooker, you could use that by dumping ingredients the night before or in the morning so it’s ready to eat by lunch/dinner time.

    2. Yes, I have a slow cooker but it's rather small. I will try to make use of it and see how it goes. :)

  4. i think you cooked your bak kut teh in your pressure cooker? so yum!

    1. Yes that's right! With a pressure cooker, it was really easy, just throw all the ingredients in and press the 'on' button. Hmmm...your just instilled a craving for another round bak kut teh


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