Many people are finding themselves in a new teaching career they never knew they’d applied for.
Parents across the country are dusting off historical facts they thought they’d never need again and facing yet another week of home-schooling – with a newfound respect for teachers.
Making sure your child is present for their 9am Zoom meeting, then helping them throughout the day with the tasks set by their teachers, can leave even the ordinary parent frazzled, but parents with children of various ages and abilities are having to multitask in a way that many didn’t think was possible.
By the time 3.30pm comes around it’s time to start thinking about dinner time – which can be a daunting task when your mind is still jumping between the Ancient Romans and the eight times table.
However, one simple invention can be a lifesaver at times like these.
Introducing… The Slow Cooker!
This device helps you to prepare and cook hearty, nutritious meals with virtually zero effort. Think of your slow cooker as your own personal chef.
Preparing a meal can be done in the morning, while your child is on a call with their class, or perhaps the night before. A slow cooker can cook for up to 10 hours, then keep your food warm for a further 10.
Bung everything in, turn it on, and get back to explaining the difference between a noun and an adjective.
Here are some simple, yet spectacular, slow cooked delights for you to try!
Beef Stew This one only takes 5 minutes of prep before you’re good to go. All you need are some beef chunks and a selection of whatever root vegetables you have in your cupboard.
No measuring, just chuck everything in!
Heat some oil in a pan and sear some beef chunks - this will stop you from getting a beefy froth on the top.
Peel your root vegetables and prep anything else you want to throw in.
When that’s done, get it all in the slow cooker. Add some salt, pepper, and a beef stock cube.
Add enough boiling water to just cover your ingredients. Pop on the lid and get it on a high heat for up to 5 hours, or a slow heat for up to 10.
When you are ready to serve, just add some instant gravy to thicken and you’re done.
Quick tip – put the vegetables that take the longest to boil, such as carrots and swedes, around the edge. This gives you a more even cooking time.
Pulled Pork This recipe takes less than 5 minutes to prepare. Serve in bread rolls with salad, coleslaw, sliced red onion, and cheese – or any combination you can think of. Ingredients: 1.5kg Boneless Pork Shoulder 2 Onions, Sliced 1 Tbsp Paprika 2 Tsp Ground Cumin 1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon 2 Tsp Garlic Salt 2 Tsp Sea Salt 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard 3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar 2 Tbsp Tomato Puree 2 Tbsp Soft Brown Sugar Pop the onions into the bottom of your slow cooker.
In a bowl, mix all the other ingredients together and rub the mixture all over the pork.
Set the pork on top of the onions and cook on a high heat for 8 hours.
When you’re done, shred the pork into chunks, mix in some of the juice from the slow cooker, and serve.
American Mac & Cheese This little gem will take only 10 minutes to prepare! Ingredients: 12oz Pasta 150g Sour Cream 1 tsp Garlic Salt 130ml Milk ½ Tsp English Mustard 1 Tsp Pepper 50G Butter – cut into 6 slices 350g Grated Cheese Cook the pasta until it’s slightly soft, then put it in the slow cooker.
Mix the sour cream, salt, milk, mustard, and pepper together.
Add the cheese and stir again.
Put the 6 slices of butter on top and cook on a low heat for 3 hours.
Easy-Peasy Chilli The perfect winter warmer for cold weather! Ingredients: 1lb Mince Beef 1x Can of Kidney Beans, drained 2x Can of Chopped Tomatoes 3x Tbsp Tomato Puree 1x Packet of Chilli Seasoning 200ml Water Brown off your beef in a frying pan. Throw in all the ingredients and cook on a high heat for 7-8 hours. Yep! It’s that simple.
Serve with grated cheese on top, sour cream, rice, or nachos.
So there you are. Four simple recipes so easy to throw together you’ll have plenty of time left for algebra and punctuation!