You’re hungry, your family’s hungry, and it’s your night to cook. Unfortunately, just like last week, you’ve barreled into tonight’s culinary crusade without a whit of a plan. What’s in the fridge? Are you seriously out of garlic, of all things?

 

Listen, Dad — it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have a death wish, so stop forcing your family into hangriness. (No one likes them when they’re hangry.)

 

While your family appreciates your culinary creativity, you can cook something spectacular in a lot less time. These cooking shortcuts will enable you to spend your time in the kitchen more efficiently and still serve something so darn delicious your family will insist that every night is your night to cook:

 

Don’t shun recipes, dude.

 

Seriously, if not a whole recipe, go in with some semblance of a plan. Knowing what’s in your fridge, freezer, and pantry — and how to work with what you’ve got — is part of the cooking process. We’re all for improvisation in the kitchen, but it never hurts to get inspired by a well-loved or well-reviewed recipe. And, even better, there’s a wealth of them out there!

 

Peruse on social sites like Pinterest and Facebook, take Google for a spin, or download one of many awesome apps available. (For instance, ours! It’s got recipes and a handy cooking timer.)

Hey, you might even try dusting off the family cookbook your mom made you in college.

 

Start with a spark of an idea or a full-fledged recipe, and then prepare to feel even more inspired to craft something delicious.

 

Season and sauce your way to supper.

 

Here’s the thing about a good sauce, marinade, or rub — they all pack a ton of flavor, and usually for not a ton of work. By making a delicious sauce or seasoning the guiding star of your dish, you’re ensuring a simple yet flavorful meal, and the rest of the ingredients will fall into place.

 

For instance, if you know you want to use a Southwest Chipotle Seasoning on a Mahi Mahi dish, then you might also reach for ingredients like tortillas, fresh avocado, salsa, cheese, etc. Hello, fish taco!

 

Slow-cook your way to success.

 

Okay, okay, we concede that a slow cooker meal doesn’t technically take less time to cook than a lot of easy family meals out there, but it can take a considerably less work. Most slow cooker recipes out there call for minimal ingredients and a “throw in and go” approach. Better yet, you could try our Crock-Pot® Meals, which go from your freezer to your slow cooker in little more than five minutes.

 

The manly meal prep.

 

Just like having the right ingredients on hand is important, so is having the right meat. That’s why we suggest buying your meat in bulk — that way, you can be sure you have what you need, when you need it.

 

We make it even easier by individually vacuum-sealing all of our raw proteins, which means you’ll always be able to pull the right number of portions from your freezer, whether you’re grabbing some burgers from a combo or pulling from something as vast and awe-inspiring as the Butcher’s Share.

 

When in doubt, eat steak.

 

Obviously, we’re biased, but when it comes to cooking, steak is always an easy, delicious option. A good steak doesn’t need much in the way of add-ons, and won’t take too long to cook (unless you’re going for the King Cut). Plus, you can multi-task while you’re at the grill by cooking your sides there, too. (Grilled veggies are always a tasty go-to.)

 

Plus, who doesn’t love a great steak? Trust us — your family will thank you.

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