The number of families sitting down for a weekly roast is falling. It’s a tradition that’s been around since medieval times but it’s no surprise really when we are all so busy. A roast dinner doesn’t have to take half a day to prepare though; we’re way past that need to spend hours in the kitchen, whatever gender we are.
According to a 2015 report, the number of roast dinners being eaten across the UK has fallen 4%. If it’s a matter of taste then that’s fair enough. We’re not restricted to meat, potato and veg anymore – we have can indulge in Indian influences, Italian carbs and Mediterranean-inspired seafood. There have been many studies to suggest that eating together supports a cohesive family unit. If you have teenagers for example, meal times are a good opportunity to ‘check in’. What that meal consists of is bound to alter with the changing times, but if it’s lack of time that puts your family roasts on hold then help is out there!
Indeed, food manufacturers have done the hard work for us, perfecting the fluffiest roast potatoes and roundest Yorkshire puds. It’s not cheating if it means you get to spend more time with the people you love so give yourself some slack and crack on with these easy roast hacks.
10 Roast Dinner Hacks
- Buy your chicken pre-cooked. You’ve seen them at the supermarket, those warm bags of rotisserie chickens. A family sized chicken takes about one and a half hours to cook so save yourself time (and the hassle of worrying about raw chicken) with a pre-cooked bird. Or instead of chicken try a pork fillet, which only takes around 30 minutes and there is no waste at all.
- Keep some McCain roast potatoes in your freezer for fluffy, crispy roasties every time. Roast potatoes are difficult to get right, plus you have to faff around boiling them and then cooking them in just the right amount of fat. With so much riding on the perfect ones, frozen roast potatoes are a fully acceptable hack. They also work really well in an airfryer.
- Stock up on frozen vegetables to save precious time scrubbing, peeling and dicing. Life is too short to chop your own squash. Alternatively, stick with cute chantenay carrots (no need to peel) and frozen peas.
- Frozen Yorkshire Puddings are perfectly acceptable. They cook from frozen in minutes and taste amazing. We use them all the time when we have a midweek roast.
- If you’re roasting your veg you can chuck it in with the meat without boiling first, just make sure it’s fairly chunky.
- If your veggies are ready before the rest of the meal pop them in a warm bowl, covered with foil, and they’ll stay warm for at least 15 minutes.
- Use water from the veggies or the juice from your roast to make Bisto instant gravy – think of the vitamins you’re catching and it tastes much better!
- And if you really want to make your own gravy this is how to do it. Scrape the bottom of your roasting tin, getting all the meat juices, and put it on the heat, adding half a handful of flour and some water. Then stir and stir and stir until it thickens and strain before serving. It will taste good, so no one really cares if it’s lumpy.
- Put some music on, get everyone in the kitchen and prepare together. Things take less time the more involved and it is a great time to have a family chat.
- Dont worry about plating up in the kitch, just pop everything in large bowls in the center of the table and let everyone help themselves and make sure you have extra rosties in the kitchen for the people that wash up!
The best roast dinner is full of things we can’t buy – conversation and laughter, so you might as well focus on that and make the rest of it as easy as possible. Next time you find yourself juggling ten things at once, give yourself a break, and take the help where you can. It’s often available at the supermarket.
What is your favorite Roast Dinner tradition?