Food & Drink

Ten top cooking tips

I love teatime in my house, so I hope my Uncle Ben’s recipes fill you with a little inspiration and help to make teatime a success. Cooking should be enjoyable and fun – and most of all tasty.

Here are a few tips from me that should help you on your teatime quest!

Get inspired
When you’re feeling a little low on inspiration for teatime just log onto the internet and do a quick search. It’s a fantastic resource for quick, tasty and nutritious meals, no matter what you feel like. has a fantastic section called the ‘Meal Maker’ which gives you great meal ideas using whatever vegetables and meat you happen to have in the fridge. It couldn’t be simpler!

Get the kids involved
As a Dad I always find that when children have a hand in the cooking thenthey’ll be much more open to eating it! Get the kids involved where you can with things like choosing the ingredients in the supermarket; washing the vegetables in the sink; opening the jars. Not only will it help you in the preparation but you’ll get the little ones interested in learning about cooking, which I obviously approve of!

Introduce a new idea every week
I know how easy it is to stick to the same tried and tested weekly meal plan but why not try pairing up an Uncle Ben’s sauce and rice for a tasty, convenient meal. Introduce one new idea each week and make teatime a bit more interesting. Make a tasty Chicken Korma instead of the usual Chicken Tikka, or add chunky mushrooms to your Chilli con Carne. It’ll make teatime that much more enjoyable, as well as making the preparation a bit different!

Take time out
Being a dad myself, I know one thing every parent could do with is more time. So, I’ve created eight brand new Uncle Ben’s recipes that all take less than 20 minutes to make. The average mum spends 30 minutes preparing tea every evening, so claim back an hour and 10 minutes every week and cut the time spent in the kitchen. Just think what you could do with that extra time every week!

Disguise that veggie goodness!
If your kids are fussy about their vegetables, hiding veggie goodness in sauces is a great tip – chop the ingredients up really small so the kids don’t even notice them and you can be safe in the knowledge that your family is getting a contribution to their “five a day”. But remember Uncle Ben’s tasty sauces like Sweet and Sour and Medium Chilli are packed with tasty vegetables like tomatoes, onions, peppers and beans with a taste the children will love.

Don’t be scared of putting your own stamp on teatimes
If the kids prefer sweet corn to mushrooms, or you have pork instead of chicken in the fridge, just swap them. Recipes aren’t rigid, they’re just there for inspiration!

Try not to overcook your vegetables
This is something that lots of people do but you’ll lose many of the essential nutrients and crucially, the flavour! Make sure you drain your vegetables whilst they still have a little crunch to them.

Avoid the temptation to salt meat before cooking
Salting meat before cooking draws out all the meat’s moisture and toughens it. When you’ve finished cooking you want it to be as juicy and tender as possible.

Get rid of smelly garlic fingers!
To avoid the stinky smell of garlic and onions from lingering on your fingers,coat your finger tips with a little olive oil before preparing the evening meal. When you’re done, just wash your hands with soap and there’ll be no lingering smell.

Can’t cook, won’t cook… RICE
Rice is notoriously hard to cook – loads of people struggle with it, but there’s no need to when you have such great products on the supermarket shelveslike Uncle Ben’s boil in the bag rice or Express rice. They open up a whole world of options if you usually avoid rice based meals. Curries, chillies and stir fries can be added to the weekly menu and your family will love the tasty new ideas.