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How to simplify back to school meal routines

When September rolls around, it always equals the return of busy mealtime routines. The kids need to get to and from school, you have to fight the heavier traffic to get to and from work, and then there are all of the different after school appointments and activities. Of course, somewhere in the midst of that, your family needs to have time to eat. Unfortunately, for many families, this time crunch results in far too much fast food.

That’s why has been busily researching again. This time, we went in search of appliances and other products for the kitchen that will simplify your back-to-school mealtime routine. Here’s what we found.

The Thermal Pro™ from Breville

back to school meals

Source: Breville

The Thermal Pro™ electric skillet from Breville is a serious kitchen workhorse, and you need to add one to your kitchen as soon as possible! Here’s why…

The generous 15-inch x 12-inch, 7L surface area and 1800W butterfly heating element allows you to cook meals quickly and evenly. Feeding your entire family (ravenous teen athletes and all) takes no time at all in this indispensable electric skillet.

The 6 different heat settings take the guesswork out of cooking, and allow you to sear, pan fry, sauté, simmer, warm and cook at a low temperature. The skillet features cast iron handles, an integrated pouring spout, pan tilt lever and a heavy glass lid with steam vent.

back to school meal

How it can simplify family meals:  If your family is on different schedules after school  it can be difficult to time dinner. However, the Thermal Pro countertop skillet makes it easy to provide everyone with a hot, homemade meal. The secret is in the different available settings. You can sauté and simmer to get everything cooked and ready to go, then reduce to the “warm” setting to keep food hot. So, no matter when the different members of your household come and go, dinner will be hot and ready.

And don’t even give cleanup a second thought. The PFOA free non stick surface means not even baked on cheese will stick. Even better, you can simply unplug the cord and place the skillet and lid in the dishwasher.

Our test drive. We test drove Breville’s Thermal Pro by preparing a batch of our favourite cheesy, saucy, spinach-studded meatballs and this powerful appliance cut the usual cooking time in half.  The meatballs cooked quickly and evenly and the sauce heated all the way through almost instantly. The warm function did an excellent job of keeping food hot for an extended period of time, and without scorching  it on the bottom.  As far as simplifying our back to school meal making routine, we give the Thermal Pro an A+!


More products to make your back to school meal routine easier

T-Fall Optigrill XL

back to school meal

Source: T-Fal Canada

Definitely not your mother’s indoor grill. This next generation griller comes with nine cooking programs and a colour coded doneness monitoring system, to make mealtime practically effortless. You back to school meal making couldn’t be easier. Grill veggies and meats in minutes.


Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker

Yes, this is one of those products that some people may roll their eyes at. However, if your household includes hungry teens, or if you have an early morning commute, then you KNOW just how useful this little sandwich maker would be. And just think about how much time you’d save by avoiding the morning drive-thru line.


Crock-Pot® 6Qt. Oval WeMo® Enabled Smart Slow Cooker, Stainless

It’s a well documented fact (ok, maybe a well documented anecdote) that slow cookers are big time savers for busy families. Even better, now, you can have a slow cooker that’s enabled with Smart technology! It’s pretty much like having the ability to cook dinner with a remote control. Adjust cooking settings, change the temperature, set it to warm or turn it off, all through the free smart phone app.

Kitchen Aid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper

back to school meal

Source: KitchenAid

It’s never the cooking time that makes weekday cooking a challenge, but rather the prep.  That’s where a mini chopper, like this 3.5 cup model from KitchenAid comes in handy. Mince, chop or even puree vegetables and herbs in moments. And since it’s tiny, it won’t take up much room or create any cleanup hassles.

The Life@Home Product Review Series

From time to time, we will be featuring review articles about the items that simplify and improve your life@home, from small appliance reviews to reviews of tools, vacuums, bed linens and much more.

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