A new survey commissioned by home appliance maker, Westinghouse, into the shortcuts Aussie parents are taking in the kitchen has revealed an astounding 85% think it is acceptable to serve up a bought meal at the family dinner table. Of those who agreed it was acceptable, almost one in ten (9%) even admitted they would try and pass it off as homemade!

With programs like MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules showcasing the hidden cooking talents of everyday Aussies, the Westinghouse Kitchen Shortcuts Survey has revealed that one in five parents are now feeling more under pressure when cooking at home, with many regularly using kitchen shortcuts to impress friends and family.

Dads, however, are less likely to give in to the pressure, with the research showing that they are twice as likely to not take shortcuts in the kitchen, compared with mums.

When it comes to cooking for our partner, nearly one in four (23%) think it is unacceptable to take shortcuts, believing they are lulling them into a false sense of security about their real ability to cook!

The under 35s surveyed are feeling the pressure from reality TV shows more than older generations, with almost five times as many respondents admitting that they feel the pressure from reality TV shows, such as MasterChef, to impress family and friends when it comes to cooking at home.

Whilst time and convenience were cited as the most common causes for the modern family undertaking kitchen shortcuts, for more than one in ten it was due to a lack of confidence in their cooking ability.

Our approach to cooking for friends and family at home also reflects the pressure people are feeling, with people ditching the traditional three course menu in favour of quick and easy meals (40%), a simple BBQ (30%) or a main course followed by an instant dessert (21%).

The Westinghouse Kitchen Shortcuts Survey also reveals parents are now turning to their kids for help in the kitchen, with one in five seeking assistance from their children.

When it comes to home appliances making life easier in the kitchen, a self-cleaning Pyrolitic oven was top of the list (34%), followed by a programmable microwave (27%) and a quick-wash dishwasher (19%) to clean up those dirty dishes in just 30 minutes.

Westinghouse cooking spokesperson and MasterChef finalist, Alana Lowes, says that there's nothing wrong with taking a few small shortcuts in the kitchen.

'We don't all need to be budding MasterChefs to be able to serve up a tasty meal for family and friends. With a few small tips, fresh ingredients and the right home appliances, everyone can become more confident in the kitchen and whip up a healthy and wholesome dish which will please guests and even increasingly discerning children.
'Young Australian families tend to eat out more these days, so we know what good food tastes like and want to be able to replicate this in the kitchen at home.
'We're all becoming increasingly time poor, juggling work, home and family life. By taking shortcuts, we can all become smarter and more confident in the kitchen to reduce the time spent slaving away preparing meals, without compromising on the taste or healthiness of the wonderful creations we serve up," added Lowes.

Alana Lowes' top shortcuts in the kitchen include:
1. Frozen foods are your friend...always have frozen berries or puff pastry on hand in the freezer. A dessert can be whipped up in no time with these two ingredients. Green peas are also handy to have in the freezer as an instant side dish.
2. Mix and match ground spices for a tasty marinade for meat, poultry or seafood – some spices are even already available pre-mixed - i.e. Moroccan or Asian 5 spice
3. Save time by keeping vegetables and salad ingredients chunky and rustic; no one is going to admire your perfectly cubed piece of carrot!
4. If you're cooking a lasagne, meatballs, curry or other dishes that can be easily frozen, make double the quantity and freeze it for quick meals
5. Get outside this summer and use the BBQ, it cuts down the washing up and is a delicious way to cook
6. Use a food processor or hand blender to chop and mix ingredients and then throw everything in the dishwasher
7. Pick up a BBQ chicken and shred it in a salad or even use it in tacos