What do you find the most difficult to get done in your day? If you asked most people, many would answer: mealtime. From deciding what to cook, shopping for the ingredients, prepping, cooking, and finally, cleaning up, it can all seem so overwhelming. That is one of the reasons why we all have become dependent on take-out and fast food. Dial-up delivery is no longer a treat, but a mainstay in many homes. If you’re working full time, it’s easy to let yourself off the hook, but it’s not that hard to prepare a simple, healthy, and inexpensive meal for your family.
Sarah on “remembering the big picture”
“I am a reformed take-out junkie. My husband and I definitely fell into the trap of most young couples with full-time jobs and young kids at home. It’s hard to work all day and then come home and whip up something in the kitchen with a cranky toddler and a crying infant. It was just easier to order pizza or Chinese food, but one day I sat back and realized what we were eating. It wasn’t only bad for our waistlines, but bad for our bottom lines – we were spending a small fortune on food. Now, I make a conscious effort to plan ahead on Sundays. We grocery shop and plan the week’s meals and then there are no excuses. Plus, I can enlist my husband in cooking if the recipe and ingredients are all right there. We’re eating better and saving lots of money.”
Alicia on “the path of least resistance”
“I am never going to be that person who gets excited by a new recipe in a food magazine. Cooking isn’t something I love to do. For me, it’s a means to an end. I want to eat as well as possible and spend the least amount of time (and money) doing it, so I look at kitchen duty as a way to enlist others. I’m great at making salads; my husband likes to grill. Figure out what you like to do and where your talents shine and then divvy up the rest.”
Here are three ways to make meal prep less painful:
This website (thescramble.com)should seriously win an award. It’s fantastic. Plug in what you want, get your recipes for the week, and get a shopping list for easy and quick grocery store runs. It’s simple and sensational and there’s no more of that “what are we having for dinner tonight?”
2. Fine-tune your knife skills.
Find a community college, culinary school or shop, or even a local restaurant where you can sharpen your skills with a knife. It doesn’t sound like much, but knowing how to wield a knife and properly chop can shave ten minutes off your prep time in the kitchen.
3. Plan Ahead.
Whether the meeting ran late, you aren’t feeling up to snuff, or you simply don’t want to break out the sauté pan, there are going to be some days that you don’t want to set foot in the kitchen. Plan ahead and make double portions of certain dishes that freeze well. That way, you’ll just need to open the freezer and defrost some lasagna without having to pick up the phone.
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