The Importance of Prepping and Getting a Head Start in the Kitchen | May #CookMoreIn2013 Tip

So, we’re one week late with May’s #CookMoreIn2013 tip but better late than never. That actually is my philosophy on learning to cook too – it’s never too late to learn, and it definitely is a skill that you and the people around you can always benefit from regardless of how late in life you start. Anyhow, I digress. Let’s get back to May’s tip: The Importance of Prepping and Getting a Head Start in the Kitchen!

I know that a lot of us tend to procrastinate. When you procrastinate with cooking, you tend not to do it. There are just too many more convenient (but often more expensive and less healthy) options out there to tempt us not to cook – fast food, frozen dinners, take-out, the prepared foods section at our grocery store, that box of cereal, or the burrito joint on the corner. However, if you take a little time to proactively start your meals over the weekend, you’ll be so much more likely to cook during the week. Excuses such as: 1) the meat’s still frozen; 2) I don’t have “x”; 3) I’m too tired to chop broccoli no longer apply.

Our grocery shopping bounty

Our grocery shopping bounty

If you can do just a little bit – write out a grocery list, go shopping, and prep a few items that tend to be the bottleneck or the hindrance to a home cooked dinner – then you’ll be golden for the week. This is one of the best parts of our meal plan service. We pick out a few tasks that can be done ahead of time to make sure your weeknights are a lot less stressful and hectic. You can even make this time a social event. Invite a friend over for a glass of wine and get a few things done together. We all know we’re more likely to do something when we buddy up.

Prepped groceries ready for cooking

Some of our ingredients prepped for the week

Here are some of the most common make ahead tasks that I like to get out of the way right when I get home from the store:

  1. Season / marinate and tenderize proteins. Give that meat some love! Seasoning meat early means it’ll have plenty of time to absorb flavors

  2. Clean and prep greens. Get your salad spinner out and wash and prep all your greens in one go. You’ll never regret having more greens in your diet

  3. Cook grains. It can take a long time to cook some grains, such just make a huge pot of one grain over the weekend and eat it throughout the week

  4. Wrestle butternut squash. We love this vegetable but all admit that it’s a pain in the butt to prep. See our simple method in the video below

  5. Stir-fry tofu. For vegetarians, this is a great way to dress up plain tofu and have it ready for any salad, stir-fry, or rice bowl. Way better than cereal, right?

We’d love to get your weekend make ahead tips. What is your routine for getting a head start on your week of cooking?

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  • Great info! I have begun doing something similar – and with 4 kids and a full-time job, it is absolutely saving my sanity. Early Sunday morning I make a cup of tea and do a quick inventory of pantries, fridge and freezer, and then I plan the week’s meals. From the meal plan and the inventory comes the shopping list. Next up is the grocery store(s), which I like to hit as early as possible on Sunday, to avoid the crowds!

    Upon my return from the store, I do any cleaning out/reorganizing of food storage areas needed, and put everything I’m not prepping away. If I bought meat (usually in bulk), I marinate/slice/dice as needed and divvy that up into ziploc bags to use throughout the week or freeze. Veggies I do something similar with – and pre-pack individual portions in baggies for kid snacks and lunches throughout the week. My week’s worth of salads get pre-packed in jars and sealed with my FoodSavr. Steel cut oats for the week are made. Everyone is happy. LOL

    Everyone has their own rhythm and routine, but having been utterly disorganized for so long, I can tell you that this has made a world of difference in our home (and my sanity)!! 🙂

  • Briana, your routine sounds amazing!!! I’m sure it takes discipline to do this every week, but I’m sure the pay offs have been great. Keep up the good work in the kitchen!

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