Let’s get one thing straight. I love to eat. But I’m not a big fan of food prep when there’s other fun things to do – like get outside, read, hang with friends, go to FBD…. you knew I was gonna throw the gym in there, didn’t you? This is the season we’ve been waiting for - the time to play outside, not in the kitchen. Simplifying meal prep also takes the frustration out of the evening if a golf round goes a little longer, the kids are doing sidewalk chalk, or you decide to walk the dog an extra loop around the block.
Instead of resenting meal prep and consider grocery shopping a necessary evil of life, I’ve discovered some things that might put a little more Betty into your Crocker, so to speak. Though my kids will find it laughable, I actually have some Kitchen Tips that I’ve enjoyed and wanted to share with you.
Love the leftovers. Make more. Have more to eat. Then eat later without the prep.
Shop the frozen food section for ingredients. Did you know that they sell frozen diced onions? Just pour in the amount of chopped onion you want into your favorite recipe. Same goes for peppers, diced veggies. Buy the real stuff, just frozen. Simplify your cooking.
Plan ahead. Yeah, yeah, yeah…. My mom always told me this and I thought it was a bunch of bunk. But, like most mom-advice, we find its wisdom in due time.
Keep an ongoing grocery list. When you use the last of your favorite staple items, immediately put it on your shopping list. Call it ANAL if you must, but I call it Efficient Inventory Control.
Embrace the freezer. Fresh veggies on their last leg? Cut them up and throw into a freezer bag for pasta sauce. Even the kale and spinach. Your family will be none the wiser. Sick of eating rotisserie chicken? Take the rest off the bone and add it to your favorite soup. That fruit that will go bad when you leave town? Cut it up and add to a fruit smoothie later on.
Have a “Cook-Down.” This term coined by my dear friend, Susan, and it’s perfect. Periodically review your freezer contents and force yourself to build meals around what you have on hand. Add to your grocery list accordingly.
Eggs aren’t just for breakfast. And breakfast isn’t just for the morning. Want a quick meal of protein? Make eggs, frozen turkey sausage, and some fruit. You could even start you day over after this meal if you want to.
Make food that can be eaten at any time. Food that doesn’t have to be consumed right out of the oven. And goodness knows, we don’t need the stress for everything to be ready at the exact same time. This is isn’t Thanksgiving we’re talking about – it’s dinner. It comes every-single-day. Everyone can eat when they’re hungry and the food is there when they are.
Share the love. Share the food. Have a pitch-in with some friends. Invite everyone to come over and bring something from their fridges. Guaranteed, we all have a fraction of a meal somewhere in our fridges at any given moment and if you add sparkling water, wine, and a group of friends, suddenly it’s a divine feast.
Eat. Play. Love. Someone should write a book about that. Or maybe make a movie. ;)
Real. Positive. Change. – Judi