While there are many quick and easy ways to prepare a meal, homework can feel like a chore. Thinking about what to eat, especially when you prepare food for many people.
The key to mastering the preparation of meals is to harmonize the ingredients and prepare them in large quantities.
So with that in mind, here are some time-saving tips that will improve your meal preparation and planning, so you’ll have to spend more time in the kitchen all day.
Prep Master #1: KEEP THE BASIC INGREDIENTS IN STOCK
You can make hundreds of meals just by having the basics in your closet and fridge. The healthy ingredients you should have on hand should be things like red rice or the brown one, chicken broth, whole wheat pasta, garlic, onion, tomato sauce, pesto sauce, milk, eggs, wheat flour, cereal, and raw nuts.
It does not matter what protein you are planning to prepare. Once you have these ingredients in stock, you can prepare stew, pasta, steamed meat and baked fish for the whole family.
An excellent way to stay motivated and on track is to follow the example of someone you find inspiring.
Prep Master #2: MAKE BATCHES
Whether it’s for weekday or weekend meal, it’s important that you always prepare extra. For example, if you plan on cooking baked fish, cook twice as many vegetables as you need.
You can use some vegetables for your fish, and later on, you can add them to your stir-fry meals.
Once you’re done the cooking, do not forget to put the food in individual containers and cool them in the fridge for easy lunches or dinners the next day.
Adjust your meals according to your family’s taste, and divide each meal into one-quarter vegetables, one-quarter fruit, one-quarter protein, and one-quarter grain.
While planning takes time, having all of your food prepped will help you and your family eat healthier meals consistently.
Prep Master #3: STORE SALAD IN A JAR
This is an easy way to keep your salad fresh and to prevent those beautiful leaves from getting soaked! Start with your covering at the bottom of the jar.
Next, add a selection of firmer vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, squash, carrots or peppers, etc. Add any protein below; sliced meat or smoked mackerel, for example.
Continue with a pinch of toasted seeds or nuts.
Finish with softer leaves and vegetables like sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. Screw the lid on and keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days.
When you are ready to get in, simply unscrew the lid and empty it face down into a container. The dressing will cover everything very well and you will have a delicious mixed salad to enjoy in seconds.
Prep Master #4: USE MORE PERISHABLE INGREDIENTS FIRST.
Families throw around $ 30 worth of food each week! 30-40% of the food we buy ends up in the trash. That’s bad for your pocket and bad for the planet.
And it sucks to spend money and time preparing the food only to discover that it has been spoiled before it can be used.
Consider your meal plan and use more delicate green vegetables first, and creamier vegetables like the pumpkin by the end of the week.
Meats and fish also have a short shelf life.
Prep Master #5: USE SLOW COOKING OFTEN
These are excellent for creating large amounts of food because of its size. You can easily fit into five or six servings of food in these or even more. So you will be fed throughout the next week.
Second, they are also very easy to use. Simply add all the ingredients you plan to use in the morning, turn them on and when you return home from work, you will have that meal ready to be served.
This is very good news for those who live an ultra-busy lifestyle. You can even consider investing in two pots so you can make two dishes simultaneously.
All you have to do when you get home is to share them in your containers and you will be ready.
Another good thing about slow cooking is that you do not have to use oils or condiments a lot while cooking, some herbs along with their main ingredients will give a good flavor to the food, so it is an excellent way to prepare your food.
Prep Master #6: KNOW WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN NOT FREEZE
Another quick tip you should know is what you can and cannot freeze. If you decide to freeze your food, you can take the food preparation a step further, actually preparing some easy meals during the week.
All you have to do is prepare the dish and then place it in safe containers for the freezer, placing them in the freezer so you only have to remove them when necessary.
It will work just like any frozen dinner, only much healthier.
In general, you can freeze almost any source of protein, except fish and eggs. Those will not work so well when frozen, so it’s better to prepare fresh ones.
Chicken, beef or pork are excellent options for freezing. You can also freeze the rice quite well, either alone or as part of a mixed dish such as a casserole dish.
Whole wheat pasta will freeze well, however, it will be on the slightly soggy side after reheating. Since the pasta is quite quick and easy to cook fresh, you may prefer to prepare it as needed.
Certain vegetables also tend to freeze better than others. Corn, peas, onions, mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes and cauliflower tend to work very well frozen.
On the other hand, broccoli, zucchini, and peppers do not freeze as much as they tend to soak more when they are overheated, so you may want to exclude them from frozen foods.
If you do not mind that slightly soggy flavor or plan to cook them just a little before freezing them, then you can freeze them too.
Cooked sweet potatoes can also be easily frozen.