Preparation is a key component to your success. A great plan in place is the start.
However, if you don’t take the time to prepare your meals with some strategy, then you may be right back where you started, no time to cook. The following tips will help you succeed.
Make Ahead/Prep Ahead
There are different ways that you can get prepared for the week. One of the steps you can take is to chop and do your prep work in advance. For example, if you’re making a stir fry or a curry you can prepare the veggies on the weekend and store them in airtight containers. This works well for a variety of recipes.
Buy prepared. You can buy some of your ingredients prepared. For example, you can buy sliced mushrooms instead of whole ones. You can buy herbs in paste or tube. So you don’t have to hunt for fresh and your herbs are always ready to use. No mortar and pestle required. Here’s an example of what we’re talking about. http://www.gourmetgarden.com/en-us
Make Ahead and Freeze
Some meals can be made in advance and frozen. For example, casseroles work really well as make ahead meals. You can freeze them and then when you’re ready to have them for dinner, just pop them in the refrigerator in the morning to thaw out. When you get home, reheat and you’re good to go.
And think beyond tuna noodle casserole. For example, there are great, and healthy, recipes to consider like veggie lasagna and chicken enchiladas. Broccoli, beef, and potato casserole is one example of how you can get a whole meal in one dish. And curry casseroles with rice are fun to try too.
You might be surprised to learn that you can also make ahead and prepare your breakfast. You can refrigerate or freeze them depending on the recipe. One example is to make a large batch of breakfast burritos on the weekend and then wrap them individually with parchment paper and freeze them. In the morning, you just thaw them in the microwave, reheat and enjoy with the family or on the go. Whole grain waffles can be made ahead and frozen and then popped in the toaster in the morning.
Muffins, egg cups, and steel cut oats can all be made in advance and stored in single servings. You can then simply reheat in the morning. It’s a healthy breakfast in less than five minutes.
If you prefer a smoothie, then why not prepare your smoothie ingredients on the weekends. Place each smoothie’s diced fruit and/or veggies into a baggie and freeze. In the morning, add your fruit to your milk of choice in the blender; blend and enjoy. You can take it with you on your way out the door.
There are a number of different ways to start the day off right with a healthy breakfast and do it in just a few quick minutes. There really isn’t any reason not to. And of course other meals can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen until you need them.
For example, you can roast two chickens on the weekend. One is for Sunday dinner and the other can be diced up and used for chicken salad, stir fry, curry or a chicken casserole during the week. It’s all about planning in advance and setting aside a little time to prepare. Of course, some handy appliances can really help too.
Time Saving Kitchen Appliances
Let’s talk about the different time-saving healthy cooking appliances that can make your life a whole lot easier. You’re probably already familiar with the crockpot or slow cooker. A crockpot is excellent for making things like chili and stew. But you can also use a crockpot to make a roast, enchiladas and all sorts of dishes. This is a healthy cooking appliance that can literally change how you eat.
Another quick cooking appliance you might want to consider adding to your kitchen is a pressure cooker. Did you know you can cook chicken fricassee in the pressure cooker? You can also use it to make beans, whole grains, soups, and broths. Many people think pressure cookers are a bit old-fashioned. However, you can use them to make a number of very trendy meals like bone broths.
And the pressure cooker can prepare a meal in a tenth of the time that it might take to prepare in the oven. Today’s pressure cookers are digital too so you don’t have to worry about pressure building up or having any accidents. They’re much safer than they used to be.
Another appliance you might not have considered is the handy-dandy rice steamer or cooker. Did you know you can make an entire meal in a rice cooker? In a rice cooker all you have to do is dump your ingredients in and push a button. Twenty minutes later the meal is done.
It’s the same for pressure cookers, crock pots and other handy kitchen appliances. You can have healthy food waiting for you when you get home. It just doesn’t get any easier than that
Coming up in Part Four: Patience and Persistence