Maybe it’s the hectic nature of the holidays but everyone at STRIVE with Janelle has been on a huge time-saving kick lately. Anything we can do to save a minute here and there, especially when it comes to everyday “chores”, is worth a shot because there are just so many other fun things to do!
In most households the process of meal prep can be a, well, a process. As you may have read in Janelle’s kitchen essentials blog link to blog there are all kinds of tools to help make mealtime quicker and easier. They definitely do the trick at prep time, but we thought why not take it a step further with what we are actually preparing?
While you may not be a stranger to the idea of meal planning, have you ever really put it into action? We didn’t. We would just try and whip up something different (yet healthy and fast) every day. Looking back we see the error of our ways, and have since implemented some time-saving strategies that have cut our kitchen time down even more.
Here are three ways we’ve revised the way we serve up healthy dishes to save time!
Cooking in Bulk
Whether you have a lot of people in your family like Janelle, or it’s just you and a significant other, we’re willing to bet you buy some products in bulk. But have you ever thought to actually cook in bulk too? All you have to do is plan 2-3 meals per week and make enough to last at least two (if not three) days. Stews, casseroles and pastas make great leftovers, and those are perfect for this time of year!
We know what you’re thinking. Who wants to eat the same thing multiple days in a row? We hear ya, but adding something as simple as a salad as a side dish, or even a dollop of Greek yogurt to the top of a stew helps switch things up. That way you only have to cook three times per week at the most, and freeze or refrigerate the rest. It’s a little more work up front due to doubling or tripling the ingredients, but those handy tools Janelle loves help out there, and it’s so nice knowing a healthy dinner is already waiting in the fridge. Just heat and serve!
This also works great for breakfast! Try freezing batches of hearty muffins and pancakes for the family.
Like cooking in bulk, the idea behind this is to cook now, eat later. The difference is the quantity of meals you cook at one time. When you bulk cook, you’re just doing one meal to eat for the next two days or so. With freezer meals, you prepare multiple different meals at one time, stock the ingredients in the freezer and just pull them out when it’s time to get cooking. You can even cook the meals then freeze them so you can just reheat and eat!
Stretching the Main Ingredient
The final way we’ve tried to make cooking quicker is to use a main ingredient for multiple recipes. Say we roast a large turkey. We cut up and store that same turkey and use it to make turkey chili, tacos, salad, and whatever else we can dream up! It’s a nice way to create a different dish while only having to do minimal prep since our main ingredient is taken care of.
The best thing about these time-saving tips is that they can be used together. For example, you can prep three different meals (or the same one) on Sunday night all using roasted turkey!
So, are you ready to give this meal prepping thing a try? C’mon, give it a chance! Let us know what you think, or share any of your own time-saving tips in the comments below!