Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How To Get Ahead In The Kitchen

Back a couple of weeks ago, I stressed the importance of taking back control over our lives, and I said we could have a realistic discussion of how to do that.

I talked about eating at home more, but what if you have a busy life or you don’t want to spend hours over the stove every week?
One way to get the best of both home-cooked meals and frozen dinners is to do both!
Instead of settling for frozen cardboard meals, plan ahead, make one or two extra meals while you have the groceries and the time, and freeze them!
Label carefully and think ahead. Either write on the package what’s inside and how to cook it, or include written instructions on paper or cardstock, or whatever you have. If you have teenagers, lazy people or people that just don’t know how to cook in your home, think of them and make it as easy as possible. Or perhaps you live alone, perhaps you foresee a lifestyle change coming, just a new baby that’s due soon.
Either way, take into account what you, or the rest of your family, likes to eat. Make that.
Don’t make something no one will want to eat, because then it’ll just sit in the freezer getting old, becoming unrecognizable and in time, someone is just going to throw it out.
Nothing gained that way.

So step one is to honestly go over what you and/or your family like to eat. If it’s spaghetti, then brainstorm ways that the sauce can be made ahead and frozen or canned, or whatever preservation method works for you. If the family has a meatball lover, like we do, make some ahead of time and freeze them.
We can get up in the morning with the intent to make a dozen meatballs, but if we have no energy by 3 pm, then we’re having a meatball-less dinner.
Plan ahead. Make the meatballs some evening when there’s nothing on television and you’re bored. (Told you this would be a realistic discussion)
You found ground beef on sale. You can afford to get twice the amount you normally do, so make those meatballs because the price of beef may go up again by the time you have the energy!

Spaghetti and meatballs with sauce is just one example. Feel free to substitute whatever dish strikes your fancy.

The point is to think ahead, plan and execute the plan.

Be realistic. Plan for laziness or power failures or heaven-forbid the illness of your family’s cook.

Survey your situation.
Execute that plan, one step at a time.
Rinse. Repeat.

Oh look, you’re one step ahead of where you were last friday.
Good for you!

Next time, de-mystifying the art of the homemade bread loaf.