Despite what you may think, healthy dinners can be both easy and delicious. You simply need some planning and preparation. When you have a day that you are able to leave work early or you’re off work, take some time to plan a menu and do your shopping. For members of our produce club, it’s so easy because your fruits and vegetables are automatically selected for you, bagged, and ready to pick up. Just grab some of our organic meats on your way out, and you’re set. If you are like our produce members and you have to wait until you have your groceries before you know what you’ll be preparing this week, a great website to help you choose recipes for using specific vegetables is www.yummly.com. You can select what ingredients you want to include, like when you’re wondering what to do with eggplant, carrots, tomatoes, and green onions. Or you can also check off ingredients you want excluded, such as allergens like gluten, corn, or peanuts. Once you know what recipes you’ll be using, you can prepare ahead of time for several dinners to save time and effort later. Try calculating how much of certain ingredients you’ll need for all your recipes and storing them cut up and ready to go in containers in the fridge. For example, you might need 3 cups worth of chopped onions for this week’s cooking, so you can chop up that much onion and take it out as you need it. If you want to go really hard core with prepping, you can make enough food for several days all at once and freeze or refrigerate it until you need it. Soups, chili, pot roast, meatloaf, hamburgers, chicken breast, casseroles, and salads are all workable options for make ahead meals. Any recipe that can be doubled or that is designed to make ahead in large batches could work. It’s good to read up on the details if you’re going big with cooking to avoid problems (http://once-a-monthcooking.com/), but here’s the basics.
- Start by collecting your recipes and calculating how much you need of everything, then get it ready.
- Cook any meats first. Things like roasting chicken and browning ground beef need doing before you chop up your vegetables.
- When you prepare your vegetables, put all the chopped up carrots for every recipe in one bowl, onions, tomatoes, and all the other ingredients in others, then dip out what you need as you put each recipe together.
- Come up with a cooking plan, what you’ll do first and how long it will take it all to cook, then execute your foolproof plan.
- When bad stuff happens anyway, persevere. As with anything, learning to be efficient at cooking for the week could take practice, so be patient and keep trying. Hopefully, you’ll end up with a lot of delicious, healthy food, ready to eat.