Some days I really wish I had a cooking show. Not because I’m a great cook (honestly, I started a fire boiling eggs… don’t ask!). I don’t want a cooking show to be famous or to justify my early evening glass of wine. Truth is, I really just want a kitchen assistant. You know, the one that does all the prep work before the show starts and the on-air personality shows you how to make this fabulous dish in only 10 minutes.
It is amazing how blocking out a little chunk of time for food prep saves bunches of cook time later! Playing kitchen assistant now really will make putting together your week’s menu quicker and easier.
5 Food Prep Tips
- Wash your fruits and veggies as soon as you get home from the grocery. It’s much simpler to wash the whole container of fruit than it is to wash it per serving as you’re already hurried to pack lunches or feed little mouths.
- Cut up your veggies before they enter your fridge. If I don’t cut up broccoli or a head of cauliflower as soon as I buy it and it goes in my fridge, it’s as good as gone. Pathetic, I know. But the longer it sits in my fridge uncut, the longer it will probably sit there. It usually takes my hubby getting on me about it (or mold) to make it move from it’s original spot. If, however, I give myself produce prep time after coming home from the grocer, it gets eaten quicker, more often, and made into a delicious dish. No more waste or procrastinating!
- Use a food processor or chopper. A knife doesn’t have to be the only cutting tool used in the kitchen. Speed up cutting and chopping by using appliances.
- Cutting bunches of veggies at once? Work with them according to color. Start with onions or cauliflower. You don’t want white veggies stained red from something like a juicy red pepper. Plus, this saves extra washing of cutting boards in between veggies.
- Pre-cook your meat and freeze it. I’m not saying make a whole freezer meal. However, I like to buy meat in the family packs at the store to save money and because it is something I will be using for several recipes. I’m not, however, going to use all 3 pounds of ground turkey in one recipe. Once again having a meat-making prep party helps me get ahead on meal planning and meal prep. Here are some ideas on how to make up your meat in advance:
- Brown ground meat. Out of a 3 pound package of ground turkey (or beef), I will brown up 1 pound with taco seasoning and the other 2 pounds unseasoned. The unseasoned meat can be easily be used for any entrée. Add seasoning (if desired) when you’re ready to make your entrée. Think casseroles, soups, Hamburger Helper, or chili.
- Grill chicken, slice it and freeze it! This is great reheated for fajitas, grilled chicken salad, BBQ chicken pizza, etc! And its all done at once!
- Divide and conquer! Since I buy all my meat in family packs, I will open the jumbo package of chicken and divide it out into portions before it visits the freezer. Since we have 5 in our family, I will divide the 12-pack of chicken breasts in half so we can have two meals from it and I’ve saved money by buying in bulk.
- Make hamburger patties ahead of time and put them in the freezer. Do the work now so you’re not as hurried later.
My advice… turn on some music and pour yourself a glass of wine. It makes food prep go so much quicker. And you’ll love having a full fridge and stocked freezer at the end of the day!