As much as I love to cook, I just don’t have the time anymore to make gourmet meals each night of the week. Since the baby has been born, I’ve been trying to get myself organized on the weekends in order to help make my weeknights easier. Jeff gets home from work after me, so it’s hard to take care of the baby, dogs, and cook dinner all by myself. I try to meal prep as much as I can on the weekend, so that we have healthy weeknight meals and I’m not killing myself to get it done. Here are five tips on how to meal prep that have worked for me!
Tip #1: Read through the entire recipe first
When I look at a recipe for dinner, I always make sure to read through the entire thing first. I’ve noticed that some recipes have you prep stuff that really could be prepped while other things in the recipe are cooking. It just doesn’t make sense!
For example, a recent recipe I made said the first step was to make a tahini sauce. When I read step 2, the recipe said to dice sweet potatoes and put them in the oven for 25 minutes. This didn’t make any sense to me! I could have made the tahini sauce while the sweet potatoes roasted, not vice versa. This is why I always read through the recipe first before I start making anything.
Tip #2: Re-use ingredients in multiple meals
One thing that I’ve tried to do more of recently is to repurpose the same ingredient in different meals. If I’m going to spend time washing, peeling, dicing, and roasting a veggie, I want to make sure that I can get a few uses out of it. I also like to make extras for leftovers! In the recipe I was talking about above, I made extra sweet potatoes, so Jeff and I could get two nights out of that meal, but I also gave Greyson some of the sweet potatoes before I used them in that recipe for Jeff and I.
Another example of re-using ingredients in multiple meals that I recently did was with rice. I made a bunch of rice, so that I could put it in my soups for the work week. The rest of the rice went into a buddha bowl that we ate for dinner that week. I use these Pyrex storage bowls to store the food in. I love them because they are obviously reusable because they’re glass and I can throw them into the dishwasher!
Tip #3: Take everything out of the fridge/pantry beforehand
I like getting all of the ingredients out of the fridge or pantry before I meal prep because it cuts down on me running around the kitchen with my head cut off looking for what I need. I also will be using salt, pepper, and olive oil consistently in different recipes, so it’s best to just leave that out on the counter. I also like to wash all of the produce after I take it out, so it is much easier to just grab and prep it, instead of wash, prep, wash, prep, repeat.
This is a little off topic, but I wanted to share the reusable produce bags that I take to the grocery store. I don’t like using a bunch of plastic bags to put my produce in because they just go right in the garbage when I get home and they’re obviously not good for the environment. I use these because they are reuasable AND machine washable!
Tip #4: Cook the food that takes a long time to cook
When I come home after work, I normally take the dogs out, start getting Greyson’s dinner ready, and then start getting our dinner ready. It’s difficult for me to chop up zucchini and sauté them for 20 minutes because we’re normally hungry and I just don’t have the time to spend on that.
I like to prep and cook the harder (and more time consuming) things like roasted sweet potatoes, squash, sautéed zucchini, etc, on the weekend, so I can just take them out and heat them up during the week. This helps me cut down on the time it takes to get dinner on the table.
I like to use a silpat on my sheet pans when I put them into the oven because it helps to make sure the food doesn’t stick to the pan and it’s better to use than tin foil because it’s reusable. This helps to make cleaning the pan after I am done using it much easier, because all of the olive oil and stuff is on the silpat and not the pan! I just saw that Amazon makes their own silpat that I’m linking here! I’m excited to give that one a try.
Tip #5: The dishwasher is your best friend
I love to meal prep to make things easier, but I also love to put everything in the dishwasher to make clean up even easier. I obviously use a lot of pots, pans, spoons, etc, and I don’t want to spend my Sunday night doing a million dishes, so I put everything I can into the dishwasher.
I hope you enjoyed my meal prep weekend tips to help make your weeknights easier! Let me know what you tried!
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