Hey friends! I have something a little different for you today. Over the past few weeks I have been doing a lot more cooking at home. I’ve posted a few pictures of my recent meal prep sessions on Instagram and FaceBook and have gotten a lot of questions. I thought I would address some of those here by giving you a few tips I have found to be helpful to stay on track and make life a bit simpler.
5 Tips to Survive in the Kitchen
1. Tools of the Trade
It all starts with having the right tools. My 2 best friends in the kitchen are my crockpot and my new power pressure cooker. One pot meals are a lifesaver and mean less cleanup! #winning
The crockpot has been a favorite of mine for years. When the weather is cold we love soups in the crockpot. I have also made a lot of bone broth and its easy to cook a whole chicken in it as well. Roast is a favorite of my husbands and super easy. A roast, a can of Cream of Mushroom Soup and a package of Lipton Onion soup mix, 8 hours on low and you will have a dinner to die for. This is the crockpot I use and even bought one for my mom recently.
The Power Pressure Cooker was a Christmas gift and even though I have only had it 3 months, it might have surpassed the crockpot as my new favorite kitchen gadget. It makes meals so fast! I made 12 cups of rice in 6 minutes to add to some meals last week. I have cooked whole chickens, beef ribs, casseroles, rice, soup and veggies. It’s amazing and worth the investment! Google is my number one go-to for recipes based on things I have on hand. This is the pressure cooker I have and I also wrote more about it in this blog.
2. Double Your Food, Double Your Fun
Anytime I cook, I have leftovers. I learned this from my mom. It means I get to cook less often and on the days that are super busy, or I just don’t feel like cooking, we have options that aren’t fast food. Just about any recipe can be doubled with little effort and almost everything can be frozen. I keep out enough for a lunch or two and freeze the rest to enjoy in a week or two. Less time in the kitchen = more time for fun!
3. Variety Is the Spice of Life
If I’m being honest, I used to cook about once a week and we just ate that all week long. The same thing day in and day out. Boring! My mom gave me a great tip and I’m going to share it with you. She cooks 2 or 3 meals each week and that’s what I have started doing. I might make tacos one day, a roast the next day and eggroll in a bowl another day. This way we are having Mexican, Asian and American during the week and not eating the same thing everyday. It allows us to pick and choose from the leftovers to satisfy whatever we are craving and frees up the other days to do other things besides stand in the kitchen. Pick three very different recipes, pick three nights to cook (or cook them all in the same day) and enjoy a variety throughout the week.
4. Veggies Made Simple
My husband and I aren’t huge vegetable eaters. He would be perfectly happy with meat and potatoes for every meal with no veggie in sight and I would probably be okay with that too. However, we are grown ups and we know the importance of a balanced diet full of vegetables. Steamable bags of veggies are my absolute favorite hack. I usually have several bags in my freezer to choose from. Its simple and quick and I don’t have to worry about over or under cooking them. I add garlic pepper to almost every vegetable we eat to give it some flavor. I also love the bags of broccoli slaw and shaved brussels sprouts. I cook them with a little chicken bone broth and garlic to give them a great flavor. Dump it all in a pot and cook until tender. Easy peasy. If you make it easy and flavorful getting your veggies in won’t be nearly as daunting of a task. If you prefer cooking your veggies on the stovetop, try replacing the water you use with bone broth. It adds a layer of flavor that I think you will enjoy.
5. I Just Can’t Contain Myself
The number one question I get when I post a picture of my meal prepping is about my containers. I have 2 types that I normally use when meal prepping.
These soup containers allow me to separate soups, stews and chili into individual serving sizes and keep them in the fridge for a couple of days of leftovers or freeze them for a later date. They are stackable, freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe. Its perfect for my husband to be able to grab one and take it to work with him on the days he wants to eat in the office and work through his lunch break.
These containers and lids are perfect for just about everything else. The past couple of weeks I have done a combination of meat, veggies and rice as my meals and I just measure them out into individual servings using these containers. They are also freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe and easily stackable. They are a perfect for anyone counting macros and measuring out serving sizes of food.
Here are some pictures of previous meal prepping sessions and what the finished products look like. I tend to cook in batches, measure out individual servings and freeze. This has been the most successful method for us.
Let me know your meal prep methods. Do you cook everyday? Do you cook once a week? Or is it more sporadic? Leave some favorite recipes below too. I would love to try them out.