Imagine you just finished a grueling day of work. You’re exhausted. You just want to go home, pour a glass of pinot, and have food handed to you on a silver platter that you didn’t have to make yourself. Except, most times, you come home just to do more work; cooking.
Cooking might as well be another job in and of itself, especially if you’re cooking for more than one person. And the last thing you want to do after that long workday is spend the evening slaving over a hot stove and then washing the dishes thereafter. What’s the resolution here? Meal planning.
1. Plan Ahead
It’s called meal planning for a reason! But also consider planning your meals in your head by the ingredients you’ll use, how you’ll set up your cooking station, etc. Planning all this ahead of time ensures that when you’re ready to cook, there’s no time wasted! Cook Smarts actually suggests having four to six pantry recipes in your back pocket that you can cook up anytime, and this goes for just about any recipe. It never hurts to jump into a cookbook for some recipes to keep on the backburner!
2. Batch Cook
Meal planning doesn’t just mean planning for the week. You could plan for the next 2-3 weeks or even for the month! This means setting yourself up for success and ensuring the cooking session goes as efficiently as possible. Be sure to line up the best cooking tools - large pans, cutting boards, and your best, sharpest knives. Also make sure you have your lunch containers ready and label the containers if you need to! It’s also helpful to clean as you go so you don’t have to worry about cleaning up the mess after you finish up cooking. (I also prefer BPA-free storage containers.)
3. Make Meals That Will Make For Good Leftovers
It’s possible that you may cook more than your stomach can handle and will need to store some leftovers away. With this being said, it’s recommended to cook meals that are good for storing in a lunch container overnight and will still be good the next day. For instance, salad often wilts sitting in all the dressing overnight and just doesn’t taste the same the next day.
But, if you make some grilled chicken, that can easily be heated up and eaten the next day and it might even taste better than the day before, if you’re lucky!
These three easy tips will ensure that you can get your meal planning done efficiently enough to just enjoy your evenings after work. Enjoy the night off, chef!