Friday, February 27, 2015
I have asked myself this question many, many times: "Who has the time to cook?"
I certainly do not. Well, at least not all the time. But we have to eat all the time, so there in lies the paradigm. When I was a working single mom, I would plan out my evening's dinner by the route I drove home and what fast food place I was to stop at before I pulled into the driveway. I'm sure many of you have taken advantage of the drive through lane at any of the many get in and get out food joints on your path home from work. I quickly grew tired of those same bland flavors, as well as the overall price tag I was spending at the end of the month. So I made a decision. I chose to cook only one day a week. And my logic in this is that if I am going to go through the enormous effort of messing up my kitchen, cooking, and then cleaning, I only wanted to do that once a week. Dinner on those other nights in that week were then going to be just as easy for me to prepare dinner at home than it was for me to grab a bucket of chicken.
Here are the tools and tricks you will need.
There are five easy steps to how I make dinner for my family every night of the week, yet only cook once:
#1 - You need to have a freezer. Since most of us have a fridge freezer combo, you're set. I freeze a lot of what I have cooked in preparation for the following nights. If you have a deep freeze, or can buy one, do. It will save you on space and give you the opportunity to plan further in advance. DO NOT go out and buy one to follow my way of cooking. But if a great deal comes along, and you can buy one, and have the room to store it, go ahead. I happened to buy mine off of a yard sale site for $50. So, do what is accessible to you.
#2 - I use a Crockpot A LOT!! I do a ton of cooking in the good old slowcooker. So you are going to want to get your hands on one of these eventually. It will save you time, and sanity by using it to cook your food.
#3 - You will want to have some large pots and pans to cook with. I have two large skillets measuring 12 inches across and 3 inches deep. I have purchased ones this size at numerous places including Costco, Target, Ross, K-Mart, and even the DI. I also have a large 16 quart stock pot that I bought from Ream's. I cook for a family of six, so when I'm cooking multiple meals, I need a lot of cooking space, and so will you. If you have the funds to invest in some nice cookware, do. Otherwise, start at the DI and work your way up. I buy so many cooking items second hand. It's always the first place I look.
#4 - To store all your pre-made dinners, you will need plastic freezer bags, saran wrap, tin foil, tin foil trays (I always get these at the DollarTree.), paper or plastic containers, etc. Buy your favorite brands and what is most cost effective to you.
#5 - There are some times that you will want to use a microwave to either defrost or re-heat your prepared meals; or have your kids do it. But you do not have to have one of these to prepare your dinner. It just so happens to make a dinner with less mess, and less stress.
The only real tip I have for you is this:
All my recipes can be easily altered to use what you have in your pantry and to what your family likes to eat. So don't stress if you don't have the same ingredients. Improvise!
That's basically all the steps you'll need to take to start cooking only once a week. Now, not all of my recipes on this blog will be a cook once a week kind of recipe. But a majority of them will be recipes based upon that idea. So the more you cook in advanced, the more recipes of mine you can use, and prepare those last minute dinners quickly.
I hope you get the chance to try some of my future posts and recipes, and that they help you get a tasty, better for you dinner on the table each night.