Friday, February 17, 2012

5 Cooking Tips to Make Your Work Week Easier

Usually I'm pretty good at staying on top of things, but with work heating up and our wedding drawing near lately I find myself saying "There are not enough hours in the day" a lot.  This thought typically crosses my mind on a weeknight at about 10:30PM after a full day of work, hitting the gym, running errands and getting the house in order (i.e. folding laundry, cleaning, preparing for the next day, etc.).  Pausing for just a moment I wonder if life was always this crazy or if I'm just overly aware of it at that moment.  I stop myself before starting to think too far ahead to what life with kids will be like (when we get there!).  I'm told that increases the craziness exponentially, albeit in a good way. 

One thing I refuse to compromise on as a result of our busy schedules is food.  I will not give in to the microwaveable meal, dining out or take out lifestyle on a regular weeknight.  For those of you out there that agree I thought I would share some some cooking tips that make my day/week a lot easier and might help you do the same.  In no particular order, here they are:

1.  Soup can be a savior - Make a big pot of soup on Sunday and package in to single serving plastic containers for a few days of lunches or a reheated dinner.

2.  Leftovers are like gold - I don't know about you, but food doesn't last long in my house.  If you're cooking for two adjust the recipe for four instead.  This way you can either have it for lunch or serve as dinner on "leftover night" later in the week.

3.  Always keep a baguette (or more!) on hand - Every other week I make 4 baguettes.  Once they've cooled, I cut each one in half and package them in large freezer bags.  They heat up really well (crunchy outside, soft middle) in the toaster oven and make for an easy carb side with dinner.  We usually dip ours in olive oil mixed with various spices.

4.  Plan ahead - Make a list of your meals at the beginning of the week and shop accordingly.  Nothing stresses me out more than not having a plan for dinner and frantically rushing to the store after work to gather ingredients.  The latter approach can also be quite costly.

5.  Use your freezer!  A certain degree of hoarding is okay when it comes to food.  As an example, I usually buy the family sized package of chicken and put two chicken breast halves in separate freezer bags for use throughout the week.  Similarly last year we froze blueberries and fresh corn off the cob so I have that as an easy go-to fresh fruit or vegetable option.

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