Ready, Set, Prep!

Posted by: Ren

Dinnertime on Monday can definitely set a mood for the rest of the week. If your first weekday dinner is frantic and unhealthy, it could potentially roll onto the next day.

But how can we make the best choices for our families dinners’ in the limited time that we have? While Suzy Homemaker might have been able to put pot roast or meatloaf on the table every night of the week, between tennis lessons and soccer practices and piano recitals and conference calls and parent-teacher meetings and anniversaries and birthdays, there’s not much time left to think about dinner.

The best way to handle the weekday rush is to be prepared. Which means setting aside a prep day: one or two days, perhaps the weekend, where a couple hours can be spent cutting, portioning, and prepping meat, fruit, and vegetables for the upcoming week.

Prep

Image courtesy of Eckhert’s

On my prep days I go to the vegetable market and stock up on things like onions, carrots, greens, and lots of fruit. I visit my fish guy to buy a couple kilos of shrimp, or a few red snapper, or whatever else happens to look good. I bring home sausages or chicken breasts or pork chops from the butcher shop.

As soon as I get home, I don’t waste any time in getting into the kitchen, for if I don’t do it right away it won’t happen at all. While a couple hours may seem like an absurd amount of time washing vegetables, peeling shrimp, cutting fruits, and then portioning and labeling everything into specific freezer or fridge packs, this will ultimately save the stress and time every other day of the week.

With an arsenal of prepared raw ingredients, one can make a quick breakfast scramble. Or saute a side of spinach with dinner because it’s already washed and ready to go. Perhaps even have a quick snack of freshly cut fruit. Or invite friends over for an impromptu dinner. It might seem like an unlikely hero, but a few pre-sliced onions and portioned amounts of shrimp can save your sanity.

Did you know that after cutting carrots into sticks, keep them stored in an airtight Tupperware container filled with water (tap water or unfiltered water, depending where you live, might have unappealing odors or flavors that will seep into the vegetables–use filtered water for best results). Your carrot sticks will stay crisp and cold for longer than usual.

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