While meal-prepping is an idea to save yourself time when you have a busy schedule and still need to cook, sometimes, it can be intimidating to step into a new routine. Whether you are always on the go, a parent of one (that feels like four), or have just developed an aversion to cooking and time in the kitchen, you can implement and perfect a routine. With a few tweaks and a few good tools— like Prepdeck — in your kitchen, you can put a warm meal on the table every night.
1. Make a quick meal plan
A cooking routine is simplified when you already know what you want to cook every day and have what you need for each dish. This is why people love meal kit delivery services so much. Without a plan and ingredients, you can find it easier to grab something from a takeout menu because you don't have the emotional energy to try to decide what recipes to make with the food you have on hand.
When you have a few extra minutes, sit down and make a list of the foods that you want to prepare in advance. Even if you are not preparing a week's worth of meals all at once, go ahead and make note of what meals you will have for the next seven days. The more detailed you can be the better, so as you make your list, consider what ingredients will be required to make each dish.
2. Do your weekly grocery trip for supplies
To perfect your cooking routine, a weekly trip to the grocery store for the items you need should be the goal. Remember, the more trips you have to make to get what you need, the more time you use, and the more you will likely spend on snacks and other items you don't necessarily need.
After creating your meal plan and gathering recipes, make a shopping list. Make sure you consider what spices you'll need to grab and make note of what staple items you may be lacking in your pantry that are easy to forget, such as flour, milk, and cooking oil.
3. Prepare meat and freeze it
When you get home from the grocery store, refrain from popping meats in the freezer just yet. Most meat freezes very well even after it has been cooked. So, cooking your meat in advance and freezing it saves time for the rest of the week. For example, if you are using grilled chicken or cooked ground beef for a recipe, go ahead and cook the meat, allow it to cool, and then place it in the freezer. This will keep those fresh flavors preserved until you are ready for cooking.
The meat that you will be needing for recipes for the next day or so can be tucked away in the refrigerator. As a side note, if loading ingredients into your Prepdeck, the removable containers can be perfectly stored in the fridge.
4. Pull out everything you need
As you get prepared to set up your Prepdeck for the days to come or you are in the process of pulling recipes together, grab everything you need from the pantry and fridge. You save yourself a lot of steps just by pulling out all the ingredients so everything is within reach while you work.
Also, get the tools you need for food prep out and ready. If you are using the Prepdeck, a lot of the tools are integrated into the one compact system, such as a cutting board, measuring cups, slicers, graters, and more.
5. Chop veggies and other ingredients in advance
A lot of vegetables and other foods are fine to store for several days in the fridge, even after they have been chopped. Peppers, cucumbers, fresh herbs, carrots, broccoli, garlic, and even onions can be chopped up and kept in containers in your fridge.
When you are using the Prepdeck, you can simply load the different vegetables into containers, place the containers in the fridge, and then fill up your Prepdeck station with the ingredients you need as they are needed.
6. Make double-batch dishes when possible
The double-batch trick is a sneaky way to save time in the kitchen and get into meal prep at the same time. In general, double-batching means doubling a favorite recipe you are already cooking, so you have one meal to serve fresh and one that can go in the freezer.
For example, if you are making stuffed mushroom caps, go ahead and double the recipe. You may have a little more prep, but you save time because you don't have to gather ingredients twice and you'll have a ready meal in the freezer.
7. Label everything
Whether it's simple peel-and-stick labels or a wet-erase marker, label the foods and ingredients you whip up in advance for the fridge or freezer. Label them with the name and the date. With your meals planned and ready, you probably won't have anything like chopped sprouts hanging out in the fridge forgotten, but this can help you keep tabs on what you have and when it was prepared in advance.
A Cooking Routine Is Made Easy with Prepdeck
From simply making lunch to ramping up your cooking routine so it flows more easily, the right kitchen tools can make all the difference. Prepdeck is specifically designed for mise en place, or everything in its place. Be sure to check out Prepdeck's compact system that can make your favorite recipes and time in the kitchen much easier to handle.