4 Simple Dinner Prep Ideas to Maximize Kitchen Time
Who has time to spend hours in the kitchen?
Going out can get expensive, never mind the unknown ingredients that go into the meal you order.
One of the ways I can be a good steward of our health and money is to cook at home. But with my husband, myself, and a house full of boys – that is sometimes easier said than done.
Over the years I have learned to work smarter, not harder in the kitchen.
Here are few ideas to get you in and out of the kitchen with some simple, easy, healthy dinner and meal prep ideas.
1. Involve your family. Make cooking a family affair. Whether you are preparing for you and your husband, or you are cooking for a full house. Cooking is much more fun when you do it together. We put on a dinner music playlist and laugh and sing our way through meal prep. Usually my husband chops the veggies, my boys work on the dishes while I prep the main course and sides.
2. Batch cook. When my boys were young, I would use the weekend to meal prep for the week. My husband would entertain the children while I batch cooked. Maximize cooking time by preparing a large amount of one meal to use later in the week or to freeze. Make a pot of steel cut oatmeal or breakfast tacos to eat for breakfast later in the week…or even month.
Double or triple meals like lasagna or enchiladas. Have one for dinner, and one or two to freeze. Instead of cooking one pound of ground meat, cook five. Use one for lasagna, one for tacos, and freeze the rest to use later.
Now that I have teenage boys who play sports, I go to Costco and buy 40 pounds of chicken at a time, and my husband smokes it. Then we cut it up and use the flavor sealer to freeze meal size portions of sliced chicken. To reheat, I put it in the oven, or you could use the microwave, and cover with a wet paper towel to steam the chicken. Then the chicken can is perfect on or with a salad, as chicken salad, in soup, a casserole, enchiladas, or fajitas. The options are endless.
3. One dish meals. I love making curry, soups, and stews in the crockpot in the fall. They are simple to put together and you can start them in the morning and by dinner time you have a yummy one-dish wonder. This means fewer dishes and less time in the kitchen for you.
4. Keep a well stocked pantry and freezer. Keeping items on hand that you use frequently minimizes last minute trips to the grocery store. For me, this looks like black beans, rice, rice pasta, chicken broth, green chilies, curry paste, braggs amino, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and frozen fruit and berries. By having frequently used items always on hand it is easy to whip up quick favorites in no time.
Taking time to plan your meals out ahead of time makes meal prep a breeze. Make meal prep fun by working together as a family. With one dish meals, batch cooking, and well stocked pantry you can save money and time in the kitchen. And bonus, it frees up more time for face-to-face time with your husband, which is a W-I-N!
Wife Step: Take part in our 5 Day Health & Wellness Challenge where you’ll get 5 days of recipes and tips to get you back on track for your health…and your marriage!
Misty Phillip is an author, blogger, and speaker. Misty believes a woman’s highest calling is to love God and make him known, by loving and serving her family and others with her God-given gifts and talents.
Misty is married to the love of her life and best friend, Peter Phillip, and together they have three amazing young men and are blessed with a precious daughter-in-law. Misty left her corporate career to homeschool her boys. As her boys have grown she began a new season of writing and speaking.
In 2011 Misty became involved in the pro-life movement speaking for Texas Right to Life soon after her son Liam was diagnosed with Trisomy 18. This life changing event launched Misty into the pro-life movement. Recently, she has joined Save the 1 as a National Pro-life speaker. Misty shares devotions on Christian Living, Faith, Home, Family and the books she loves at MistyPhillip.com– By His Grace – Seek Jesus, Study the Word, & Grow in Grace.