One of the things that has been working for me lately is the preparing of all my dinners in just one day. I plan my menu on Sunday evening, buy my groceries on Monday morning, and spend Tuesday cooking. It’s nice to not have to fret about the number of steps a recipe takes, and hoping I have enough energy or motivation to do it on the day planned.
I’ve got a few pointers for you to help your cooking day go smoothly:
- Start with a clean kitchen! Empty the dishwasher you ran the night before, empty the sink of breakfast dishes, disinfect your counters (for obvious reasons), put away the handwashables that were left to dry on your counter, and empty the trash/recycling/compost bin.
- If you store your recipes on the computer, open a separate tab or window for each recipe. As you finish making a recipe, close the tab.
- EAT. Its SO easy to forget to eat in the process of being around so much food, but you’ll be glad you did. And drink water.
- Have LOTS of snacks at the ready for your children. Kids are like Pavlov’s Dogs when it comes to your being in the kitchen. You’re in there, they are hungry. Always. (Can I get an Amen?!?). Save yourself some stress and possible blurting of some not-so-nice-Mommy words, and have some snacks prepped and available for your kids. Or better yet, have someone taken them out of the house that day.
- Wash dishes as you go. Dishpan hands suck, but so does having to spend an hour standing at the sink washing the aftermath of your cooking day.
- Scan your recipes to make sure you have everything you need (you should have bought the stuff the day before) and to make note of things that take a little longer so you can start them first. For example, the cashews in my Stuffed Shells had to sit for a minimum of 2 hours, so I got those soaking first.
- If you feel yourself waning, stop. Just make sure you have a complete meal for that night, otherwise you’ll end up with bits and pieces of a whole bunch of recipes (I bounce around recipes a lot), and still stress about what to serve in just 5 hours! I finished 4 of my 7 meals, butI’m getting tired and punchy, so I’ve committed to finishing the meals tomorrow while Middle is at school and Little is napping.
- When cooking something that freezes well, cook lots! It will save you time on your next cooking day if you’ve already cooked your dry beans, quinoa, or rice and all you have to do is defrost.
- As you use up a common ingredient, write it on a grocery list immediately. Today, I ran dangerously close to running out of olive oil, tahini, and whole black peppercorns. But because I wrote them on my list, I won’t have to remember that I almost ran out the next time I go to use them!