I played a little game with myself yesterday. It went something like this…. “see how much food you can cook for the week in two hours. GO.”
I have 6 Final Exams coming up over the next 2.5 weeks, and knowing how little time I would have to cook, I wanted to spend a couple of hours yesterday prepping for the upcoming madness. However, I didn’t want it to take up my entire Sunday, so I gave myself two hours. It was a challenge. It was fierce. Mushrooms were flying, rosemary is probably in every little crevice of my kitchen, chocolate chips are now coating my wooden floors. I worked like a mad woman, but I ended up creating some amazing food that I know will keep me healthy and less stressed over the next few weeks.
In JUST two hours, this is what I cooked from start to finish. Oh, AND factor in the time that it took me to carry every single creation, every step of the way, from my kitchen over to my window to photograph it in the daylight. So if it took me two hours, it would take you less. Trust me!
1. Started off with sweet potatoes two ways. Maple Rosemary (left), and just plain old salted ‘taters (right). Recipe to come.
2. Turkey meatballs. Recipe to come.
3. Whole Wheat Farfalle Pasta
4. Black Bean and Lentil Veggie Burgers. Recipe to come.
5. Baked Chicken with Dill, Rosemary and Paprika
6. Whole Wheat Couscous
7. Chopped up Veggies, ready to go.
8. The best– super healthy– cookies I have ever made. Banana Chocolate Chip. Recipe to come.
I was honestly pretty impressed at the end of this. This is a TON of food that I will get through over the next few weeks and I cooked it in a tiny kitchen with a mini stove that likes to periodically shut off, four burners, and 1 cutting board. Some tips for multi tasking and getting the most out of two hours of prep work:
- Clean as you go. My mom would be so proud to hear me say this right now. This is her trick. Do one thing, clean, get ready for the next.
- Think ahead and use an assortment of cooking methods. In other words, don’t plan to cook a bunch of things that all require the oven. I cooked some things that required the oven, others that required the stove top.
- Keep your garbage can out. Mine usually is stored under my kitchen sink, but when I started cooking with it out, open, and empty, it made things so much easier. It helps me easily keep things clean along the way and throw away empty cartons, wrappers, and containers as I go.
- Plan your recipes ahead of time. I did some research over the weekend, figured out my recipes, and went to the store Sunday morning to be sure I had everything I needed.
- Keep it simple. As you’ll see this week when I blog about the recipes, they are all pretty simple. I knew I didn’t have a lot of time, so I just stuck to basics and added a little bit of flavor to every dish.
- Cook food that can be frozen. Aside from the fresh veggies, everything else can be frozen in tupperware. I won’t get through all of this in the next week, so it’s nice to be able to freeze some of it for the following weeks.
- Play some music, wear some comfy clothes that you can get dirty, and *focus*! It’s amazing how much you can get accomplished when you are truly focused on the task at hand
When prepping for the week, I tried to cook a little bit of everything. A few carbs (sweet potatoes, couscous, pasta), some protein (chicken, turkey meatballs, bean/lentil burgers), I got some veggies ready to go and I of course cooked a healthy dessert. Phew. I am tired just recapping this!!
But, I do want to make a point that preparing for the week can be quick, it can be simple, and it can MAJORLY help out during really busy and stressful times. It’s doing yourself a huge favor. It’s making your life a little easier. It’s being nice to yourself. And we can all use a little more of that right?
Do you prep on the weekends for the week? Any go-to batch recipes that you make?