I spoke to one of my oldest, closest friends yesterday. She lives in LA and has an twelve-year-old step daughter and two baby boys under three. And, a husband who loves home cooking. We were speaking about the new blog and she said “Lize, your recipes are so great, but when do you find the time?” I actually get asked this question all the time. We all know how incredibly busy being a mom really is and, for sure, cooking is a huge time commitment. The meal planning, shopping, prepping, dishes, etc. My friend suggested I develop a time line or a step-by-step plan for my recipes. While I don’t think I can realistically do that for everything I cook, I can offer some simple time-saving tips to make cooking more manageable and approachable. So, here you go Blue Moon….
Make a meal plan and shopping list at the start of the week
Every sunday I think about what I want to make for dinner for the next few nights. I then make a shopping list with everything I need. That way, when I go to the market on Monday, I won’t forget anything and I can be as efficient as possible. It also keeps me from buying things that will go to waste. Only trick is to actually remember the list!
Get as much prep work done as you can during the day
Whether you have napping babies or kids at school, try to prep as much as you can ahead of time. Ever since my first was born, I have gotten into the habit of cooking dinner mid-morning. The dinner rush is insane and it isn’t realistic to attempt cooking during this hour. This is precisely why I love one-pot-wonders! So, block off a free 30-60 minute chunk during the day to chop veggies, season meat, prepare salads(dress later), make turkey burger patties, etc. So, when the kids start complaining they are hungry, you will be thankful you just have to do some last minute cooking in a clean kitchen!
If your husband or partner isn’t home for dinner, prepare a plate
As nice as it is to get a freshly cooked dinner, it is also okay to prepare a plate, cover it with foil and stick it in a warm oven. No body wants to cook twice. Or clean up twice.
My kids are spoiled in the food department. They are NOT happy if I try to serve them leftovers. Therefore, I reinvent them so they don’t notice. Roast chicken one night turns into chicken tacos or quesadillas the next. Extra rice and veggies turns into a stir fry. You get my drift.
It’s okay to not make everything from scratch
Although it is always better to make your own stock, chop your own veggies, and make your own beans, it is more than okay to buy these items in the grocery store. Whole foods has a whole section dedicated to pre-chopped food. The most important thing is to cook, you shouldn’t feel that you need to make everything from scratch.