It began when I was in middle school and my mom decided to take a break from cooking. For a few years, give or take. I ate a lot of frozen dinners, and when my mom was on a diet (which was a lot), I experienced fake cheese, margarine, and low fat everything. This was also the period of my rebelling against summer camp (see intro entry) and taught myself to cook. I declared that I would never again eat dinner from a box, and for that matter, I was also going to eat real butter (more on that later).
Since that time, I’ve become accustomed to eating well, and if you want to witness a snit come on lightening quick, promise me a good meal and renege. (Side note: I realize that I cannot eat “well” all the time. One must be flexible. But I need a little mental preparation.) I also work full time and get home on the late side. Cooking when you’re hungry is not a good idea, generally speaking. Therefore, one of my days off is spent grocery shopping and food prepping.
My sweet husband works from home and, in theory, has gobs of time in which to prepare dinner. Oh but wait. His gifts do not lie in the kitchen. So I have to make it super quick and easy. Solution: food prep!
Regardless of your personal situation, food prepping is a godsend. You can take charge of your diet, save time, and perhaps save money if you tend to throw stuff out that you never got around to cooking. Key tools: storage containers (I use both hard plastic and vacuum storage), a large permanent marker and/or label maker. Optional: large capacity freezer, secondary refrigerator, and a Costco membership.
This week is a short week for me, due to my personal schedule, so I only had to prep two dinners instead of my usual three (Harissa Chicken with Potatoes and Leeks from Melissa Clark’s Dinner: Changing the Game; and Actual Drunken Noodles from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings). I make it as straightforward as possible by writing the plan on my kitchen whiteboard. I include my recipe source and location, where I’ve “hidden” certain items, and helpful tips in the pages of my cookbooks.
When Mark realizes belatedly that I’ll be home in 15 minutes, it’s no problem. Plenty of time to throw it all together and fake a pro job!