A few hours over the weekends is just the right amount of time to plan, prep and create a week’s worth of meals that can help your kids to shut the F up and limit the “I’m Starving” mantra.
In doing this for a hundred years, I have learned a thing or two and one of those things is that the more systems you can create and master, the better off you will be in the long run.
Look, the reality is – we are all pressed for time. And the daily distractions are nothing like what you and I grew up with. The pings, the dings, the devices and the kazillion television options is enough to give everyone a case of ADHD.
So, the more I can systematize and automate, the more efficient and productive I am going to be in all areas of my life. That includes my day job.
As a business strategist (AKA business therapist – that’s what my clients call me), I preach that shit all day long. One of the first things I do is outline how to blow up what you have been doing and start your systems from the ground up.
But, back to the kitchen.
Let me share 3 tips that might help you feel a tad less overwhelmed when that 5pm clock starts ticking. Kitchen burnout is real! If you don’t have a plan – you are going to “Postmates” yourself to death!
I use Friday – Sunday to create the plan, create the timeline, and then make the task list. Here is where you can start:
Tip #1 – Plan
Know in advance what dishes make the most sense to pair together – in terms of efficiency and time. You don’t want to make enchiladas, lasagna, Coq Au Vin or other time consuming dishes all in one weekend. One of those would do.
It’s my rule of thumb to have 3 ready made proteins in the fridge. This usually includes a chicken dish, some sort of roast-which includes something that can be tossed on the grill – no kitchen clean up required. Maybe some tuna or chopped eggs, maybe some beans.
Here are a few great options
BBQ Lemon + Garlic Drumsticks
A soup, a sauce, a one pot of something. Stuff like this:
Roasted BBQ Beef Brisket
Don’t forget light + refreshing
Eggplant Quinoa Meatballs
The Best Gazpacho
Italian Chopped Salad – always a winner!
Make a couple veggie dishes and vinaigrettes. I like to wash all of my veggies and have them assembled and ready. Two vinaigrettes is a must, some sort of condiment like sweet chili sauce (recipe in your near future) or chimichurri. Hummus or this white bean dip is as easy as throwing everything in your cuisinart
Nurture some bread dough while you’re prepping. I let my mother sit overnight on Friday. I then do the nurturing process on Saturday when I am prepping other stuff. Bake it early Sunday morning.
Did you know that this particular bread recipe, is 17 bucks at our local Erewhon? I make two loaves a week for about 5 bucks!! I usually give one away – so if you are my friend, hit me up.
Tip #2 – Timeline
Different dishes take more time to prepare and create than others. Balance those dishes out with the amount of time you allotted for your plan, prep and “cheffing up.”
For example, I generally think about it during the week, but as mentioned, I have a method to my madness. The system is as follows:
Thursday – sit down and do these 3 things:
- Pick the meals and dishes that can be whipped up based on my “to-do’s”(it’s all about time blocking and not over booking and then disappointing).
- Make a grocery list.
- Map out your grocery store stops. Along with a Sunday trip to the local farmers market.
Tip #3 – Tasks
Last but not least, figure out when you can do what. Divide and conquer. In a nutshell this is a rough sketch of how it looks:
- Friday – unload and organize provisions. If the energy permits, I do a little chopping and dicing or whatever else can be done that doesn’t require big thought or muscle power.
- Saturday – prepping and cooking whatever components I can in advance. Stuff like marinating your proteins, cooking sauces or other one pot dishes and making grains. Pretty much anything that is almost better the second day. If dessert is on the horizon, then I make the batter or pie dough or anything else that doesn’t need to be done right before eating it.
- Sunday – the final touches. Grill, assemble, toss grain salads, roast veggies and bake the sweets
And just know when you start operating this way, cooking for a family who needs and appreciates it, is just as easy to include in your weekly cook and assembly.
Recently I have been providing meals to one of my most special, treasured and cherished families. It’s all I can do right now to comfort them and it gives just as much pleasure to pack it and deliver it as it does for them to devour it.
If you want to learn more about how I get it all done, and some of the systems that I use, leave a comment below or DM me on Instagram and I will get your more info.
I’ve got charts for my charts!!
I print a few at a time and just leave them on a clipboard above my coffee maker. This way – everyone in the house is somewhat involved. If they want something; “put it on the list!”. If they want to know what was for dinner; “check the sheet on the clipboard.” It’s truly that simple.
It just makes everyone accountable!!
Reach out – happy to share!
You can now listen to my podcast, The Power of the Pivot Podcast. Highlighting women of the “what’s next” generation who are just like you. You’ll listen to stories about women who have skyrocketed, sunk, tipped a bit and then finally started to rise up.
It’s inspiring. You can download and subscribe here.
Life is a little bit better, one bite at a time🧑🍳