Meal prepping is a great way to save time and money by preparing food in bulk. By cooking large quantities of food in advance, you can take advantage of the lower cost-per-serving prices of wholesale items and avoid the financial trap of takeout. There are tons of exciting recipes envisioned specifically with meal prepping in mind. By designating a few hours each week to meal prep, you can ensure that you and your family have quality meals that can easily be reheated and served. As kitchen and pantry experts, we’ve compiled some of our best tips for meal prepping and included them below.
Start with a clean space:
A clean space is paramount before any cooking endeavor, but it’s especially important for meal prepping. Prior to cooking, we recommend clearing off your counters and wiping them down with a disinfecting wipe. Emptying your dishwasher beforehand is also a smart idea, so it can be loaded right as you finish using a dish or cooking utensil.
Set out all the necessary ingredients:
Before cooking, we recommend setting out all the ingredients you plan to use like a mise en place. Not only does this step reduce numerous trips back and forth to the pantry or fridge, but it will allow you to determine that you have all the ingredients before you start cooking. Taking an extra minute to set out and organize your ingredients in the beginning is much easier than having to run to the store midway through because you’re missing something.
Start on the most time consuming tasks first:
A common complaint of cooking is that it can take a lot of time. One way to reduce the time that cooking takes is to start on the most challenging or time consuming aspects of a recipe first. Many times, these elements may involve multiple steps such as bringing an ingredient to room temperature before cooking. By prioritizing the time-heavy tasks in the beginning, many of which primarily require upfront preparation, you can help reduce the time you spend in the kitchen.
Multitasking functions alongside prioritizing the most time-consuming tasks. In the context of meal prep, multitasking can refer to the process of overlapping different aspects of a recipe so that the total time spent is less than if you were to prepare each one separately. Consider, for example, the time it can take to roast potatoes or cook rice, two common meal prep ingredients. They can cook as you prepare other ingredients, and with a bit of practice, can even be timed to be ready alongside other meal components such as steamed vegetables or roasted chicken.
Clean as you go:
Cleaning as you go is a great way to reduce the dreaded stack of dishes in the sink after you finish cooking. As you finish with a bowl or utensil, rinse it under the sink and place it directly into the dishwasher. This step takes an extra minute, but cleaning throughout the cooking process will mean less mess to contend with after you’re already tired from making a meal.
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