The thought of cooking for a month at a time still completely frightens me. For the meantime I have a bunch of the components ready for easy, balanced meal. I just have to remember to pull out the frozen veggies.
Instead of a big, intimidating baking day I decided for a mixing night. Just heat up and mix and divide up things I regularly eat for dinner. Easy. The menu includes spaghetti & meatballs, Chipolte rice/bean bowls, and tuna salad for crackers or sandwiches. Also divided up some canned fruit into smaller containers.
The instructions are deceptively simple:
Gather ingredients. Start boiling, baking or frying. Don’t walk away. Clean up as you go. Get containers ready.
Other than that it’s really easy to pick the foods you want to cook or prepare. Trying finishing this statement: I would have dinner at home if only _______ was ready. For me it’s usually rice. I always seem to forget to cook rice.
Helpful hints from my kitchen to yours.
- Don’t start watching the West Wing when things are boiling (burning) on the stove.
- Empty the sink of dirty dishes before you need to drain the pasta.
- If you pour tuna juice over the dogs’ food they’ll forgive you for forgetting to feed them until 8pm.
- Don’t forget to turn off the oven. And if you do make up for it by “remembering” to throw in a half dozen cookies to bake.
- Don’t peel hard boiled eggs that haven’t cooled.
- Remember to set timers.
- Timers are not like alarm clocks. If you ignore them things may catch on fire.
My kitchen and I survived a mini prep night. There are 4 servings of spaghetti, 6 servings of rice ready to be mixed with black beans, 4 servings of tuna and a few smaller servings of fruit.
The last of my whole chicken will be added to the rice bowls and I’ll probably sautee some peppers and onions for the burritos. But I have plenty of brown rice and about a dozen cans of black beans.
If you’re participating in the Empty Pantry Challenge have you done any big cooking days yet?