After spending the summer avoiding the kitchen, the turn to cold winter days makes sitting by a warm stove all day quite inviting. Why not spend a Saturday or Sunday cooking, so that your meals are ready or nearly ready for you during the coming week? That way, when you’re at the end of a hectic week day and just want to laze about on the couch, you don’t have to deal with the overwhelming question “what’s for dinner?”
You’ll already know what’s for dinner and, in many cases, it will just be ready and waiting for you.
There is no right or wrong way to approach weekend cooking. Many people like to completely prepare their meals and simply heat them up for quick eating. Others like to simple get the meal ingredients prepped, so they can have the freshest meal possible. Of course, you might want to do a combination of both. It’s completely up to you.
Getting Started with Weekend Cooking
• Choose a cooking day that will allow you to fully dedicate yourself to the kitchen. You’ll need plenty of time to get the job done.
• A few days before, plan the meals you are going to cook and prepare your grocery list.
• If you’re on a budget, plan your meals after you check local grocery store flyers and websites for special deals.
• A day or two before cooking day, do your grocery shopping. This will make sure you’re fully prepared for your cooking day and can start right away.
• Invest in good storage containers, so you can store items in the refrigerator and freezer.
Your Cooking Day Approach
As we mentioned, there is no correct way to approach cooking day. What you do will depend on your family’s preferences, the capacity of your kitchen and how much time you have. Use the following approaches and incorporate them into your weekend cooking plan.
• Pre-cook meals in their entirety. If you want to eliminate the need to cook during the week, you can fully prepare your meals and simply reheat them as needed. One dish meals like baked macaroni and cheese, lasagna and shepherd’s pie are perfect for this.
• Prep the ingredients for your meals. You can save yourself plenty of time by cutting vegetables, meats and other ingredients before you actually do the cooking. You can also pre-cook rice, pasta and potatoes, so they are on hand at each meal time.
• Encourage healthy snacking by pre-cutting raw vegetables, cheeses, lean meats and having them readily available for your family. When healthy food choices are in ready-to-eat format, it makes it easier to choose them instead of grabbing a less healthy factory-packaged snack.
• Think of how one meal can transform into more meals. For example, Sunday’s roast chicken becomes Monday’s chicken pot pie and Tuesday’s chicken noodle soup. If you really want to stretch your cooking efforts, consider roasting a second chicken at the same time, so you have plenty of protein to fix extra meals.
However you approach it, weekend cooking can be a great timesaver and makes your week day meal preparation a snap. Just make sure you plan ahead and dedicate a day to preparing your family’s delicious meals.