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5 Tips to Making Cooking at Home More Practical

Stacey Arsenault

Are you ever overwhelmed by the idea of cooking your meals?  Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated! Here are some tips to make cooking simple and easy so you can add more homemade meals to your life NOW!

1. Skip side dishes

Keep it simple and look for dinner recipes that have veggies, protein, and starches all in one meal. This saves you time and energy of having to follow multiple recipes, plus saves you time with clean-up.  Make your life easier and stick to one dish dinners.

Pro tip: Check out this delicious and easy shepherd’s pie recipe!

2. Plan your meals 

Life is easier with a plan and your meals are one thing that you can control.  Planning all your meals for the week will help set you up for success. Consider your schedule when deciding which meal would fit best with the time you have or the type of food you may want to eat. (Predict what day that elephant may come out and plan accordingly.)

Pro tip: Check out the Noom planner to keep your meals organized for the week.

3. Prepare SOS meals

Even the best plans need a backup plan!  What exactly is an SOS meal plan? SOS meals are meals that can be prepared quickly when you need them in a pinch. Having some meals ready when you run out of groceries or whatever the emergency may be will decrease your chances of ordering takeout for dinner. Where do these SOS meals come from? Here’s one way: any time you cook a dish that makes a large batch, freeze a portion. That way, your freezer will be ready to go with some emergency meals.

Pro tip: Stock your freezer with homemade burritos.  Here is one simple recipe, but feel free to experiment with your own favorite ingredients.  Cook 1 cup of quinoa (or brown rice). Sauté onion, diced red pepper, and sliced mushrooms with a teaspoon of taco seasoning. Once cooked, add a can of black beans and about 4 cups of spinach.  Once the spinach wilts, let everything cool. The trick to not having soggy burritos is to have all ingredients cool before assembling them. Add all your ingredients on a whole wheat large tortilla, top with cheese (or not), and add your favorite salsa.  Wrap up your burrito in tin foil and store all burritos in ziplock bags to prevent freezer burn. To reheat, cook in the microwave for 5 minutes and then put under the broiler at low for 2 mins on each side for a crispy tortilla.

4. Keep a List

Keep a grocery list on your fridge and add to it when you’re getting low on staples like oils, spices, etc.  This way, you can minimize your trips to the grocery store and you won’t be caught halfway through a recipe and discover you’re out of brown rice.  Train your family members to add ingredients to the list when they finish the last of an item. If you have non-trainable family members (as we all do), just check-in with them when you’re finalizing the list.

Pro tip: Organize your grocery list into produce and non-produce items making shopping easier.

5. Prep ahead

You’ve already got the knives, cutting board, and measuring cups out, so why not just keep going! It makes sense to carve out time in the kitchen and commit to cooking several meals at once, or even the whole week!  Try recruiting a family member to give you a hand and make it a fun event. Think music on, delicious smells, and time spent chatting. If you don’t have another “chef” in the house, even having someone to help wash the dishes can be a big help.  Another benefit to one big food prep means you only have to do a big kitchen clean once versus every day! Plus, imagine coming home for work after a long day and having the only thing you need to do to prepare dinner is to reheat it in the microwave!

Pro tip: Check out this Noom blog post to learn more about how to food prep.

Author: Stacey Arsenault