You bring in bags and bags of groceries and plop them on the counter, and then it happens, chaos. I look at the mess and think, “How am I going to make anything in the big mess”. Between trying to get the frozen foods to the freezer and everything else unpacked, it can get crazy really fast. Here are a few tips to help you navigate to successful meal prepping. These tips will help you get set up for preparing for multiple meals for the week, cooking for a month or just getting dinner on the table.
Staying efficient and keeping things clean goes a long way in the kitchen.
1. Before you leave for the grocery store unload your dishwasher, take out your cutting board and knives, and any containers you will need. I use a lot of freezer bags and containers when making multiple meals or cutting veggies, so I set those out too.
2. Clear out any extra stuff you may have on your counter tops. You will need all that space for prepping and chopping. Wipe them clean if you have time. You will feel better about laying out fresh produce when you arrive.
3. Upon arriving unload your ice cream and meats and stick them in the fridge/freezer. Unpack those veggies you want to chop and lay them all out by the cutting board.
4. Move your trash can closer to your prepping station. When I started doing this it took lots of time off of my prepping sessions. Seems like, I was always walking to the corner to throw something away until I discovered this step. No more tracking spills and drips on the way to the trash can. You can simply throw those scraps in the can beside you. So bring out that trash can and set it close by.
5. Fill up the sink with hot soapy water, leaving the garbage disposal side empty and ready for use. I can’t tell you how much this has helped me, when I actually do it, keep things clean. This way you can clean as you go. Soon as you dirty a dish or pan you can clean it and either use it again or put it away.
6. Set out the right utensils for the job. I always set out my kitchen scissors, ladle, tongs, measuring cups & spoons and a grater. A clean dish rag and clean kitchen towel wouldn’t hurt either.
These have saved the day when I start to work on preparing a meal or if I need to clean and separate my meats to freeze. My routine use to be to that every time I came home with my groceries, I would cook a big batch of ground beef and boil a whole chicken. Cut up all of my veggies and tear up lettuce (this was before bagged salads) for salads throughout the week. That takes time and effort, but boy does it save time during the week or thereafter when you need to prepare a good meal for your family. What are some of your time-saving tips?