Cooking Meal Preparation (1 to Done: Easy Cooking Guide)
Cooking meal preparation is by far my favorite part, but it did not start that way by any means. It took me learning how to manage my time effectively and follow a plan to accomplish the goal, which at the time was making sure every table got their plate!
Since then I have taken some of the things I’ve learned in industrial kitchens home and it has made life much easier. Like preparing food prior to cooking or keeping my work area as clean as I can.
Cooking Meal Preparation Shouldn’t Be Complicated.
The most important part of accomplishing such a large task is to not overcomplicate the process. The side dishes were my biggest obstacle. I wanted to make extrvagent sides for every dish and that is time consuming and requires extra money.
Simplify the process! Do not overcomplicate the cutting process, do each step on your to do list in order. Your cutting skills will improve over time, so do not worry about them all being even in the beginning. You will get better!
Your side dishes should be the easiest part of the meal, something you throw in the oven or rice that goes in the Instant Pot. Most of the time we cut up potatoes and roast them in the oven or put our dishes over rice to make them more filling.
Sometimes our dishes are absent of a side because they are so hearty. We fill our meals with vegetables and pick stews, curries or dishes that do not require a ton of extra prep work.
Planning reduces stress!
In my previous articles, I spoke about planning and making lists. This is where your lists really shine! You have written your recipes and have printed copies or access to it on your smartphone. You have a list of each step you need to take to minimize the effort to complete things.
Less running around is less stress. So having things planned out is the best option. You can place long cooking potatoes int he oven, cut your other vegetables, and get all your other things cooking before the potatoes come out of the oven!
Now, this is the most important part of it all. If for some reason things aren’t going perfect for you in the kitchen. Step back and take a look at what is going wrong. Take a minute to move things around as needed, carefully.
Organization in the kitchen, planning before you start can lead to the best cooking session! The lack of can lead to the worst…trust me..I’ve been there.
Chop First, Cook Later.
This is part of the list part I was just talking about. If you prepare all of your vegetables and meat cuts prior to turning on a flame, there won’t be any rush to get it done in the middle of cooking meal preparation. You should be able to grab the chopped carrots when you need them, and not be running to find a cutting board, a knife and chop them before the rest of the meal burns.
Taking the time to just sit there and cut vegetables is also something that I find very therapeutic. Its relaxing and after you try it once you just now that cooking is going to be so much fun!
Always Taste Your Cooking!
Now this is the best part of cooking! Meal prep can often be stressful, so getting a chance to try the deliciousness you are making is a treat. Also its a rule! Every cook should try everything they make, also it wouldn’t be fair if you didn’t get to try all that good tasting food before the family gobbled it up right?!
Sometimes I will make a meal and by the time I go to get one out of the fridge it has all disappeared. Taken as lunches…its a sad thing. So try everything!
Stick to the Recipe.
This Is another problem that I wanted to touch on is sticking to the recipe. If you are cooking a prepared meal, varying from the recipe can be fun and exciting..but should only be done after taste testing.
Winging it during meal prep is a big NO NO.
You need wait to change or add more of something until later in the process. It wouldn’t be fair to the person who worked on the recipe or your family if the recipe goes wrong. So always COOK…TRY…FIX!
Its the #1 mistake of anyone starting cooking meal preparation, we change it before we know what it was like originally!