I’ve discussed previously the term Power Cooking and how cooking meals “ten at a time” saves both time and money, now I’m going to share some tips on both shopping and cooking those meals. If you shop the same day you plan to cook, it will save putting many groceries away. You can choose any day of the week that works best for you. My day is Saturday in the morning, kids and hubby are still asleep and this gives me some time to work in the kitchen. Pull any frozen foods that you need to thaw for cooking and place in the refrigerator. This can be done the evening before. Pull any items from your cupboards and group the ingredients for each recipe on your counter. By going to your “bulk” store first you can get items in bigger quantities. This will definitely save you money.
Next, go to your regular store for remaining ingredients. If you can get away without the children, that’s great. It will give you more time to concentrate on what you need to get at the store. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the store with the children and got distracted and forgot something or overlooked my list because I wanted to hurry up and get out of there. This is why I suggest going without the children.) Last, shop the inner aisles first, and then produce, then bakery and frozen foods last.
If you’ve done all of the above, you are now ready for Cooking. Have an empty garbage can that is easily accessible and a bag or container for the recyclables. If you have a jar handy, it’s perfect for leftover chopped vegetables for soup starter.
Before starting to cook, clean and sanitize your counter tops and sink . Empty dishwasher and fill the sink with hot, soapy water Wash dishes as you go. Let one group soak while you prepare your next meal. When it’s the last time you are going to use the utensil, have the dishwasher empty and fill as you finish. Chop and prepare all fresh foods at once and put in prep bowls on the counter. “Scoop” the required amounts when assembling your meals. (Most meals make 4-6 servings. If you have a larger family, you can adjust your measurements to fit your family size.) It’s always nice to have two sets of measuring cups and spoons, one for wet and one for dry ingredients. I have the perfect kitchen tool for measuring both dry and liquid ingredients and it’s one handy tool ever kitchen should have. It’s convenient and saves space in your kitchen. High Quality Kitchen tools in your kitchen can save you time and money in the kitchen.
Write down start and finish times of foods that you are cooking at the same time. As you finish a meal, cool on racks away from your cooking area (on your kitchen table, etc.) If you start your longer cooking recipes first, by the time you finish the last “quick” one, the first one will be complete. After your recipe has cooled off, store in a zipper freezer bag flat in your freezer or use other appropriate container.) As you finish a recipe and you still have items (canned, pantry or frozen) that need to be added on the day you serve the meal, put an X on the label or mark how you see fit and explain to your family that they are not to eat this ahead of time. (I learned the hard way on this tip. Forgot to label and couldn’t find the day I wanted to make that particular meal.)
Cheese or bread crumbs that need to be added in the final stage of cooking should be measured and put into a small zipper bag and taped to the side of the freezer container or bag with the meal. Pull tomorrow night’s dinner out of the freezer the evening before. After cleaning up, treat yourself for a good day’s work!