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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cooking ahead

I thought I would revisit this post on managing meals and give you a few more reasons to try cooking ahead.

Ok, here was this week's menu:

Monday: Chicken and rice stuffed peppers, salad, bread sticks

Tuesday: Turkey Burgers, turnip and dill salad, green beans

Wednesday: Tuna Melt Quesadillas, chips and guacamole, fruit

Thursday: Apricot-Balasmic Chicken, orzo pasta, green beans

What I did:
Sunday: I cooked ahead 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Monday 9:30-11am: baked off 2lbs of turkey bacon while I was cooking the bacon I:
made a HUGE salad dicing all the veggies and put in a large tupperware to eat off all week
made chicken and rice stuffed peppers (used leftover rice)
made turnip and dill salad
made filling for tuna melt quesadillas
made apricot-balsamic sauce
made orzo pasta side dish
prepped frittata for brunch Wednesday
made filling for kale, bacon, tomato wrap for Monday lunch
pulled out breakfast and lunch items for the week making them more readily accessible

When the bacon was done baking I put the stuffed peppers in the oven to bake off and began cleaning the kitchen/loading the dishwasher

Monday 5:00pm: reheated stuffed peppers, pulled out plain chicken and pasta for boys (leftovers), baked off breadsticks, pulled out salad

Tuesday am: pulled burgers out of the freezer
Tuesday pm: broiled for dinner, steamed green beans, pulled turnip and dill salad out of fridge

Wednesday am: made frittata for brunch
Wednesday pm: made up quesadillas, pulled out salad, chips and guacamole

Thursday am: pulled out chicken to thaw
Thursday pm: baked off chicken, warmed up apricot sauce, green beans, breadsticks and orzo pasta

As you can see, 1 1/2 hours or work on Monday allowed me 5 min of prep each morning (or less) and 15-20 min of actually dinner prep each evening.

I could have gone further:
broiled off turkey burgers for Tues 
baked off chicken for Thursday
steamed up green beans

This would have added about 35 minutes of time to my Monday, but since I hadn't thawed out the burgers and chicken Sunday night I chose to do these things through the week.

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