How to Cook All Your Meals for the Week in 2-3 Hours

What I love most about our meal plans is that you can make everything for the week in a few hours while watching TV, doing your laundry, etc. Then you're done! You can reheat all week long for ease. This past Sunday I did all of our meals for the week in 2.5 hours while catching up on my TV shows *and* doing our laundry. (I feel pretty good about that!)

http://photos.happyherbivore.com/2013/02/leftovers.jpg

Cooking ahead is all about multitasking -- cooking everything at the same time.

This is what I do (though other methods are also effective).

1. Preheat the oven (assuming something needs to be baked that week). For example in the summer months, there are no baking recipes on the meal plans.

2. Bake potatoes (if you have a steamer, microwave, or pressure cooker to cook your potatoes, then you don't need to do this, but I like to roast my potatoes). Or if muffins are on the plan, you still need to preheat the oven.

3. Once potatoes are in the oven, I put my rice in my rice cooker (if you don't have a rice cooker, on the stove), assuming the week's plan calls for rice. I will also put quinoa in the cooker (or on the stove), too, if quinoa is on the menu that week instead.

4. While the potatoes are baking / grains are cooking, collect all other necessary ingredients to make the recipes and spreading them out on the counter, table, etc. -- but trying to group them together by recipe.

5. Prep ingredients (i.e. dice onions, mince garlic).

6. Collect all pots and measuring cups needed.

7. Start cooking meals that take the longest.

For example, if something needs to be baked (i.e. muffins or bean burgers), I prepare that and put it in the oven (after the potatoes are done, unless it's the same temp) and let it bake, while I do other stuff.

8. Start cooking stove top recipes that simmer -- such as soups. Get them all going on the stove.

6. Mix and go recipes are next. While the soups, etc. are simmering or cooking, Get working on other recipes -- recipes that just involve mixing things together -- like salads or bowls. For wraps, I put all the ingredients in Tupperware, rather than assembling the wrap itself.

7. When everything is cooked or baked, I let it cool to room temp for a few hours, then put it in Tupperware as needed.

The only thing I don't "cook ahead" are smoothies and oatmeal, since those are instant to make in the morning. Some of the breakfast sandwiches I also don't do ahead since you just whip them together in 2 minutes.

For more information, see my other blog post: Minimalist Monday: Cooking 1 Day a Week

Start cooking ahead -- having a premade meal is a game changer! Get the latest meal plan now.

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