Alright, so my fridge often looks like organized chaos, but it’s my organized chaos. My kitchen is this topsy turvy place that I love to spend time in where I mesh my ideas of health, frugality, tastes and compromise with my beloved-if-somewhat-picky fiancé.
On my meandering path to balancing those ever-opposing forces, I’ve picked up some fun (and even occasionally useful) routines that have made the tasks of menu planning, meal prepping and cooking a little bit easier. I hadn’t even noticed why this habit was particularly useful until recently when I was thinking about writing about it here!
Now, this might not sound terribly groundbreaking to many of you, but as a Pinterest old-timer, the way I went about crafting my menu for the week was to stick in a few search terms like “healthy” and “chicken” and “recipe” and work from there to schedule my dinners out. Last year, though, I bought a nutrition plan that I wanted to give a whirl for at least a few weeks of healthy eating.
The initial shopping investment was huge, though. I had to stock up on all these salt-free spice blends, types of fish I had never prepared myself, quinoa and sprouted whole grain bread, the works. After the first week, though, I realized that things went to much more smoothly at the store. I wasn’t re-buying most of these ingredients, hurrah!
Now, how many times have you complained that you’d love to make that cool Char Siu dish except you hate buying ingredients you only use once? (If you’re anything like me that number is too high to be not irritating to the people around me.)
It’s not earth shattering, but I instead just choose to go full tilt in a cuisine type for a week or two so that my ingredients really overlap. I consider it a more immersive experience that way, with the added bonus of being able to practice a new cooking technique instead of just failing my first time out of the gate and scrapping the whole thing.
This doesn’t just apply to cuisines outside your normal cooking habits either. If I start my menu planning from a single blog or cookbook and choose all my meals for a week or two from it, I usually end up buying fewer items overall from the store, plus prep work of chopping veggies, marinating meats and pre-cooking grains tends to overlap as well by default.
This week is a pretty busy one with going away parties for friends, but I’m making all my dinners from Gimme Some Oven to keep it simple when I’m at home. On the roster is fish tacos, barbacoa tacos and a DIY pizza bar for a party. The recipes are easy, tasty, healthy and make me excited to eat tacos all week!
I’ll be reporting back on Sunday with a recap of my adventures. I hope this helps you get just a bit more comfortable in the kitchen. 🙂