Efficient Meal Prep

By doing things ahead, you’ll shave a few extra minutes off your cooking time in the evening. There’s a reason those TV chefs have everything all set up and measured out before they actually cook. You can do that same thing.

1. Read the recipe in the morning! Check for those do-ahead things like marinating the meat for X number of hours, or the rice has to be pre-cooked. Check now, so you aren't surprised tonight. Now you have time to pop by the store if you need to. Get out those non-perishable ingredients like the frozen meat, the veggies, and any eggs that need to come to room temperature. I store all these in the oven and out of sight until I'm ready to cook.

2. Get out your ingredients and make sure you have everything you need in the quantities you’ll need. There's nothing worse than getting halfway through a recipe only to find out you're out of a critical ingredient. Line them up on the counter in the order you'll need them.

3. Can any of the ingredients go in the same prep container? For example, you can possibly measure the dry ingredients into the same bowl. Often spices are thrown in at the same time, so bundle up where you can.

4. Measure, chop, and prepare everything. If you followed my advice given on January 9, 2009, you already have the veggies ready, saving you a few steps. Now you're ready to actually cook! Everything is in front of you and ready to use.

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