Tips for the Busy Chef!

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I love long leisurely evenings of cooking while sipping on wine… but there is not always time to spend an hour or more cooking! However, not having that kind of time doesn’t mean you can’t still show off your stuff in the kitchen. So below I have included a few tips for those busy FLB-ers.

1. Find easy to make meals.

Cooking healthy meals does not have to be an overwhelming task. There are many meals that I make that take under 20-30 minutes. Find a list of 20 minute meals here.

2. Make large batches.

Every Sunday that we are in town, Scott and I head to the farmer’s market and stalk up on veggies that we can roast. Then Sunday afternoon or evening, we roast a pan or two of whatever is in season and use it all week long. We generally use it as a part of our salads at lunch but it is a perfect option for those nights where I get home late. All I have to do is heat it up in a pan and serve with a side salad or grain of choice.

3. Plan ahead. 

The best way I have found for this recently is the Pintrest iPhone app. I have a board called ‘Recipes to Try’ that I can pull up on my phone at any time. There is also a Food-Life Balance board, which you can follow and have easy access every recipe on this site. This is the perfect thing do when you haven’t taken the time to write out a grocery list or research that night’s meal. As you see things you like, just add them to your board and when you find yourself at the store unsure of what to make, you have several items on hand. Magazines are also great because you can just pull out pages and keep them at your desk or in your bag so you have them at all times as well.

4. Do what you can ahead of time.

In the recipe I posted this week, I mentioned how I roasted the spaghetti squash the night before. You can do this while you are watching a show or even while you are getting ready in the morning. This is especially important when making a meal that is more complicated. When I host a multi-course dinner party, I generally do the grocery shopping two nights before and prep work the night before. This includes making things that can be pre-made (many times this includes sauces, spreads, desserts). And where it makes sense, do chopping, measuring, etc.

5. Learn to use your crockpot.

Crockpots are a great time saving tool so if you “don’t have time to cook healthy meals,” you might want to look into one. Throw your ingredients in before you leave for the day and come home to a hot meal at night. Quick, simple and healthy! My favorite crockpot meal this time of year is my vege chili.

6. Leverage your freezer.

I live in an apartment with a smaller than normal fridge (and a very hungry husband) so I don’t generally need to do this but it is always nice to have a little something in the freezer that you can reheat when you need a quick and healthy option. Soups, casseroles, rice/bean dishes and stir fry’s are all great freezing leftovers. Also, freezing fresh fruit or veggies is a great way to use them out of season. Love corn, no problem! Cook, freeze and enjoy during the winter months!

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