This article, entitled Kitchen hostage comes from Mary Cornforth Cawood at fruitamoms.com
Ever feel like you have become a permanent fixture in your kitchen? Last weekend, my daughter attended a three-day swim meet. Between preparing snacks and meals to take, as well as food for our team’s hospitality room, the kitchen was where I spent most of my time outside of the pool. Needless to say, by Monday evening, I was not super thrilled about the upcoming week’s packed lunches, snacks and dinners.
If you feel like you are being held captive by your kitchen as well, here are some survival tips to get you through the week!
- Get as much as you can done on Sunday. Wash produce, cut up fruits and veggies and put them in individual-size baggies or reusable containers for lunches and snacks. Wash lettuce and other veggies so weeknight salads come together fast. Bake some chicken breasts to use in salads or to add to dinner recipes.
- Prep once, eat twice. If you are already making a salad, make extra for your lunch. Cut up some extra vegetables for portable snacks on the go. Making soup or chili for dinner? Make a bigger batch and freeze some for later. You will thank yourself when you pull it out for an easy dinner in upcoming weeks.
- Recruit! Kids are more likely to eat what they help prepare. Let them select and help cut up or bag fruits and veggies for their lunches. Have them wipe out their boxes and put in clean utensils, napkins and items from the pantry.
- Do as much as you can the night before. You already have dinner to clean up, so why not do as much lunch prep as you can to make the morning easier? Box up extra salad or leftovers for your lunch and start on the kids’ while the food is already out. Getting sandwiches assembled and in the fridge and Thermos containers on the counter (without food) will save precious morning minutes as well.
- Don’t forget about breakfast! A little evening prep can help you out there, too. For a super quick breakfast, put old-fashioned oats and water (follow directions on box) in a bowl with your favorite dried fruit and place in microwave overnight. Cook for 2 minutes in the morning and you have a warm filling breakfast! If you aren’t an oatmeal eater, at least set out your plates, bowls and utensils for the morning. I even get the coffee maker ready because, well, I’m a better person after that first cup!
- Never underestimate the power of your freezer and leftovers. Remember that extra prep from above? It is now coming to your rescue. My theory is leftovers aren’t really leftovers when they were made a week or two ago and frozen. They are homemade frozen dinners that are invaluable on those nights when the thought of getting dinner ready brings tears to your eyes (admit it – after a car ride home with bickering, hungry children in the backseat, you have been there!). If at all possible, try to remember to get them out of the freezer and into your fridge a day or two prior so they are faster to heat up. If you forget, that is why microwaves were invented!
Don’t be a hostage in your own kitchen! With extra hands and a little advance preparation, you may just survive the week!
Mary Cornforth Cawood is a Fruita mom who is married with two daughters. Read her Tuesdays on Fruita Moms.