I’m not a big fan of the once-a-month cooking movement. I don’t know about anyone else, but spending a day or two in the kitchen every month while laundry piles up and the house turns to chaos is not my idea of time well spent. If you have to spend a couple days to recover other things that have been neglected over the weekend or double-up on chores beforehand in order to make time to focus on one thing, then it’s not worth the effort.
I prefer to focus on plain and simple cooking on the weekends to make week night meals easier. Nothing fancy and nothing that takes a whole lot of time. I prepare food that can cook on its own with minimal prep or a simple recipe that is no more than 15 minutes from start to finish so I can focus on keeping up with laundry or even relax a little.
The following ideas are examples of plain and simple cooking. Don’t do the whole list but pick and choose however many you want to do and that will fit into your family’s plans.
Scramble a dozen or so eggs. They keep for up to three days in the fridge and can be microwaved quickly (about 30 seconds or so for one serving) in the morning to eat with toast. Don’t forget they can be a decent lunch or dinner in a pinch as well.
Peel several oranges, grapefruit or clementines and keep in a plastic container for easy access at breakfast or when packing lunches. They also encourage healthy snacking.
Cut up veggies such as cucumbers, peppers, broccoli, carrots, celery etc. These are also easy to use for sides and snacking. Don’t forget to make some dip to go along. If they aren’t getting eaten up by mid-week, add them to your dinner in some way (salads, sauces, soups, casseroles) or freeze them for a future meal.
Make a big pot of rice (say enough for 3 or 4 meals). Divide the cooked rice into containers and use as a side or a base for a stir fry. You can also freeze rice if you don’t want to use it during the week.
Roast or slow cook a large portion of meat. It can be a turkey, a couple chickens, a beef or pork roast. Don’t do a recipe. Keep it simple. A little salt and pepper. A little oil if needed and let it go. When it’s done, divide it into containers for meals and lunches. The idea is to not make the meat itself an entree but to have it available for soups, stir-fry’s, casseroles, sauce etc.
Cook up a big pot of oatmeal or cream of wheat for easy morning reheating or try a quick granola recipe for cold cereal or yogurt add-ins.
Prepare a large container of salad and make a homemade dressing or two.
Hard boil a dozen eggs. Use them for an on-the-go breakfast, chopped into a salad or to throw together an egg salad for sandwiches.
Simmer some fresh or frozen broccoli, asparagus or other veggies in a few cups of broth. Stir in a roux and blend in a blender or with a stick blender, add some milk, salt and pepper and you have a cream of veggie soup for lunches or dinner.
Throw 5-10 whole sweet potatoes or regular potatoes in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour or so. This makes a quick reheat side for dinner as is or scoop out the potatoes to mash.
Open some cans of tuna and mix up some tuna salad or use some of that roasted chicken for chicken salad.
Cook a pound of sausage links.(chicken, turkey, pork or beef) This is great on buns or mixed with rice and sauteed veggies for a quick weeknight meal.
Brown a few pounds of ground beef. Some for the freezer and a pound for the week.
Oven bake a pound or two of bacon.
Precook a box of pasta.
This simple, weekend cooking is about getting the base of entree’s and sides cooked and ready to go for the week. If you menu plan, you can use your menu as a guide as far as what you choose to prepare. If you like to wing it, then you can use what’s in your fridge and cupboards that needs used up and can be made simply. Then during the week, let what you were able to prep on the weekend be your inspiration for a meal. And hey, don’t forget if you have older children, teach them these simple cooking methods. They are good skills for them to have and they can help contribute to the weekly meals too.
Please add your own thoughts in the comments below. We can all benefit from more ideas.
PS- I started another blog on topics other than homemaking if you like to read and discuss commentary on life, home, culture and family. Go here to check it out.