After sharing some tips on why it’s better to have a meal plan and schedule trips to the supermarket, I’m now sharing some tips when it comes to food preparation and food storage. Honestly, meal preps is as personal as meal planning. Again, it would really depend on you and your household so this may really vary.
1. Segregate items in your cart.
Yes, it starts with you properly filling out your grocery cart. I learned this the hard way. Just putting items inside our grocery cart and passing through aisle after aisle until we’ve rounded up the things we need for a week’s worth of food. As soon as we’re in the checkout lane, my OCness kicks in. Realizing how the cartons or boxes are squished with heavier items or how the fresh fruits or vegetables look wilted only after a few minutes from carefully choosing/picking them. I know this is common sense but seriously, when you’re with your kids and you’re busy ticking off items on your grocery list, it’s the last thing on your mind to carefully stack items in your cart. It’s better to be aware and to be conscious about it.
I’ve been more OC with filling our cart now more than ever! So much so that I segregate produce by color. Heehee.
2. Batch cook.
Back when it was just my husband & I, I gladly cook on a daily basis. Since I wasn’t busy with anything else except managing our household then. Now that I have two kids who are pre-schoolers and I work in between, I figured I need to be efficient in everything I do. So I batch cook. For me, alloting a day for a trip to the supermarket equates to alloting a day for cooking. If Saturday or Sunday is our supermarket day, then Monday is my cooking day. I simply write down on my magnetic menu board what I can cook by batch. This means, cooking dishes that have almost the same ingredients so it’s easier for me to prepare them.
You know how sometimes, a vegetable is too big that you can’t really use all of it in one dish? This is when meal planning comes in handy. It let’s you think of meals that have the same ingredients so its easy for you to prepare them and if possible, cook them at the same time.
Julienne and cube. One bowl of carrots for Pancit Canton, the other for Pork Afritada.
Chayote (sayote) love. One my kids’ favorite vegetables. One plate is used for Tinolang Manok and the other for Ginisang Gulay.
3. When in doubt, marinate.
For quick food fix that won’t resort to ordering food, I go for marinate. It is one of the easiest things to do when it comes to preparing food. There’s more than a handful of easy marinade recipes ranging from steak to BBQ. There are also ready to mix marinades that are available in the supermarket. While you’re busy preparing for your other dishes, one is just waiting for you to grill or bake. The best part? The longer it takes for you to cook it, the more flavourful it gets. You can get some helpful marinating tips HERE.
1. Sort and store your fruits and vegetables properly.
I have a habit of removing fruits and vegetables from its packaging and wiping it with dry cloth or kitchen tissue (which is usually a cling wrap or plastic) as soon as we get home from the supermarket. I would store it in room temperature first as I figure out which of them I need to cook. Remember to wash fruits and vegetables ONLY if you’ll use or eat it immediately. If not, store them properly either in your pantry, kitchen counter or in the refrigerator. Properly storing fruits and vegetables can be tricky and it can take a while to get it right especially if you’ll factor in weather conditions and period of time. There are different ways on how you should store your fruits and vegetables properly. You can Google this away but my favorite guide is My Thirty Spot‘s which has a ready-to-print version.
Same thing goes with bread. Since freshly baked bread and pastries have shorter shelf life, best to refrigerate or freeze them. It can last a week in the refrigerator and a month in the freezer. For pastries, it’s best to store it in a zip lock or wrap it in cling wrap. To make the bread extra crispy, don’t thaw it. Pop it in the toaster oven immediately after getting it from the ref to give it an extra crunch.
2. Too much cooked food? Go ahead and freeze them.
Did you know that if you freeze food properly, you can store it for a month or two? Since I love batch cooking and we’re a family of four with two small children, I have more leftover than we can finish. So what I do is I take half of the dish I cook, store it in a tight lid container, put a label on it and freeze it. This comes in handy for times when I cannot cook for my family. This is also a great way to rotate your menu without having to cook the dishes again after a week or two. If you’re OC, add the date on when you cooked the dish. You can get some food freezing tips HERE.
If there’s one thing I want to have in my home it would be to have a bigger refrigerator, particularly freezer compartment. You can say that I do like freezing food and that it has help me save energy, time and money when it comes to preparing meals for my family. Here’s my favorite freeze storage guide from Home Storage Solutions 101.
Don’t you love it when you can #DoMoreWithLess? 🙂 Got any food prep and stood storage tips? Please share them as I would love to know!