Food Prepping in One Day

Cooking – meal planning, grocery buying, food prep and the actual cooking is such a big part of my every day. We love having good meals and we don’t like eating out, but getting good meals on the table can consume so much o fmy time. I’m going back to trying to do most of the “work” on one day. It can’t be called “Once a Week Cooking” because I cook throughout the week but I’m trying to do most of the prepping in one day . . preferably on Sunday afternoon. I’ve tried lots of ways/methods/plans for my cooking and this one seems to work best.

If anyone is interested in trying this method or following along, beginning on Saturday, March 26, I will post the menu, pictures and steps I did for the previous week. I usually plan for four meals (Monday – Thursday). On Friday, we have leftovers or, in the event something came up on Monday – Thursday that caused us not to have our meal at home, and I’ve already prepped for that meal, we’ll move it to Friday. On weekends, we either grill, make a pizza or make something quick to fix – like frozen sushi from Aldi.

My plan includes doing as much as I can on Sunday and then, of course, I have a menu plan, and each day, I check to see if there’s anything I need to do ahead of time.

Here’s an example . . today for lunch, we had Roast Chicken with Smothered Cabbage and Potatoes.

Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chicken

About all I could do ahead of time was be sure the chicken was thawed and we had all the ingredients. Since the chicken was being served on Thursday, I didn’t want to do much to it on Sunday but I did take it out of the freezer and stick it in the fridge. I also chopped the herbs that to into the butter rub and made the butter rub ahead of time. On Wednesday, I took the chicken out of the fridge, removed the giblets, brined the chicken, dried it, then wrapped it in paper towels and stuck it in a zipper bag and returned it to the fridge. 

This morning, very early I took the butter rub out of the fridge to soften. The potatoes were peeled, cut and seasoned. The cabbage was chopped and seasoned. The butter rub was added to the chicken. The whole assembly took about 10 minutes and the chicken was in the oven by 9:00 to be ready to serve at 11:00.

Roasted Chicken, Potatoes & Cabbage and Steamed Asparagus

Roasted Chicken, Potatoes & Cabbage and Steamed Asparagus

We will not eat all this for lunch so tomorrow’s lunch will be chicken & cornbread dressing. Earlier this week, I made the cornbread. We had biscuits left over from breakfast on Monday. On Sunday I chopped all the celery and onions for the dressing.  After lunch today I removed the leftover chicken from the bones so tomorrow all I have to do is saute the celery and onions, stir the broth, veggies and seasonings into the bread mixture, add the chicken and bake!

Bread Mix, Chopped Onions & Celery

Bread Mix, Chopped Onions & Celery

This way of cooking takes a bit of planning ahead. It takes a bit of discipline to stick with the plan but it’s the easiest and least time consuming way I’ve tried cooking. I find it so much easier to get the meals done when most of the prep work is already done.


  1. 1

    Phyllis says

    Looking forward to your meal/cooking information. Seems that it is hard to find time to do everything and we prefer to have healthy home cooked meals. I like to prepare enough of one thing for multiple meals which we will eat on mutiple days, or freeze a meal for later when there is not time for cooking.

    I am so enjoying my electric pressure cooker, thanks to learning about it from you.

  2. 3

    Katie says

    I started doing this on Sundays a few years ago and can’t imagine any other way. Even if I worked from home I would still do all my prep in one day. I’m looking forward to your posts to see if there are ways I can tweak my method.

  3. 4

    Glenda says

    I’m interested, too. The thought of those marathons where they prepare a month’s meals all in one day is just too intimidating, but your way of doing it for the coming week sounds much better!

  4. 5

    PattiLynn says

    I usually plan 2 entrees and 2-4 sides ahead. I review the recipes and add any needed ingredients to my next shopping list. I usually do all my prep work, chopping etc. the night before. I like to cook in the morning after breakfast. We too have our biggest meal at lunch. Each dish in enough to feed both of us at least two days. So, those 2 entrees and 4 sides will be enough for 4 days. The other 3 days of the week are more spur of the moment decisions. Sandwiches, chili dogs, pizza, bacon and eggs, milk and cereal, fruit plate, tuna salad, boiled eggs, yogurt, pickled beets, garden salad makings, oatmeal, ice cream…something quick and easy. I look forward to seeing how your system works!

  5. 7

    katie says

    There is a cooking book just out that is about this. Not sure on the exact title but it has the word Stash in it. So it caught my eye. Something like Stash Cooking she sets thing up ahead and does a lot of fresh garden or seasonal cooking. It is by the actor from “That 70’s Show”. She was doing the talk shows last week promoting it. She said her Mom was a chef and she learned from her. A lot of Natural ingredients.