I love to cook. I do not love to clean up after myself. Never have and probably never will. Even with my menu plan, which really is necessary, I end up putting off cooking and then I have to rush and I don’t enjoy the process if I feel rushed.
Through the years, I’ve tried different methods of cooking ahead. When Chad was home and we were eating more food, cooking once a week worked so well. I’d buy groceries on Saturday and then on Monday morning, I’d hit the deck running and get most everything cooked for the week. That’s just more food than we need nowadays but over the weekend, it came to me that I could do a lot of the prep work ahead of time and that would mean things were easy to finish and most of the mess would be done with everything prepped and I could clean up one big mess and then later, when I cook, it would be a super quick cleanup.
Monday I did the prep work for Tuesday and Wednesday. For Tuesday, I made the Russian dressing, chopped the corned beef, grated the cheese, chopped the onions that went on top of the mushrooms, drained the sauerkraut and had everything ready to stuff the mushrooms.
It took less than 5 minutes to get everything out of the fridge, mixed up, onto the mushrooms and into the oven. There was one bowl messed up and the parchment paper that the messed up for the mushrooms was thrown away and the baking sheet wasn’t even dirty. The artichokes were cooked in the steamer and all I had to do was rinse it out. That was dinner!
For Wednesday’s meal, again on Monday after mixing up the reuben ingredients, I put together the Asian meatball mixture.
The mixture and the dipping sauce went into jars.
This afternoon, all I have to do is shape the meatballs, put them on the parchment lined baking sheet, and bake them. I’ll heat the dipping sauce, steam the broccoli in the electric steamer. Cleanup will be . . almost nothing. Hopefully the parchment paper will collect most of the grease from the meatballs. The baking sheet can go in the dishwasher, the jars go in the dishwasher, the plates we use can go in the dishwasher, the steamer gets rinsed and I’ll be out of the kitchen (and knitting) in no time!
Thursday’s meal will be corned beef and cabbage which will be cooked in the pressure cooker, the stainless liner will go into the dishwasher!
Friday’s meal will be a bit more time consuming but it will result in a casserole for the freezer so I’m not complaining.
I’m hoping doing the prep work ahead makes cleaning up easier and motivates me more to get the cooking done on time and not wait til the last minute to get dinner going.