As the daughter of a chef, I’ve always loved cooking. When I landed my first job, I was living alone and couldn’t rely on home cooking anymore. I worked full-time, and taught fitness classes every night’which meant I couldn’t eat dinner until 8 p.m. Making a meal at that time is the last thing you feel like doing after a busy day. That’s when I started ‘batch cooking.’ It still works for me today as I juggle a busy consulting business and the extracurricular activities of my two children.
Here are my top four tips for surviving suppertimes:
1. Spend some time on the weekend to make up large quantities of your family’s favourite recipes. Freeze the extras in single-serve portions so they will reheat faster. They make great lunches, too. Stay organized by labelling the food with the date it was made and the name of the dish.
2. Always cook extra rice or pasta. Add a handful to a soup or stir-fry for an easy meal.
3. Wash, slice and dice a bunch of veggies all at once. I also freeze some sliced raw chicken (enough for a meal) in small freezer bags. It only takes one night to defrost in the fridge and I just empty it right into the pan.
4. Be sure you have the ingredients on hand to make at least three meals in five minutes.
My three go-to meals are:
‘ Brown rice, a can of wild salmon, corn niblets and a glass of skim milk
‘ Peanut butter-and-jam wrap in a whole-wheat tortilla, and a glass of vanilla-flavoured soy drink
‘ Scrambled eggs with grated cheese on toast, and a glass of orange juice
This article was originally titled "Mom, what’s for dinner?," in the October 2009 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.