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Hi Herbies! It is Courtney again. I am asked about saving time and ways to be more efficient, and one of the easiest ways I have found is by cooking 1 day a week. Let me start by saying that my life before moving to Colorado was busy. Very busy. I had a full-time and part-time job, plus working out 3 times a week. During the work week, I was lucky if I got home before 7:30 pm. By the time I finished cooking, eating, and cleaning up from dinner it was time for bed.
I felt like I was being pulled in every direction with no time to myself or relax. I would go days without turning the tv or computer on, because I just didn't have the time or energy.
That's when Lindsay suggested I try spending a few hours on my weekend cooking all my meals for the week. She said I would not feel so run down at night and be less tempted to grab a quick bite or pop in a frozen dinner.
While I admit, I wasn't thrilled with spending a Sunday afternoon cooking in the kitchen. I was already so busy during the week, why should I give up more time on the weekend? I doubted it would really save me time, because I knew I would still need to heat it up.
One of my biggest problems was not planning ahead. When I left Monday morning, I often had no idea what I was having for dinner that night. Obviously in order to cook all my meals in one day, I would need to start planning ahead.
One week Lindsay sent me a meal plan, and I no longer had an excuse. I popped on some music, started my laundry, and got to cooking! I was used to only having 1 burner - maybe 2 - on at a time, but now I had all 4 going and the oven heating. Doing all the prep work together, made things go even easier - whichever recipe needed diced onions there they were, already chopped! Cooking soup and baking pasta at the same time was new to me.
And before I knew it, I was done. Meals like Acorn Squash and Apple Soup, Baked Shells & Cheese (pg. 156, HHC), and Hawaiian Chickpea Teriyaki (pg. 127, HHC) were already prepped & cooked for the week. It definitely was less time than the way I had been going them before - one each night after work. Instead of spending an hour every night cooking, I spent 3 hours in one afternoon and accomplished the same thing.
The real test was later that week when I got home at night. I couldn't believe it. I had almost 2 hours extra each night - to myself! Not having to chop and prep everything, and having less dishes to clean was such a relief - and a timesaver. Yes, I still had to reheat meals, but the prepping and cleaning during the week was minimal.
I couldn't believe that a few hours on a Sunday afternoon would translate to so much extras for me. I had free time - alone time for me! Even my stress level went down from just knowing that my dinners were ready and waiting. Cooking went from a necessary chore to something I look forward to. Even now when I cook, I do several meals at once. It has become second nature.