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I'm always looking for ways to shrink my time in the kitchen during the week. (I almost feel bad admitting that as a cookbook author. almost!)
Truth is, my household is not too unlike yours. I work all day and then around 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. Scott comes home from work with a hungry monster in his belly. I'm usually pretty hungry myself by then and because I'm always distracted with my task at hand and I have a horrific perception of time anyway... every-single-day when Scott walks in I think "oh crap! is it 5 already?"
and it's usually 6. whoops!
I've been trying to cook all (or a lot of) of meals on the weekend to make dinner a breeze... simply reheat and serve, but some weekends are even crazier than my weeks and I don't get around to all that advanced cooking and prep.
My solution? When I can't cook and prep on the weekend, I take a few minutes to prep some things the night before after dinner. It may be as minor as chopping up a bell pepper or gathering ingredients and putting them together on the counter... I just take a few minutes to one or two little things and it improves my experience -- and how fast I can serve dinner -- immensely the next night.
Oh! and then there is this totally amazing tip, sent in by a Herbie:
For a lot of your recipes I mix all the dry ingredients up and make "mixes" so during the week I only need to add the wet ingredients. Tonight all I had to do was mix almond milk and miso with my "cheese mix" (to make HH's cheddary cheesy sauce p. 264 HHC) and dinner was ready in under 5 minutes! I'm not the best cook, so any short cut that I can come up with helps.
Pure genius I tell ya.