Getting organized in the kitchen

When our lives are so hectic, there are times we just don’t feel like cooking. How can we prepare a hearty meal when we get home late at night? Who is going to give you “kudos” if the meal is really tasty when the whole family is stressing with their own problems? Can you really prepare something healthy and simple without too much hassle?

Just recently, one of our clients talked to us about the changes she made for herself and her family since purchasing our weekly fresh produce. “It’s not so difficult to cook and eat healthy, once you get organized.” Choose the steps that are most beneficial to you and get started!

Step 1 Grab a notepad and prepare your weekly menu. By jotting down your meals, you can manage the rest of your days wisely and efficiently. We tend to eat unhealthy meals when we are in a rush and we don’t have time to plan ahead.

Step 2 In our home, we prepare our meals according to what’s in season. So, in winter, when we harvest such a variety of greens, we make sure to include them at every meal – whether its salad, steamed kale with garlic or a stir fry with tatsoi! If you know what you’ll be getting in your weekly produce bags, then you can transform your kitchen into a creative laboratory! By eating fresh, getting organized and consuming what’s in season, you’ll feel re-energized every day. After all, who wants to come home in the evening to hear your family ask, “What’s for dinner?” and you have no clue.

Step 3 Choose ingredients that you can use several times – in a variety of ways! Protein sources, such as lean cuts of meat, chicken without the skin, fish, tofu or beans can be combined with a variety of vegetables. How about making lentil soup with grilled vegetables for one meal, lentil loaf (instead of meat loaf) with steamed greens in another and lentil salad with stir fry mushrooms and bok choy as a third option?

Step 4 Weekends can be the days you might use to clean the house, wash clothes and hopefully rest! Although cooking might not be your first choice, preparing and freezing some meals in advance, can save you time during the week. For example, in our household, we tend to prepare fresh tomato sauce with our own tomatoes and herbs, minced onion and garlic, oregano and pepper and make a large batch ahead of time. Then freeze it in smaller portions. If Tuesday comes along and we’re not sure what to do, we can easily unfreeze our sauce, prepare some polenta or whole grain spaghetti. Enjoy the freshness of our tasty pre-made sauce without any stress.

Step 5 Talk to your neighbors, friends and relatives for different recipes or substitute your traditional recipes for seasonal ingredients. Watching cooking programs can also provide you with simple tips for nutritious meals. Take notes and add or modify a recipe once a week. Browse through the bookstores for new menu planning. Get together with a local chef for different ideas. Cooking healthy is in fashion and it can be simple, seasonal and fun!