The Secret To Headache-Free Dinnertime Meal Preparation

The Secret To Headache-Free Dinnertime Meal PreparationCooking on time constraints or for a family of picky eaters makes meal planning challenging, and not having the right tools in your kitchen only complicates your dinner dilemma.

The secret to alleviating headaches has less to do with meal-preparation tactics and more to do with figuring out what to stock in your kitchen in terms of tools and ingredients, and using the right cookbook.

Keep Family Meal Planning Simple

Expert chefs make everybody look bad. They arrange delicious, beautifully plated meals, and they do it quickly. That’s because they know their kitchens inside and out, from the foods they have on hand to the tools they use to cook them.

You don’t have to be an expert to keep hungry mouths happy.

Simple, natural ingredients go a long way. Here’s a breakdown of the kitchen essentials you need to cook a variety of meals and still keep meal planning simple:

  • Good olive oil (grape seed oil or coconut oil are healthy substitutes)
  • Broth (beef, chicken and vegetable)
  • Fresh herbs
  • Starches (pasta, rice, potatoes and bread)
  • Beans
  • Tomato products
  • Flour
  • Sweetener (sugar, honey or agave)
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh-cracked pepper
  • Locally grown vegetables
  • All-natural meats

Instead of writing a brand-new grocery list every time you visit the store, use the one above to fill your pantry with the healthy foods you need to cook a variety of meals.

Stock The Right Cooking Implements

The more you know about your kitchen, the better prepared you are to master meal preparation.

Here’s a list of some basic equipment to keep in your kitchen:

  • Stainless steel sauté pan
  • 2 pots (small and large)
  • Cutting board (Note: Wood is best. Glass dulls knives, and plastic holds bacteria from raw meat, so it needs to be disinfected or bleached.)
  • Sharp knives (small and large)
  • Wooden spoons (Note: Wood is non-reactive, as opposed to metal or plastic. Metal on metal actually turns cream-based sauces a gray color.)
  • High-temperature rubber spatula
  • Stainless steel pans   

Wasting time looking for the proper cooking utensils or making up for a lack of equipment derails even the easiest of meals. Stocking your kitchen with the right tools and knowing where they are at any time helps streamline meal preparation.

How To Choose The Right Cookbook

These days, everybody has a cookbook, from fitness gurus to television chefs to celebrities. Often, the recipes in these books fail to deliver the food they promise. This is because most modern cookbooks contain untested recipes.

The mainstays – back editions of cookbooks found in bargain bins – stick around because they fulfill expectations. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced chef, be sure to rely on cookbooks that contain proven recipes.

The Joy of Cooking, self-published in 1931 by Irma Rombauer is one of these books. Irma published the book after testing recipes with the help of her daughter. Today, the book is in its ninth edition and continues to be a staple in many “best of” lists, including ours.

The Secret To Simple Meal Prep: Keep Doing It

Keeping meal planning easy has a lot to do with what you keep in your kitchen. From there, you build a base of knowledge from the right cookbooks, and trial and error.

Like anything else, the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it.

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