I am a firm believer in cooking the majority of my food. But when you do that, you have to have a good plan to get everything done as efficiently as possible.
Here’s what I did this past weekend to get together meals for lunch and dinner. The things I made were two types of chicken breast, turkey kielbasa, a Cajun-spiced turkey dish, two types of rice, and pasta for my son. And then I made dessert! Here’s the chef’s log:
Saturday morning: started the Cajun turkey. This is a slow-cooker dish that became easier because I didn’t have onions or peppers on hand to chop. I placed two turkey thighs, skin on, in the slow cooker, topped them with a large can of crushed tomatoes, and added Cajun spice and onion powder. I let the meat go for 10 hours, checking in and mixing occasionally.
Saturday evening: I took the thighs out off the sauce and discarded the skin, gristle and bones. I shredded the turkey with two forks, then returned it to the slow cooker. That didn’t take more than 10 or 15 minutes.
Sunday morning: I marinated the chicken. There were 16 breast tenders in the package; I put 8 in a bag with hot sauce and canola oil, then the other 8 in a bag with apple cider vinegar, oil and Adobo seasoning. I shook the bags and placed them in the refrigerator. That didn’t take more than 10 minutes.
Sunday afternoon: I started the white rice for my husband in a slow cooker, with a 32-oz box of chicken broth and some butter. I refrigerated the rice when it was finished. Prep time was approximately 5 minutes.
Sunday evening: to grill the chicken and kielbasa, I started my indoor electric grill. While it was heating up, I started jambalaya rice in the microwave: two boxes of rice and seasonings, water, and some oil. I covered the container and let the rice cook for 25 minutes.
With the grill hot, I grilled one batch of chicken, then the other. Then, I grilled the kielbasa. It took maybe 45 minutes to an hour to thoroughly cook the meat. In the middle of doing this, I boiled the pasta water and then cooked and drained the pasta.
In the meantime the jambalaya rice finished cooking, but I heated it for another five minutes. I also mixed up a batch of diet Coke brownies and put them in the oven. They were the last thing to finish cooking.
As far as vegetables, I had heated a steamer bag of spinach earlier in the day, for breakfast. I will need to heat another bag of vegetables later this week.
Without a lot of effort, I was able to cook several meals for the week. The things that saved me time were the slow cooker, rice cooker, grill and microwave. Also helpful were the carton of chicken stock, the can of tomatoes, the large package of chicken, and the pre-seasoned jambalaya rice boxes.
This was the strategy I used to feed my family and save time. What divide and conquer strategies do you use?