Sunday, April 7, 2013

How to create a Time Plan....

There are a few basic rules to creating a Time Plan for food preparation and today I'll share some of them. I hope you find these tips helpful. They certainly make a huge difference to the way we eat, shop and of course to our bank account!
First, you need to know what you're preparing, so menu planning is a good habit.
Secondly you need to know how long it takes to prepare each item.
Thirdly, you need to decide the order in which you'll prepare, so that you can manage your time effectively. 
So for example, pasta or rice may take ten minutes to cook, but that's once you've brought your water to the boil, which may take another ten.

Can you bake two things in the oven at once? Can you make twice the amount of a basic batter (cake/muffin/pancake), and do half with fruit and half with choc chips or an icing?

Quite often, the preparation of dishes is fairly swift, it's the steaming, or baking or roasting that takes all the time.

So you will be amazed at what you can prep in short blocks of time, once you get the hang of it.

Takeaway food nasties will be a thing of the past.
Here's an example:
7 day menu:
Poached chicken breast and salad
Slow cooker beef curry
Marinated salmon fillets
Sweet potato and bacon salad
Fried rice
Twice baked potatoes
Enchilada crepes
Sandwich spreads: Egg spread, Chilli orange hommus, lemon pepper salmon
Snacks: Berry muffins, choc chip banana muffins, peanut butter cookies
So now I decide the cooking methods and in which order I will manage them:
Soak: Chickpeas for hommus, red kidney beans for enchiladas
Marinate: Beef cubes, Salmon fillets
Steam, poach or boil: Eggs, Chicken Breast, rice for fried rice
Mix: Muffin batter and crepe batter, tinned salmon and seasoning
Roast or bake: Sweet Potato and bacon, Potatoes, muffins, cookies
Dice or chop: Salad ingredients, bacon
1. In theory, anything that can be done quickly and with a minimum of fuss, and the food stored in the refrigerator or freezer, should come first. This clears the bench and gives a feeling of accomplishment. So I tackle soaking and marinating first as these simply entail adding water or liquids to a bag or bowl, before refrigerating or freezing. No further action required.
2. Steaming and poaching comes next as it's just adding ingredients to water or broth and leaving to cook before cooling and storing.
3. Mixing to prepare for baking or storing if making multiple batches actually takes very little time if you have arranged ingredients on hand ahead of time.
4. Baking muffins or cookies and roasting vegetables or meat together to make best use of the oven, is smart for energy conservation.
5. Dicing and chopping can be done while roasting and baking is completed, and cleanup can be finished by the time those muffins, sweet potato and whole potatoes come out of your oven.
See, not that complicated at all, and the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Go on. You can do it. You'll feel like a real Home Based Warrior at the end, I promise.
...until next time...


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