Listen, I get it.
Between commutes, overtime, kids, catching up on Sons of Anarchy and playing Snood we all have terribly packed schedules. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, the first two dominos to fall into murky waters are eating and training. When the clock seems to be consuming hours like they are seconds we pull the ripcord and look for something to ease the pressure.
What if I told you that there was a way to beat the time thief? A way to arm yourself with a war chest of goodies that will get you through DAYS AT A TIME without the need for a “pizza-parachute-drop”?
I have danced in the digital world for a number of years now and have picked up a few steps along the way. In the tech world optimization and streamlining are the keys to success and longevity. This approach typically leads to the creation and implementation of “batching“. Why do the same repetitive task multiple times if you can program a system to do several at once?
While I understand that some folks love the process of making a meal from “scratch” each and every night (you are awesome and I respect the heck out of you) it simply ain’t my bag. I know I wilt under pressure, like Ivan Drago in the last round, and that if I let an ounce of “McDLT” slip into the equation, it’s curtains. I need a process, a ritual, a routine.
Welcome to the world of batch cooking.
Twice a week I take 40 minutes to cook up my protein for the next three days. In that 40 minute span I have time to season 4-6 chicken breasts with some spices and olive oil, chop up a few onions, some ginger, flax meal, an egg or two and garlic, and then mix up a few pounds of ground meat(beef, turkey, chicken) into either meatballs or patties. I start out by preheating the oven to 400 degrees and tackle the chicken first. These are already thawed out (I plan my batch cooks of meat on the days I buy groceries so that they are not frozen) and ready to go. I mix up my spices and get them into the oven right away. Less than 5 minutes total time for the chicken.
Next up is the ground goodies. I get my veggies chopped and into the bowl and then simply add the meat. I work the mixture until things are friendly with each other and began scooping out a palmful at a time. Burgers or balls, your call Iron Chef. Get those badboys lined up on a tray as soon as you can and into the oven. The chicken and the beef can party together at the same time, they are cool like that.
Check the chicken lately? We’ve hit the 15-20 minute mark. Chicken should be heading to third base by now, but make sure that you don’t under or over cook it.
Now you have time to prep and cut up your veggies for the next few days.
Grab a clean cutting board and chop up all your produce. Peppers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms you name it. Chuck those suckers into ziplock baggies or containers. Stack them in the fridge and leave them in a place you can easily see them. More good honest veggies die hiding in the dark drawers of death than I’d care to talk about. Nobody likes reaching in for a cucumber and finding an inch of decomp at the bottom of the crisper drawer. Save your gag reflex the trouble and stop the madness. The chop and bag totally gets rid of this problem.
40 minutes can do a lot if you use it right.