Being a working mother is full of challenges, especially in trying to co-ordinate and juggle all the household chores that still need to be accomplished with less time. Here's how I do some pre-preparation in order to stay on top of cooking dinners.
I have been a stay-at-home mum to my two beautiful children for over a year now and have recently decided to return to casual work (2 days a week plus work on this new business!). I did return to part-time work a year after the birth of my first child, but this is the first time I’ve returned since the birth of my second, who is now 14 months.
I have only done a few days back at work, but have already realised the necessity to be more organised when it comes to meal preparation! I usually like to make dinner in the morning, so then it’s out the way and come 'witching hour' (4.30-5.30) I don't have to think about preparing a meal! But obviously this is not possible when I’m at work for the day, so I needed a new organisational plan! I always plan my meals for a month at a time, so the issue wasn’t in deciding what to cook, but more in the actual food preparation.
This week I decided to follow the lead of Katrina at The Organised Housewife and prepare all my fruit and veg for the week so that meal preparation would be quick and easy! I decided to go with these glasslock containers from Target. They seal at the sides to lock in the freshness, are oven and dishwasher safe, and are made from non-toxic BPA free tempered glass. I also like the clear lid, so you can see at a quick glance what is inside (this is my only gripe with Pyrex containers which have coloured lids!).
Target had a wide range of sizes, so I just grabbed a few rectangular and square ones (circular ones will take up more room). A good idea is to measure your fridge to see how many you will need, or just buy a few to start with to see if you like the process before launching in and buying too many!
After I completed the food shopping, I laid out all the fruit and veg on the bench, alongside the containers (I think I’ll be buying some more!), and started chopping. I referred to my meal plan as I went so I knew how to prepare the veg for the different meals e.g. chopped carrot as well as carrot sticks for snacking, grated zucchini, sliced leek etc. I submerged the carrots in water so they didn’t dry out. I left a few carrots whole (as I often add them to recipes to boost the vegies in a meal) and left the salad leaves in the bag.
Because I love to label (!!) I then labelled all the containers using washi tape, and made sure to record the date and how many of each item was in the container e.g. 3 leeks 2/8.
I have used this system for the week and am so far loving it! That half hour of preparation has helped enormously for quickly putting together meals for the week. I haven’t noticed a difference in the level of freshness, as the container really seals it in. Hoping to keep this new process up!