Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Make Cooking Easier By Prepping

Besides trying to save money in the kitchen, it is also important to save your time and energy. I have done a couple of things to make that cooking easier.

I organized my kitchen into different areas. I have cooking, baking, food preparation, and clean up areas. When everything is close by for doing baking for example, it makes it easy to get that recipe mixed up and ready for the oven.

I also ask Hubby to cook every once in while to give me a break. After cooking almost 49 years, I now understand why so many seniors go out to dinner all of the time. They are just plain tired of cooking. I get very sick of it too but not enough to go out all of the time. 

When I make a casserole or skillet dish or even soup, I like to make enough for at least two meals. When I make things that freeze well like lasagna, I try to make two pans and freeze one. 

Before I start my cooking, I make sure that the dishwasher has been emptied and that all of my counters are clear of anything that needs to be put away. That way I have a clear space to prepare my meals.

Every night, I decide what we are going to have for dinner the next day. If meats needs to be thawed, it goes in the fridge. 

The following morning, I do any prep work that needs to be done for dinner. If veggies need to be cleaned and cut, that is when I do it. If potatoes need to be peeled and cut up, I do  so and put them in a bowl of cold water in the fridge so that they don't turn black. Anything that can be prepared ahead of time is.

Then I put any pots or pans or small appliances that I am going to use out where I am going to use them. I also set my table. We eat lunch at the breakfast bar so the table can be set for dinner early in the day. 

When it is time to cook dinner, I just line up my prepped food dishes on the counter along with any spices that are needed for that dish. Then I get any canned items like canned tomatoes or soup out of the pantry and put that there too with the cans opened. Lastly I take the meat out and get everything cooking. 

While things are cooking, I steal minutes to start cleaning up so that I or Hubby don't have to do everything after dinner. 

One of the important things that I do while I cook is put on some music. It makes it so much more fun.

On Sunday's I like to boil eggs or pare vegetables that we use for snacks for the week ahead. If needed I grate cheese and make salad dressing too.

For dinner tonight, Hubby wanted tacos. So I put the ground beef in the fridge to thaw last night. This morning, I prepared all of our toppings which you see pictured above. After I took the pic, I put their covers on and stored them in the fridge. At dinnertime, I took the beef out to cook in a skillet on the stove. It smelled funny. I sniffed and it had a strong smell of vinegar. That told me it's bad. So down the garbage disposal it went. I got in the car and went to the market to get some 95% ground beef. 

Finally home again I cooked it in a clean pan and then drained off the little bit of grease. Then I added the taco seasoning and some water and let it cook down. While it was doing that, I put the toppings on the table along with some salsa, taco sauce, and soft and hard taco shells. I grabbed a Sam Adams for each of us and we ate a delicious dinner. 

I am sorry that I am posting so late. We usually eat dinner earlier in our home. However, I didn't expect to have to go out to the store for beef.

To be honest, it has been a c****y day! From the time Hubby picked up the paper and read it to me right up until we sat down for dinner, it has been one thing after another. The cardiology practice where we have gone since we moved here is breaking up in May and we had to find out about it in the newspaper. Letters are going out to patients starting on Friday letting us know where our Dr. is moving to. If he is going into another practice or out on his own. Chances are good that we will have to drive quite a distance to get to him. So we have the dilemma of trying to find another Doctor who is closer who will not only take our plan but take Medicare patients. They don't like Medicare patients because Medicare does not pay well. So lots of Doctors do not take Medicare patients. This is a huge practice and tons of patients are going to be looking for new Doctors because  of driving distances. We are afraid to wait for fear we won't get in with one. I only see one once a year, so I could easily just get my medicines from my primary Dr. However, Hubby needs a cardiologist. It's always unnerving when you lose a Dr. but even more so when you get older. At this point, we are looking but hoping that we get the letter about our Doctor soon so that we will know where he is going.

For you that don't know, I was an accounting major in college. Because of that, I take care of our money. Hubby hates detail when it comes to those things. So I had detailed forms that we had to fill out today that were very tedious. I had to make a number of calls to get some answers to my questions. It took me a couple of hours and I was so glad when that was over with. It wouldn't have taken so long but I had to make an unrelated telephone call during the time I was working on them plus Hubby interrupted me twice for things unrelated. Talk about losing your train of thought. I should have locked myself in a room where I would have been uninterrupted while I was working on it. Add to that the bad beef and it was not a good day. I sure hope that tomorrow is better!


  1. I'm sorry that it hasn't been a good day. Do hope that tomorrow will be better.
    Sorry about the problems with the dr. Hope that he lets you know soon, and I hope that his new practice will be convenient for you both.
    Thanks for your tips. I need to be better organized. I have been craving mexican lately, so I cooked a beef roast in the crockpot with some spices (beef roast was cheaper than ground beef this week). Made some salsa and guacamole...yum.

    1. Hi Kathy,

      Thanks. Your dinner sounds yummy!

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