My mom and I share a love of cooking healthy, delicious food. We are constantly concocting new recipes and sharing “free samples.” Many of The Dinner Spin recipes are inspired by her culinary genius, so it is no surprise that some of our best bonding moments occur in her kitchen.
As women and mothers, I think it is in our nature to multitask, so we get the gossip out while we make enough food for a small army. Planning these food prep days does take some coordination, but we divide the work and multiply the success by using a little teamwork.
Step one is to pick a date, which can be hard, but it’s the most important step. Once we have the date, we each pick one or two recipes and make a list of what we need. My mom usually does the shopping for all ingredients because taking my two toddlers to the store is a recipe for disaster (pardon the pun). With the ingredients on hand, I join forces with my mother, formulating our best plan of attack. We take a good look at prep times and cook time and determine who will do what. For example, I will combine ingredients for Mini-Cheddar Meat Loaves as she preps the chicken for Zippy Honey-Dijon Chicken
With work underway, the conversation flows freely and in what seems like no time, we have efficiently prepared several meals and caught up on all the stories that bear repeating. It’s beautiful, really!
Choose a friend, relative, neighbor or ask your kids to join in and plan your own big-batch cooking day, following these simple tips to ensure success.
Find easy-to-freeze recipes. Don’t get stuck with a big batch of something your family doesn’t like or a meal that doesn’t freeze or reheat well.
Don’t get caught without all the ingredients you need. A well-planned grocery list and a double check of pantry staples can help avoid additional trips to the store.
Think ahead for meal storage. Where are you going to put all your goods? Try using gallon-sized freezer bags, Glad Ovenware, or aluminum pans for convenient and efficient storage. Also, confirm that there is enough room in your freezer.
Mark your meals. Have a sharpie and/or labels ready to mark the contents of each container and date. Most meals last up to three months in the freezer.
Take inventory. Make a list of all the meals with names and quantity—that way you know at a glance what is available. It saves you from rummaging through the freezer and also helps indicate when you might want to plan another cooking date!
With pre-made meals ready in your freezer, you can bank on a few stress-free weeknights!