Five Minutes for Meal Planning

Is there such a thing a a five-minute meal? Probably, but I have no idea how to cook one. I am learning, though, that investing five minutes in planning keeps me from puttering aimlessly in the kitchen.

Pepperplate.com: Pepperplate has a cool site and app that allows you to store recipes and build meal plans. You can import recipes from popular sites like Real Simple and Cooking Light, or you can manually add your own.  It does take some time to assemble your stash, but once you have it, you can create a plan and generate a shopping list in no time.

Reading the Plan: When I first got the app, I spent two hours inputting recipes and creating meal plans. That was all well and good, but they were of no use because I didn’t look at them until I was ready to cook. Taco night quickly fell apart because I forgot to defrost the main ingredient. Spending a minute or two the night before allows me to make sure I have all the everything and that the ground turkey is defrosting overnight in the fridge.

Breakfast for Dinner: Every Wednesday, our family has breakfast for dinner. Pancakes, waffles, biscuits, eggs — any breakfast item is eligible. The cooking time for most items, especially if you use premade mixes and batters, isn’t all that long. I prefer to make breakfast from scratch, so I take a few minutes Tuesday night to measure out dry ingredients.

Crock Pot Meals: One thing I love about winter is the chance to pull out my crock pot and make a bunch of tasty soups and stews. Five minutes of opening, chopping and dumping turns into dinner 8 – 10 hours later. There are probably some summer meals that are crock-pot friendly, I just have yet to meet them. And, if you aren’t familiar with crock pot liners, get involved. It makes clean-up super easy.

If you have a tip for getting dinner to the table in a snap, please let me know!

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