We all like to simplify many things as much as we can. This includes our meals. Many of us are understandably “guilty” (kinda) too many times in this important aspect of our lives, me included. In the middle of our busy days, which seem to get busier recently, we succumb to the need of our tummies and eat quick snacks and fast foods. Even though some fast food chains are now starting to promote healthy meals, I still think that it is far from being healthy. But, in defense to my devil twin, some of those fast foods are really delicious. I am talking about the triple cheese Chicago style pizza with generous German sausage and generous prosciutto slices…on every freaking layer. I am talking about the triple deck burgers with gooey, melting triple cheeses. Adding super jumbo icy cold Coke or a couple bottles of icy cold Sam Adams beer and a generous slice of New York style cheesecake or molten chocolate brownie topped with vanilla ice cream to that for the dessert. Who could resist such temptations? Arrgh, I would have melted and quickly stream toward the nearest store…especially when it is 6.00PM on an early evening rush hours. It is unthinkable to try to go home and cook a healthy meal for dinner. How can we spend an hour or so preparing such meal when the worms in our tummies are screaming as loud as the train’s honk? Oh my Lord, please pardon my great sins! I was caught in that dilemmatic cliche and many times I gave up and visited the fast food restaurants just because it is soooooo convenient. It was on the way home and I was stressed and worn out anyway. Perfect excuses!
I fell into that trap and I paid for the consequences. After a while, I felt unhealthy and overweight. At some point in time, I weighed 90 kg (198 lbs) with cute chubby cheeks. At the worst point, though, I actually got tired of eating those fast foods. Fortunately. I was saturated and tired of eating the same/similar foods. As a consequence, I attempted going back into the kitchen and tried to work out a simplifying tricks so I can prepare my meals in reasonable time. The main goal was to eat healthy again and I am happy to achieve it again.
The main key in the simplification is to prepare as much as we can so that we only do the absolute minimum tasks whenever we need to actually prepare the meals. Some of the things I do to simplify are
- I peel and clean the garlic cloves as soon as I come back from grocery shopping and place them in a tight container lined with a layer of tissue paper to keep it as dry as possible inside the fridge.
- I chop some of the peeled garlic cloves into fine pieces and store it in a separate air tight container so that it doesn’t lose the flavor too much by the time I am ready to use it. If you prefer to use garlic crusher, then it is not necessary to do this. I personally like the texture of finely chopped garlic. Hence, I do this.
- I peel the outer layer of a couple yellow onions and store them inside a ziplock bag which I wash, dry and reuse for the same purpose. This also helps reduce plastic waste. God save the environment! Long live our earth!
- I prepare some fresh made condiments such as marinara and garlic chili sauces. I can use them as is or as base ingredients for some dishes.
- As soon as I come home from shopping, I divide chicken parts, fish, beef, pork and/or lamb into separate portions and store it in ziplock bags or plastic wrap for fish, each one is just enough portion for a meal.
- For beef and pork, I cut it into proper pieces for fajita and stir-fried dishes. Before I freeze it in individual ziplock bag, I marinate some of it over night so that it is truly ready for cooking when I defrost it from the freezer.
- I also prepare some pico de gallo salsa and keep it in the fridge. Fresh salsa will stand for a week or so in the fridge. This fresh salsa is great even with cheese omelette for breakfast.
Every morning, I move the frozen food from the freezer to the the fridge so that by the time I arrive home in the late afternoon, it is already “safely” defrosted and ready to be cooked. With all those things I prepare as soon as I come home from grocery shopping, I can cut the meal preparation time by an average of 50%. That is a lot of time saved when you arrive home hungry and tired and need to have a good meal. I hope some of these tricks are useful to you and make it easier for you to cook and enjoy healthy meals at home.