Prep Ahead for Easy Weeknight Cooking

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preparing food

Photo by: Liv Friis-Larsen

Liv Friis-Larsen

A little advance prep on the weekend will make mealtime a breeze during the week. Tips to get you ready:

• Pre-cook pasta and rice on the weekend and store them in airtight containers in the refrigerator (no oil necessary). When ready to prepare the meal, reheat the pasta in your favorite sauce (and add vegetables and cooked meat, chicken or fish) and stir-fry rice with soy sauce, mixed vegetables, nuts, tofu, meat, chicken or shrimp.

• Marinate chicken, steak and pork loin chops in low-fat salad dressing for up to 48 hours (use a zip-top bag for easy clean up). Grill or roast when ready to prepare the meal.

• Pre-chop onions, carrots, celery, and bell peppers so they're ready for meals later in the week. Store the vegetables in zip-top bags or airtight containers in the refrigerator until ready to use.

• Assemble casseroles up to 3 days in advance and refrigerate until ready to bake.

• When making baked casseroles, double the recipe and make two complete meals. Store the extra casserole in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw the casserole overnight in the refrigerator and bake as instructed.

• Repurpose baked protein. For example, bake extra chicken over the weekend and use the extra in soups, stews, chilies and sauces. Grill extra steak and stuff the extra meat into fajitas, tacos and burritos. Bake extra salmon and make salmon salad 2 days later. Store all cooked protein in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

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