I just got back from vacation and had the pleasure of attending a session where Shawn Brisby, the demo chef for Canyon Ranch in Tucson, gave us a great piece of advice …
“Have you ever gotten raspberries home and within a day they are mush with white stuff on them?”
He had my attention.
“The problem is that home chefs don’t keep their refrigerator cold enough. They should be set at 40 degrees.”
So I’ve been experimenting and … it works! (not that I doubted you, Shawn :-).
Step 1. Decide what you are going to eat for the week.
This planning is essential. It takes me 20-30 (very enjoyable) minutes to find recipes in a magazine (Clean Eating and Cooking Light are my favorites), one of my cookbooks or on line. Here’s what we’re cooking this week:
Pasta with sardines and fennel
Kale salad with apple and cheddar
Moroccan butternut squash chickpea stew
Pumpkin soup with almonds and sage
Fall salad with apples, walnuts and stilton
And, for breakfast for the week…
Sweet potato casserole with crunchy oat topping
Step 2. Make a shopping list and go shopping.
Step 3:. Prep all the food for the week
This is what makes it work in terms of efficiency. For the rest of the week, when you get home, everything will be washed, cut up and ready to throw in the pan. I timed myself and it took 1 hr 22 minutes to turn the pile of veggies you see above into this:
An hour and a half is nothing compared to the time it takes when you get home late and really don’t want to do it. Turn on some music, chop while you are watching some football.. it is a great return on investment to insure you eat well!
Other helpful hints
- Get some fun containers. These are the ones I bought, but any food quality containers will work.
- Wash the other produce, cut everything up for all the recipes, spin dry them and put them in your 40 degree refrigerator. (If you don’t own one, get a lettuce spinner.)
- Wash the fruit and dry it before you put it in the refrigerator.
One other tip…. Make stock! I throw all the vegetable bits (peels, seeds, etc) into a pot with water and make vegetable stock while I’m working. In addition to using this stock for any soup we decide to make, we use it instead of water for rice or pasta to increase the flavor.