How to Get Organized for Dinner: Batch Cooking

Of all the months of the year, September and October are when I buckle down and get serious about batch cooking.

Inspired by the bushels of tomatoes and peppers at the market, the sacks of corn and the crates of squash, I can’t help but transform the seasonal ingredients into vats of soup and deep-dish casseroles.  The produce is at its prime, and yet at its lowest price. It makes sense to go big.

Batch cooking is essentially making multiples of a dish that can be frozen and reheated. It can also mean duplicating recipes of anything from bread to condiments, but for this specific post I’m going to focus on dinners.

I can’t tell you how many times batch cooking has saved the day; it’s an absolute necessity for busy families. [Read more…]

How to Get Organized for Dinner: Part 2 – Meal Prep

We’re on a mission to simplify family dinner and today’s post is all about setting yourself up for success by meal prepping.

If you thought a meal plan was the same thing as meal prep, don’t worry, most people confuse the two life hacks, and truthfully, you need one to do the other. Your meal plan outlines meals and helps organize your grocery haul for the week, but your meal prep is the pre-processing of those groceries into ready-to-go elements for dishes throughout the week.

If you are able to put in an hour or two of meal prep after you bring the groceries in, your life will change. You’ll be two steps closer to getting a wholesome meal on the table on a busy weeknight, because you will a) already have decided what to make, and b) have prepared a portion of the meal in advance.

Read on for a clearer explanation about this gift to your future self, as well as a list of some of my favourite meal prep foods and recipes.

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How to Get Organized for Dinner: Part 1 – Meal Plan

As much as I have been full out crushing on summer, it’s been a huge relief to transition into a fall schedule with the start of school.

I’ve been sharing a peek at my meal prep efforts over on Instagram and many of you have asked about how I get organized for family dinner. September feels like a good time to revisit some of my favourite (and most popular) blogging topics such as meal planing, meal prep and batch cooking.

No one wants to be looking in the refrigerator at 5 o’clock at night, wondering what to make for dinner – again. Even food professionals like myself have to have a strategy for putting a meal on the table every night.

Chances are if you’re considering integrating a weekly meal plan into your life, it’s because you’re looking to simplify cooking. We’re all busier than we’ve ever been, yet we don’t want to compromise on wholesome food. This series is here to help, my friends; it’s time to get organized for dinner.

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A vibrant end of summer feast

This morning all three of my children left for school and I found myself with a quiet house for the first time since June.

Always the planner, I made myself a second cup of coffee, grabbed a note pad and began scribbling down my menu for the long weekend. Labour Day is just around the corner and we’re getting together with friends for a vibrant end-of-summer feast.

I’m guessing you probably have similar plans: shop the local markets for the most beautiful produce, invite a few people over, and fire up the barbecue. Maybe you’ll toast the start of a new school year or raise your glasses to the end of the heat wave – both are welcome changes.

In case you’re looking for menu inspiration, today’s post provides a few ideas – my absolute favourite recipes of the summer.

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Grilled Peach and Chicken Kebabs

Every August when the Ontario peaches arrive in our markets, we tend to go a little stone-fruit crazy.

There’s always a large bowl of peaches ripening on our dining room table next to a stack of cloth napkins for a sticky afternoon snack. We slice peaches into our morning oatmeal and ice them for afternoon lemonade. I pair them with fresh tomatoes and soft cheese for a twist on a Caprese salad and stew them with brown sugar and spices into a sticky barbecue sauce.

And this summer, we’re skewering peaches with chicken and grilling them to perfection. It’s a fast and fun dinner that pairs perfectly with my Watermelon Greek Salad. There’s still time for plenty of patio meals before fall arrives, so read on for the recipe and start planing your next cookout.

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