In another post I talked about how much I love Fresh20. And I do. Its pretty quick and very healthy. Initially, it took me about 20-25 min to get dinner done. But even that was a long time with two little guys “helping.” So, I developed some hacks to cut down prep time and get dinner one the table in about 10-15 min of active time.
Fresh20 already does two things to minimize time on busy weeknights: One: you cook batches of stuff at the beginning of the week and use them in later dinners that week. Its efficient and makes meal prep even easier later in the week. For example, cooking 8 chicken thighs on Monday, and putting 4 in the fridge for Thursday.
Two: Fresh20 recommends doing prep work on Sunday–cutting veggies, cooking noodles, etc. But, I gotta be honest, this just wasn’t happening for me. And that was increasing cook times during the week. And with all the fresh veggies (yay!) there is a lot of chopping (boo!).
Now, I know its called FRESH20 (emphasis on the fresh), but I take help from the store and get stuff that’s already cut up/cleaned. I’m not buying processed foods, but a few little tricks have cut my prep time to a minimum.
Garlic, ginger, other herbs:
I use the pastes. They taste great and I don’t have to chop them up.
I hate chopping onions. At first, I bought the pre-chopped ones in the produce section. But they are expensive and went bad pretty quickly. Then, I found FROZEN chopped onions and they are amazing. Cheap and easy to use, they have worked in all the recipes so far. Best of all, no tears!
Pre-cut mushrooms (but few other veggies):
Carrots, zucchini, etc. I cut up myself, but pre-cut mushrooms are great.
I get frozen, cleaned and deveined shrimp. I ain’t got time for cleaning shrimp. Plus, gross. I also get meat as ready to cook as possible. I don’t get a lot of frozen meat so I don’t have to worry about defrosting it. Also, I get the meat that is on sale and substitute it for cuts mentioned in the Fresh20 plans (that may be expensive)–for example pork chops instead of lamp chops. It has worked well.
Sometimes, I also make the meat in the crock pot even if it doesn’t call for it to minimize active time.
Also, I substitute things that are cheaper or that I already have all the time–spices, nuts, etc. Its weeknight dinners–doesn’t have to be perfect! The great thing is that Fresh20 tries to use similar things across weeks, since those items are already in your pantry.
Also, there is usually enough for Clay’s lunch the next day, which is super.
These are some of the short cuts I use-would love to hear other ideas. 🙂
The Fresh20 link is an affiliate link. Opinions all mine!