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My grandmother used to say, “Let the oven do it!”
Now I know what she meant.
Over the years I have come to fully appreciate this wise advice. Letting the oven do the work of preparing dinner gives me the freedom to work on other things without compromising a home-cooked meal.
During the busiest times of my career, I would often prepare a casserole dish before I left for work in the morning. That way, the moment I walked through the door (before my purse even left my shoulder), I could just pop the dish in the oven. While I was changing clothes, putting things away and preparing for the next day, dinner was well on its way to being done. And by the time I was all settled in for the evening, it was ready.
I’ve used similar preparation methods with a crock pot, placing the ingredient-filled crock in the fridge the night before, and as I walk out the door for work in the morning, I’d take it out and tun it on.
The beauty of casseroles is that you can pack a whole lot of nourishing ingredients into a single recipe. That’s efficiency at its best.
I do realize, however, that there are people who simply don’t like casseroles. And there is an alternative. While it would require washing a few additional pans and adjusting cooking times, individual dishes could be cooked separately using this same method.
Simply put, preparing in advance has its advantages. It’s been a game-changer for me. My mornings aren’t nearly as chaotic and neither are my evenings when I’m well-prepared.
How do you make meal prep more efficient?