Monday, May 16, 2016

Dinner Done by 9 am: The How

This is the second post in my Dinner Done by 9 am series. To see the first post on the reasons why I cook dinner by 9 am click here.

I've already covered why I try to cook dinner by 9 am each day. In this post I'll cover more details on how I do this.

Not all dinners lend themselves well to being cooked in advance. Casseroles, soups, stews and salads tend to be dishes that can easily be prepared in advance without compromising quality. Things like seafood, seared/ grilled meats that are served warm and pasta are not usually reheated with as good of quality the second go around, but there is still a lot that can be done in advance when preparing dinners including these components.

The list below is a good breakdown of what cooking activities I do in the morning and what I save for the hour prior to meal time.

Things I do in advance;
-assemble salads, but don't dress them
-make salad dressing
-make all sauces (dipping sauce, sauce bases for pasta dishes...)
-marinate, wrap, stuff or chop meat
-wash and chop herbs and vegetables
-pre-cook vegetables (when applicable)
-fully assemble any casseroles (mac and cheese, lasagna, green bean casserole, breakfast casserole...)up to the point of baking, refrigerate and then bake immediately prior to serving
-fully cook all soups, chilis, stews and curries, refrigerate and then heat back up prior to serving
-make any dough or baked goods that are necessary
-throw everything in the slow cooker when using it
-fully prepare any cold salads/ pasta salad (like chicken salad, pasta salad, curried chicken pasta salad, sesame noodles..,)

Things I do directly before eating;
-reheat any soups, stews, curries etc.
-add fresh herbs into soups or stews
-dress salad
-cook any seared/ grilled/ roasted meats
-bake any casseroles
-roast veggies for side dishes
-cook and add pasta to soups or sauced pasta dishes
-cook rice when using

Stay tuned next Monday for the next post in this series with links to many of my favorite make-ahead dinners and tips on what I serve them with, what I do in advance, and what I save for the last minute. Don't forget to follow me on social media or subscribe to my blog to make sure you don't miss the next post.

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