Cooking Is Not Linear

round about intersection on a highway

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25

One thing I’ve learned in my short tenure of motherhood is to take advantage of little pockets of time to accomplish bits and pieces of tasks – like cooking. It is rare to start and finish a task or project in one sitting these days.

One of the main things I’ve learned as a mom in the kitchen is cooking does not have to be linear – it doesn’t have to follow a specific order to result in a nourishing meal. If you have a main dish and two sides on the menu for dinner, you do not have to start and finish one before moving onto the next. By the same token, meal prep does not all have to occur at meal time.

Picture of meal prep to show how helpful it is to cook ahead in batches rather than cooking everyday.

Time to Meal Prep for Cooking

I meal prep all throughout the day. Don’t be intimidated by that thought but encouraged! For example, breakfast is an important time of fellowship with my son. My husband leaves for work early, and I want to spend one-on-one time with our toddler while he is eating. This is multi-purpose: quality time and managing table manners (i.e. trying to keep the floor relatively clean). We pray together, eat, listen to a story from one of our favorite podcasts, or read a Highlights magazine. If we’re listening to a Bible story, I’ll bring over my cutting board and acorn squash or carrots and do some meal prep at the same time. This also lends itself to some cooking lessons, and he will help me pull out the squash seeds or move the cut carrots into the Ziploc bag for later. He watches…everything! 

Another good time for meal prep is lunch – especially lunchtime cleanup before nap. I will unstrap him from his booster seat and let him go play while I clean up and do a little prep. Then, naptime! 

Time for Dinner

If you’re not a parent or are in a different stage of life, the thought of non-linear cooking plays itself out like this: You can boil the water for the pasta while you brown the ground beef for the Bolognese. You can bake the bread in the oven while you slice the chicken to sauté for the fajitas. Figure out a routine that works well for you – something that is not stressful but allows you to capitalize on the time you have in the kitchen. 

Time to Multitask

Maybe you’re like me and enjoy listening to podcasts. This is the PERFECT time to multitask.

  • Listen to a podcast or your favorite album. 
  • While things are cooking and you have a break, decide what you’re serving for breakfast and set part of it out on the counter. 
  • Sit down and tweak your grocery list for the next trip to the store. 

Time for Meal Prep Hacks

Maybe you have too many brown bananas…or eggs…or sweet potatoes. If you have too many of an ingredient, it can be tempting to throw away the extra. Instead of wasting the food, check out these “hack” pages with multiple ideas for each of these three kitchen staples. Spend a prep time cooking a few egg dishes or banana dishes. Freeze what you don’t need now, and you’ll be thankful for the stash in your freezer!

Variations on a Theme: Egg

Variations on a Theme: Banana

Variations on a Theme: Sweet Potato

I encourage you to switch up your routine so you enjoy the cooking process. You are nourishing yourself and your family. This is an incredible responsibility from the Lord, and one you can find joy in. 

Recommended Posts