Food News

Prep Kitchen

Tips on how to turn your quiet time on Sunday into productive preparation for the week

More and more, Sunday is becoming prime time for food preparation. The thinking goes that you meal plan and then shop—at the farmer’s market, the butcher, baker, or grocery store—on Saturday. And then you devote your quiet time on Sunday to mise en place your ingredients for the rest of the week. If your vegetables are already chopped or roasted or grilled, that makes meal preparation faster, with less temptation to send out for pizza.

Take Sunday’s roast or rotisserie chicken, for example. Whole foods traditionalist Jenny McGruther carves the free-range, organic bird to enjoy for an early dinner, then picks off the rest of the meat for sandwiches or casseroles later in the week. And the roasted chicken carcass? It goes into the slow cooker, with water, a little celery and onion, to slow cook overnight into homemade chicken broth, now with the fancy name of “bone broth.” The homemade broth, strained, could be the basis of Thursday’s soup or risotto.

Cookbook author Pam Anderson roasts a variety of vegetables on Sunday—strips of bell peppers, diced sweet potatoes, wedges of red onion, halved Brussels sprouts—with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper until they’re soft and browned. She serves them first for dinner. The rest go into a veggie scrambled egg for breakfast, a salad for lunch, or a pasta entrée for dinner later in the week.

Likewise with grilled vegetables. If somebody’s got a steak on the barbie, why not throw on some vegetables, too? As with roasted vegetables, these keep their color and still taste great a day or two later in tacos, salads, or sandwiches.

A big green salad at lunch or dinner is always a good idea. If the greens are already rinsed and dried and the other ingredients you like—edamame, grated carrots, finely chopped red cabbage, scallions, etc.—are good to go, you’re more likely to make that salad. You’ll have your salad in a few minutes because the ingredients were ready to assemble. If you also have on hand a homemade buttermilk ranch dressing, an American classic that just about everybody loves, you have not only a salad dressing, but a dip for cucumber slices, carrot sticks, and more.

On weeknights, you’re more likely to choose melon, mango, or pineapple as a fresh dessert if it’s already in wedges or cubes or rings. It’s also more readily available to drop into a breakfast smoothie.

The Sunday kitchen—it’s an eminently practical idea to make your life go more smoothly.