A little planning will help you make Meals in a Minute

Edith Lovett

Pulaski County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences

With fresh vegetables, greens, and other garden products becoming available to everyone it is going to be easier to decide what products you can prepare for your meals. Deciding what to prepare for each meal can sometimes become a headache, and as a result, we may find ourselves in line at a fast food restaurant more than we care to admit. With a little planning, it doesn't have to be this way. By preparing some of your meal in advance, you can have a home cooked healthy meal within minutes.

Research shows us that people who regularly do advanced meal preparation tend to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables and eat an overall more balanced diet. Meal prepping is extremely popular as it allows us to live our hectic lives while still providing our families with nutritious foods. It saves time because steps in the cooking process are already completed to varying degrees. The process may include simply prepping ingredients to be used later to completely preparing dishes that are stored until later use. Meal prepping also takes some of the stress and frustration out of deciding what to eat each night.

If you have never tried meal prepping before, start small and don't invest a lot of money. At first, aim to prepare two to three meals per week in advance. Find nutritious recipes that your family would enjoy and make a grocery list of the needed ingredients. Allow your family to chime in on the meals or ask them if there is a new food or recipe they would like to try.

It is easier to set aside one day for grocery shopping and meal prepping as it cuts down on the number of times you have to handle the food and gives you a set time to work meal prepping into your busy schedule. Include your family in the food preparation to save you time, and lets them be involved. Not only does it help to spread the cooking responsibilities, but it also teaches your helpers basic cooking skills and healthy eating habits.

Remember food safety when preparing food. When using a cutting board, slice vegetables before cutting meat. Store produce and meat separate to avoid contamination. While most people associate meal prepping with dinner time, you can also prepare quick breakfasts and use leftovers for another meal. When the food is cooking, make the most of your time in the kitchen. You can chop vegetables to use for another meal, or freeze those that you want to serve later. Slice some fruit for a quick grab-and-go snack. Pat out meat or make and freeze a meat loaf for another day

After the food is prepared, store it in an airtight container and either place it in the refrigerator or freezer depending up on how soon you plan to eat it. Consume refrigerated meals within five day or freeze meals for a longer time. As you become a meal-prepping pro, you can watch for sales to stock up on food staples and increase the number of meals you prepare at home.

More information on meal prepping and healthy eating is available at the Pulaski County Extension Office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

A Pot Roast can be prepared for one meal, or made for several servings. When preparing a Pot Roast, you can select a roast that is suitable for one meal, or purchase a larger roast for left overs. Prepare your roast with vegetables for a complete meal, or cook the roast and use the leftover meat to make beef barbecue or beef manhattans. The following roast will serve 2, and maybe some left over.

Pot Roast for 2

1 pound beef chuck roast

1 large onion, chopped

2 medium size potatoes, pared and quartered

2 large carrots, pared and quartered

1 can of Mushroom Soup

1 envelope instant onion soup mix

1 teaspoon salt (optional)

1 teaspoon pepper

Place Roast in a slow cooker. Put the onion, potatoes, and carrots around the roast. Combine the soup, onion soup mix, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over the roast, and allow to cook on high 4 to 6 hours or on low 6 to 8 hours, or until meat is cooked through.

EVENTS AT THE

EXTENSION

The Gourmet Extension Homemaker Gals will meet at 5:30 on Tuesday, June 4, at the Extension Office.

Don't forget to shop the Farmers Markets in Pulaski County for fresh, farm products. The uptown Farmers Market is opened on Wednesday and Saturday's starting at 7:00 a.m. The Market near the Somerset Mall opens on Wednesday and Saturday's at 8:00.

The Betterway Homemakers will meet at 11:00 on Friday, June 7, at the Pulaski County Extension Office.

The East Somerset Extension Homemakers will meet at 8:30 on Saturday, June 8, at the Extension Office.

Bessie Bain will be teaching a painting class on Wednesday, June 12, at the Extension Office, starting at 10:00 o'clock. The cost is $20. Call 679-6361 to enroll.

The Longest Day of Play will be held this year on Wednesday, June 19, at SomerSplash Water Park. The first 200 children, 18 years of age and younger, will be admitted free. The water park opens at 10:00 o'clock.