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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mise en Place: The benefits of once-a-week cooking

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I like to cook, so I never really thought of it as a problem, but lately, between four kids, my yoga business, cleaning, shopping, and all those other regular life things, I've been feeling that something's gotta give!
I'd heard of once-a-month cooking before, but it didn't really appeal. There are very few meals I make that would freeze well, and go straight from freezer to dinner. When I read an article in Whole Living Magazine about mise en place, I realized THIS kind of preparing meals in advance could work for me. The article talks about a chef who does the bulk of her cooking on one day a week, and then is able to throw the meals together in about 10 minutes after she gets home from work.
In my next post, I'll detail specifically what this kind of meal planning looks like for me, but here I just want to tell you some of the benefits:

1. Freer Afternoons. This is number one for a reason. This is huge! I've had more time to help my kids with their homework, play, clean my house, read a book, work on lessons--all that stuff that I haven't had time for. It's amazing what a free hour or two in the afternoon does for me. It's gone from a stressful time, to a stress-free time. *Happy Sigh*

2. Fewer dishes. I was able to re-use a lot of the dishes that were out without throwing them in the dishwasher. The cutting board cut all the veggies for the week without needing to be washed in between, the measuring cups did all their work in one day. And because the food is all made, there are fewer dishes after dinner too. 

3. Less last-minute scrambling for dinner. Am I the only one who has this problem? The afternoon gets busy, or you get home later than planned, and suddenly, you don't have time to make what you planned for dinner. I've found myself searching the cupboards for something--anything that comes together quickly-- and we usually end up with some culinary masterpiece like noodles and eggs. 

4. All the breads rise at the same time. This week's menu included three different kinds of bread (french bread, crescent roll dough, and pizza dough). Normally, I would make each bread on the night we use it, but on Monday, I made them all. One rising time for 3 breads- amazing! I froze the ones we'll use later in the week so they will still taste fresh with a quick reheat in the oven.

5. My kitchen only looks like a bomb went off once a week instead of everyday. If you do a lot of cooking from scratch, you probably know what I mean. Keeping the kitchen clean is always a challenge, but only tearing it apart one day a week means its a lot cleaner on the other days.

In my next post, I'll detail the specifics of how to try this out in your own kitchen.


  1. That sounds great! I've been wanting to do this for awhile, but haven't. I have all the same issues!!

  2. Wonderful idea - I just can't do the OAMC but this, this I can do! And it has a french name. Gotta Love That!

  3. This is a great idea especially to those who are busy in the weekdays. Just a day to spend with the family and prepare a dish to share.