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[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] Y[/dropcap]esterday morning I decided to do something a little differently. I’ve been trying to get into the habit of waking up early. I used to think I wasn’t a ‘morning person’ but when I make the effort, I love having that extra quite time to meditate and get a little work done.
So what did I do differently?
Basically I just moved my phone / alarm out of reach so I had to get out of bed to turn it off.
Of course I was up then, so it wasn’t hard to light the fire, make a pot of white tea and let the day begin.
My job yesterday morning was to read through the entries of people looking to win a free spot in my new online cooking program ‘The Organized Cook‘. It was lucky that I got up early because there were 225 people who had left comments.
After reading through all the ways that you guys are struggling with being organized cooks I felt a bit emotional. But thinking about it another way, I had to smile.
You see, it’s my job to help.
So in a funny way knowing that you need help feels good on some level. I guess it’s nice to feel needed :)
Anyway, there were a few themes that kept coming up so today I wanted to ‘debunk’ the most common myths about being an organized cook.
But before we get to that, I’d better announce the winners!
Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School 12 Months Membership
It was tough trying to decide. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to share your thoughts.
And the winners are:
Congratulations! You should have an email in your inbox with details on how to claim your prize.
The 3 Biggest Myths about Being an Organized Cook
Myth 1. You have to spend hours in the kitchen sacrificing your precious weekend time.
Lack of time is often cited as the biggest obstacle on the path to organization. But here’s the thing, you don’t need to dedicate huge chunks of time to make a difference.
In fact, unless I’m cooking for a dinner party, I rarely spend extra time in the kitchen getting ready for the week ahead.
What I do is use the time I’m already in the kitchen to get extra items prepared.
I’m not a big fan of ‘multi-tasking’ as a rule. But there is a time for it in the kitchen.
I often pop on some veg to roast (1 hour but 2 minutes active time), cook up a pot of quinoa (15 minutes) or make a quick ragu (20 minutes) like the one below for the future while I’m cooking for today.
If you’d like to explore this more, I’m going to be going much deeper in my new online program, The Organized Cook.
Myth 2. If you’re organized there’s no room for flexibility
This ties in with the misconception that being organized means you have to eat loads of the same reheated meals. If you focus on using ‘mise en place‘ or preparing certain ingredients rather than pre-cooking whole meals, there is loads of room for flexibility and creativity.
And even better, cooking this way means you can pull together healthy meals in very little time.
Myth 3. Pre-prepared food is not as healthy as fresh
Just because fresh food is healthy, doesn’t necessarily mean that food cooked in advance is devoid of nutrition.
Whenever we cut or cook food we’re exposing it to oxidation and light in the case of the former and heat in the latter. So any light, oxygen or heat sensitive nutrients will be lost during food prep.
Whether we eat the food straight away or store it and eat in a few days time doesn’t make a significant difference. Most of the sensitive nutrients will have already been lost.
The other thing to consider is if we’re talking pre-cooked home meals vs takeout you know who will win in the health department.
All that being said, I think it’s important to serve something raw and fresh if possible with every meal; both freshly cooked and pre-cooked. For example, add a handful of fresh parsley leaves or some baby spinach to the ragu below or serve it with a green salad.
Need more help getting organized?
I have good news!
I’ve just created a FREE 5-part email series to show you how to get the benefits from being more organized in the kitchen.
It starts on Monday.
If you’re interested, all you need to do is enter your email below:
Can’t see the signup form? Click HERE
It’s that simple :)
Quick Pork Ragu
Today’s recipe is an example of the types of things we’ll be covering in The Organized Cook. It’s a quick meal that can be made in advance if you prefer. It’s the type of one pot meal you can get going and have simmering away while you do something else in the kitchen.
Enough for 2
4 thick pork sausages
1 can tomatoes (400g / 14oz)
2-3 tablespoons butter
1. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan or skillet on a medium high heat.
2. Remove sausage meat from the casings and crumble into the pan. Discard casings.
3. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring to break up the chunks, until the meat is starting to brown.
4. Add tomatoes and butter and cook for another 10 minutes for the sauce to reduce a little. Taste and season.
vegetarian – replace pork with drained canned chickpeas.
vegan – replace sausages with 1 drained can of lentils or about 250g (9oz) of cooked red or green lentils and swap the butter for olive oil.
different sausages – pork are a firm favourite in our house but feel free to use other sausages such as beef or chicken if you like them.
pescatarian – replace sausages with peeled green prawns (shrimp) simmer until just cooked.
herby – cook a few thyme leaves or rosemary in with the sausages.
budget – replace half of the sausages with cooked or canned white beans.
more substantial – feel free to serve the ragu with your favourite cooked pasta, preferably something short like rigatoni or penne.
gluten-free – use GF sausages or replace with about 400g (14oz) minced (ground) pork or other meat.
Do Ahead Potential
Excellent! Takes 15-20 minutes. Will keep in the fridge for a week or so. Or can be frozen for up to 12 months.
paleo / low carb – serve on a bed of baby spinach (pictured above) or grated raw cauliflower (aka cauliflower ‘rice) or grated raw broccoli. Also good on top of a big plate of wilted greens.
carb lovers – serve on top of your favourite cooked pasta. I like it with rigatoni. Hot buttered toast is also good.
slow carb – serve on top of canned or cooked legumes such as lentils or cannellini beans or even chickpeas.
cheesey – A grating of fresh parmesan can be a welcome addition.
herby – in Summer I like to serve with a crowning of fresh basil leaves.
Have fun in the kitchen!
ps. The FREE email series includes a FREE downloadable / printable ‘cheat sheet’ which will give you a big head start.