Meal prep is something that many of us leave until the last moment. I’m not talking about taking the meat out of the freezer or refrigerator. I’m talking about chopping up all the vegetables that go in that soup, stew, one-pot meal. I’m talking celery, carrots, peppers, onions. (Onions are the worst in my humble opinion!)
Why not just buy it?
Before you jump up and tell me that you can just buy those items already chopped up, stop and think about it. What is cheaper, buying the already chopped up items and having to take what is available, or doing it yourself and including the items that your family likes? Last time I checked prices in the grocery store, it was cheaper to buy the produce in the produce section or at the produce market than to pay someone else to do all that chopping.
There are tons of books/pins/blogs that detail how to accomplish this. I love to look through these places for ideas. I don’t have a problem with the ideas they present, just the quantities!
It’s just my husband and myself, that’s it! I don’t need to cook a meal for more than 2 unless we are talking about soups. So what’s more convenient for me is ingredients that are prepped in such a way that I can simply measure out how much I need.
I don’t have time!
I got this idea the second time I bought a bag of celery stalks and part of them went bad before I could use them all. I grabbed a small cookie tray that would fit in my Side-by-side freezer and lined it with parchment paper. Then I grabbed my celery, cutting board and knife before starting to chop. 5 – 10 minutes later I had the tray filled with chopped celery. I popped it in the freezer and waited. About 2 hours later, I came back, and the celery was frozen enough that I could dump it from there into a freezer container. The pieces remained separated enough that I could easily just get what I needed out. I repeated this until I had all the celery done.
I took one large onion and cut it up using a mandolin slicer. It took maybe 5 minutes to do. This is going into the refrigerator for use. I’ll cut a few more up and freeze them to use later.
This is sliced Starfruit. A friend of mine has a tree in her backyard. She has started freezing the slices and then adding them to drinks instead of ice cubes.
Think about what you want to store the frozen vegetables in. I use a mixture of freezer bags and freezer containers. This makes it easier for me to see what is in the bags. Just remember to date the bags/containers so you know when you froze them.
My recipe calls for a different type of measurement!
Yeah, so do mine. My favorite cooking magazine, Cook’s Illustrated, once tackled this question. According to their tests, a small onion = 1/2 cup of diced onions, a medium onion = 1 cup, and a large onion = 2 cups!
Now, of course, you probably won’t only be dealing with just onions. Which led me to another website, https://www.howmuchisin.com/produce_converters Great website! Having found this, I plan to go back through my favorite recipes and make notes.