Pre-plating = the ultimate dinner prep

It’s 11:30 a.m. and I just finished making dinner.

Well, it didn’t require much effort — let’s be clear. I shoved a frozen meatloaf in the oven, worked for the 70 minutes it was cooking (and forgot about it completely, thank God for timers) and then yanked it out of the oven.

I stuck some rice and water in the microwave and let that cook while I was slicing up the meatloaf and putting it onto four plates. Then I scooped the rice onto each plate and tossed on a handful of still-frozen vegetables.

Guess which kid hates green beans, which kid eats like a bird, which husband won’t eat cauliflower, etc.

I covered each plate in plastic wrap, used a sharpie to write each person’s initial (since portion sizes, veggie preferences, etc. are all very different), stacked the plates and shoved them in the fridge.

In the 5 p.m. panic to get some food into us all of before Taekwondo, I’ll just need to retreat the plates. Bingo bango!

I work steadily from about 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday, but afternoons tend to be the busiest time for me because it’s (maybe?) when people suddenly realize they need to return a call/email and now things are urgent, etc. Wednesdays, I have learned, tend to be REALLY busy — and that’s the day the kids need to be out the door at 5:10 p.m., having already eaten dinner and gotten dressed.

I HATE having to try to make something at 4/4:30 on these days because what I NEED is to be working, still. And so … pre-plating to the rescue!

(Darling Husband will heat his plate later, since he wakes up just in time to scoot out the door to Taekwando. #shiftworklife)

I’ve written about this before, specific to lunches. (You know, so I could eat an actual lunch and not just starve and work and type and then stuff in a bowl of cereal and/or a granola bar at bus stop pick-up time.)

I know making dinner at lunchtime is something I can only do because I work from home, BUT! This isn’t a hack just for work-at-home types.

I did the same thing two nights ago — cooked chicken and noodles at 7 p.m. and then stuck it all in these cute sectioned containers* I bought off Amazon — because I knew I’d never, ever have time to make dinner with a full workday, driving the dance carpool and getting the kids ready for the choir/band concert.

I hate, hate, HATE cooking and this is still cooking (which I hate, as I mentioned) but at least it’s making dinner prep slightly more bearable, if only because I get to feel relieved that it’s over.

So what do you think?

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