Managing to be creative with your meal prep while not spending two hours in front of a stove every night can seem difficult, if not impossible. This is especially true if your partner is the expert cook and you're the I-GOT-THIS-ITALIAN-SH*T-DOWN-PAT person (he tells me, to my great disbelief, that one can only eat so much pasta — HAAAAAAAAAA, as if). There are a million meal-prep services that can make prepping with some creativity easier, but I'm not buying into the whole it's-cheaper-than-groceries thing...
Since my other half has been working upwards of 60 hours a week lately, I've been left with the reasonable responsibility of preparing dinner. I can't time a meal with multiple components. I'm unfamiliar with cooking anything that can't be improved with garlic and Parmesan. AND I AM DEATHLY AFRAID OF UNDERCOOKING MEAT. In spite of my apparent ineptness to prepare an interesting meal, I've come up with a method that works pretty good, and so I'm sharing with you assholes in the hope that I can relieve some of the burden of crippling adulthood from my fellow millennials. You're welcome.
1. Keep it Simple (Duh?)
Trying to do too many new things at once is a recipe for disaster. (HA! FOOD PUNS! YOU LOVE IT.) If you've got something a little ambitious on the menu (maybe like chicken Parmesan?), pair it with something you know you can't screw up (the no-brainer here is spaghetti w/ tomato sauce and fresh Parm). Listen to me closely as I tell you the secret to preparing easy, tasty meals: You can pump up just about anything with sauce from a jar. Tikka masala, stir-fry sauce, pesto and anything from the Mexican food section are all GREAT options to season your meals and add a lil' diversity to the table. If you've got a slow-cooker, consider sticking some meat in there with a bunch of marinade. That shit will be tender and delicious by the time you get home!
I also make sure at least one thing I'm cooking requires virtually no supervision. Roasted potatoes, rice, pasta. This shit can all cook itself if you don't try mess with with it too much, and the great thing is you know exactly how much time it's going to take (making it easy to time your meal; something I already mentioned I suuuuuuuuuck at). Most of the time, veggies can go on the burner or in the microwave last. At this point, you can usually take any meat you're cooking off the heat. So long as you've got the veggies prepped and ready to go, juggling three pans shouldn't be a hassle at the last minute.
The last and probably most important thing I've come to utilize is preseasoned meat/entrees from the grocery store. Something is always on sale. Last night I got four stuffed clam shells for FOUR DOLLARS. I popped those bad boys in the oven for 20 minutes and didn't have to think twice about 'em. Plus, they usually come with instructions. Make a starch and a veggie and call it a night, baby!
2. Shop the Sales
I know we're not exactly the coupon-clipping kind of generation, but a lot of major grocers have apps that let you see everything that's on sale. Do yourself a favor and stock up on some BOGO nonperishables or freeze some low-priced meat to save for later. I saved FORTY DOLLARS at Publix the other week, no lie. Their app is amazing, too. You can pick your grocery store and add things to your shopping list, and the app will tell you what aisle to find the thing on. AMAZING. It is embarrassing how long I have spent wandering up and down the aisles recently with this app available. 2017, MAN. IT'S NOT ALL BAD.