Plan the week’s meals
(WITHOUT GIVING UP YOUR WHOLE WEEKEND)
Two sanity-preservers from Merrill Stubbs, one of the moms who cofounded the kitchen and home site Food52 (food52.com) and co-wrote the book A New Way to Dinner:
PUT A PLAN IN PLACE
Maybe you shop Saturday morning and cook Sunday, or shop Friday evening and cook a little both days—whatever works. But plan on somewhere between 90 minutes and three hours in the kitchen overall, with a few dishes (say, the classic adobo) done and ready to eat, and others prepped to throw together in 10 to 20 minutes on a busy night. One key act that will get you ahead: Cook your veggies as soon as you get them home. “It’s when you love them most,” says Stubbs. “Facing a bunch of raw vegetables on a Wednesday evening is too daunting. But if your peppers are already braised, you can just throw them into a dish.”
THEN FORGET ABOUT IT SOMETIMES
You must lose any lingering guilt over nontraditional dinners. Now and then, you’ve got to embrace dishes like salads, grilled cheese, or topped ricotta toast. They lighten the dinner-making burden—and may even be healthier than a huge meal.