I am the person that wants to eat my meal as soon as I realize I am hungry. I wasn’t always like that but now that life is busy, that’s the story. After being forced to eat several servings of vegetables and fruit by joining a 21Day Fix group, I finally realized how easy cooking can be with just a little bit of prep work. By the end of the first week I realized something, and I said out loud “cooking is not difficult, I make it difficult.” I had to say it out loud because it was such an epiphany, I have always told myself that it is too much work to cook on a regular basis. I know somebody out there is secretly shaming me for being so ignorant, so probably this guide is not for you.
Obviously, this grouping rule is easy enough and you are probably already doing it. Put your meats together, fruit together, veggies together. Put things that might be snacks in the same area, group the types of spices you would use at different times. Oh and If you don’t have spices this is a major problem, immediately ask Alexa to buy red pepper, sesame seeds, paprika, ginger, turmeric, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage, cinnamon, and also get some curry powder if you ever decide to get wild.
Makes things look good, even if they are just OK ;). Visualizing your food as desirable triggers so many reactions in your brain. You salivate of course, but you also trigger the pleasure part of your brain when your food looks tasty. Then your brain counts the experience as a positive one, setting you up for future success! I actually really enjoy creating colorful meals, and once in a while it becomes an art for me. If you can relate to that, then this is a great way to tap in to your creativity angst (and naturally reduce stress).
MAKE CLEANING EASY
I have a dish rack right above my sink and I stand in one spot for cleaning and putting dishes away. I do not use silly cupboards, they are worthless in my opinion (and my apartment doesn’t really have them). Cupboards have the potential to kill my creatively, if I can see my cooking options and tools right when I walk into the kitchen then everything goes smoothly. That leads to the number one rule…..
MAKE FOOD VISIBLE & GRABABLE
If you don’t do this you will fail. You will really see that this as the best laziness hack, and the most important part is that doing this becomes mindless. If there is a pan, and I can see the pan, I am more likely to grab it and start cooking. Food prep is required (most likely) in order to make food grabable. You do this when you have random free time. Wasting time trolling on Facebook and Twitter? Chop your veggies up instead. Yesterday I chopped 15 onions while on a conference call. Buy the 2/$4 strawberries, put some in snack bags and freeze the rest for yogurt or smoothies. The main foods I usually always have prepped in the freezer are: sliced chicken breast, onions, peppers, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and spinach/kale for quick smoothies.
It is a great feeling to look in the fridge and see opportunities instead of random bits of dusty food. and lastly….
SKIP THE RECIPE
Sometimes it is stressful to follow a recipe. Usually you find one online, then when you go back to check if you have used all of the 999 spices, you are forced to use your messy hands and read the tiny print. Use them as ideas and then skip it if you think you have got it under control. It is ok if your plans evolve. The meal below was supposed to be chili, but it turned into bok choy mushroom chili after I saw the veggies I had in the fridge.
As long as you have some olive oil, garlic, a few spices, and lemon juice you can make anything taste good. GO FORTH AND BE A LAZY COOK!
Originally published at medium.com