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Six ways to make meal preparation a breeze

Most people agree that preparing dinner every night can be a tedious task. There are several ways to shorten meal prep time and make dinner a breeze.

1. The first step is organizing your kitchen so everything is in an easily accessible place. Group all cookbooks and recipes together in a convenient location. Get a spice rack and group your spices near your stove. Get a large container to keep on your counter for large spoons, spatulas, salad tongs, and other utensils you use often while cooking.
2. Plan your meals for the week starting on Sundays. Make a list of groceries you will need to buy for the week. Go through your freezer or cabinets to see what you already have.
3. Chop fruits and vegetables all at once and store in containers. Grate your cheese or buy pre-shredded cheese. This will make it easier to prepare your meals if everything is already cut.
4. Separate and freeze meat into appropriate sizes for meals. When buying chicken if you do not plan on using the whole package, separate the chicken in Ziploc freezer bags and freeze 2 pieces individually. Then you can easily thaw just those pieces for dinner. Also cook your meat in advance all at one time. For example, if you are preparing tacos, make double the amount of ground beef and refrigerate half of it to make spaghetti for another meal.
5. Prepare meals in bulk to have leftovers. Either freeze them for later or refrigerate for the next day.
6. Use a slow cooker or crock pot. Prepare all of the ingredients the night before and combine in the crock pot in the morning and dinner is ready when you get home.