How to Make Multiple Meals at Once: Home Cooking Boot Camp Lesson 4

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  • April 14, 2017
How to Make Multiple Meals at Once: Home Cooking Boot Camp Lesson 4

After learning how to cook, creating a weekly meal prep routine is arguably the best thing you can do for your eating habits. In today’s busy life, we often wait until we are hungry to decide what to eat, which doesn’t always lead to the best outcome. Having meals prepared ahead of time lets you lock in choices that are perfect for you.

We’re going to start by preparing three meals in one go. If you practice these skills, you’ll work your way up to building all your lunches and/or all your dinners for the week. Or maybe all the lunches for all the members of your household — imagine the power and freedom in that!

Note: We will be building on our skills from previous lessons, so if you haven’t done those lessons or need a review before diving into your weekly meal prep, then click here.

The Magic: Make Multiple Meals at Once

In doing this drill, you will discover the efficiency of making multiple meals at once is off the charts. Consider that making any one meal typically takes thirty minutes from the time you walk into the kitchen to when you have finished cooking and cleaning up. And that’s on a good day.

But making three meals at once takes only about forty minutes. That means you tack on only five minutes of cooking time per additional meal and save yourself time at other points in your day or week.

When you make multiple meals at once, it puts the power of the assembly line at work for you. For instance, once you have your knife, cutting board, and receiving bowls ready for one meal, you just need to perform a few extra knife cuts to prep ingredients for additional meals. And that’s just chopping. Add up the efficiency for all five moves that go into cooking a meal, and you start to see how you can easily save time.

But theory only gets you so far. Practice is what makes an impact. So let’s jump right in. This might be a radically new experience for you, especially if you are just learning how to cook, but just follow the five moves like you did in each of the past lessons, and everything will turn out fine.

Skill Drill: Make 3 Meals at Once

Home Cooking Lesson

Your Tools:

  • 1 knife
  • 1 cutting board for produce
  • 1 cutting board for meat (should be plastic/non-porous)
  • 3 bowls
  • 6 containers for produce (Tupperware, bowls, tin foil)
  • 3 (or 6) containers for meats or meat substitutes (bowls, tin foil)

You may need to pull out all your pots and pans for this, as well. We will get into kitchen tools and organization in the next lesson. Get by with what you have for now.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 servings of firm vegetables — carrots, cauliflower, yams, etc.
  • 2.5 servings of soft vegetables — tomato, mushrooms, peppers, etc.
  • 1 serving of leafy green — lettuce, kale, spinach, etc.
  • 3 servings of meat or meat substitute

Note: You can change the allotment of vegetables if you’d like. You can do three servings of firm vegetables and two servings of soft or vice-versa, or do six servings of firm and no servings of soft. Chef’s choice! For guidance on what constitutes a “serving size,” see lesson one.

Seasonings:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fat of choice — olive oil, butter, coconut oil, ghee, etc.
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • 3 things sour — lemon, lime, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, etc.
  • 3 things spicy — cayenne, chili, ginger, etc.
  • 3 things savory — dried or fresh oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, etc.

Note: Your “3 things” seasonings don’t need to be three different options, but the more variety the better. For instance your three sour things could be lemon juice three times, but it would be more fun to use lemon once, lime once, and balsamic vinegar once.

Home Cooking Boot Camp

Before getting out your knife, you need to do a little meal planning so you can determine how to chop your ingredients. Here’s what you do:

  1. Place the whole raw ingredients into containers. Divide six servings of produce into the six produce containers, and divide your three servings of meat or meat substitutes into their three containers. Don’t worry about putting raw meat in these three containers — you will either wash them later, or if you started with six containers for meat, you’ll put the cooked meat into the clean containers.
  2. Next, group the containers together as meals, however you see fit. Just be certain each meal gets two servings of produce and one serving of meat. You can break servings of produce in half and mix and match to make things interesting.

Grouping the ingredients into meals should give you ideas about how you want to cook and plate them up. For instance, you might see a salad emerging, a stir-fry opportunity, and a meal you just want to throw in the oven and roast. This should dictate how you want to chop things up, knowing what you know from the previous lessons.

Now, work in this order:

  1. Chop your six servings of produce.
  2. Chop and/or mince your seasonings.
  3. Mince one serving of leafy greens for salad.
  4. Change cutting boards.
  5. Chop your proteins.

As you put the chopped items back into their containers, keep the containers grouped as meals. This will help you decide how you want to season them.

Home Cooking Boot Camp

Set your oven to 400 degrees so it will be ready by the time you are done with the Sprinkle move.

Set a pot of water to boil if you plan on boiling anything. If you plan on boiling anything, you don’t need to season it first. You will save this step for after you finish cooking these items.

Season your ingredients one meal at a time. Put all the ingredients for one meal in front of you and decide how you want to season them in light of each other. You can combine the ingredients together for a quick stir-fry, or you can keep them separated to cook in different ways.

Note: Here’s the equation to create a simple vinaigrette or citrus dressing. 3 parts oil to 1 part sour (vinegar or citrus juice) + salt + pepper. Whisk vigorously with a fork.

Home Cooking Boot Camp

Now you need to separate the ingredients from their meal groupings so you can cook them however you like. If you think you might forget what goes with what, snap a picture of the meal groupings.

Now, refresh yourself on the three cooking methods. Then:

  1. Decide first what goes in the oven and get those going.
  2. Put anything in the pot that needs to get boiled.
  3. As your oven and boiling items cook, concentrate on your saute work.

If you are comfortable sauteing, use multiple pans at once to cook down as many ingredients as you can at the same time. If not, then saute your ingredients one at a time. Rinse and repeat with the same pan or pans to minimize clean up.

As the cooked ingredients come off the heat, put the cooked produce back in their containers. Do not put the cooked meat back into their containers as these have been contaminated with raw meat juices. Either wash your containers or pull out clean ones for the cooked meat.

Home Cooking Boot Camp

Plate one meal and pack the other two to enjoy later. Here are few pointers on packing and reheating your meals:

  • Pack all the ingredients for each meal together in as few containers as possible. This makes them grab-and-go.
  • Use tin foil or parchment paper to separate items you plan to reheat from those you don’t.
  • Put wet ingredients on the bottom and dry ingredients on the top. For instance tomatoes, cucumbers, and your dressing could all be on the bottom of your container while your leafy greens rest on top.
  • When you are reheating, remember you are just bringing the items up to a temperature you enjoy. You are not cooking the ingredients again. They should be properly cooked already.
  • You can use any device to reheat your food: oven, stove top, microwave, or car dashboard. (Meats should not be left at room temperature 40-140F (4-60C) for more than four hours.)

So, how did it all go? Post a photo and tell us about it! You will get better and faster every time you make multiple meals at once. Practice, practice, practice. Your taste buds will thank you for it.

Want to learn more about healthy eating? Join us for the next Whole Life Challenge. This eight-week challenge will improve your mind, your body, and your daily habits, leaving you happier, healthier, and in control of your lifestyle. If you’re ready for a change, this is your opportunity. Click below to learn more:

Learn More about the September 2017 Challenge
Casey Moulton
Growing up, Casey would have laughed if you said one day he would create a cooking course to help people eat healthier. Until his mid-thirties he lived on take-out and microwaved hotdogs.

He developed Kitchen Karate to solve a big problem — at 35-years-old he was thirty pounds overweight, recently single, working crazy hours, and eating whatever came across his path. He had no cooking skills and zero interest in learning about diet and nutrition.

What started out as a personal mission to eat healthier with the least amount of time and effort blossomed into something much greater when Casey started teaching it to other people.

The often-overlooked truth about cooking is that it is a skill set. And acquiring any skill requires practice. The secret power of Casey’s program, Kitchen Karate, is that it packs an incredible amount of practice into a short period of time.
  • Grif Frost

    Aloha Casey! Thank you. We “plate” quite a few of our different meals in small tupperwares, each with the protein, complex carb, good fats combo, to use for meals outside of the home. Often we use them for our meals when we are at home! Fast Food. Good Fast Food. Sparks lots of outdoor picnics as well which living in Hilo makes so much sense!

    • http://www.kitchenkarate.com Casey Moulton

      That’s awesome Grif. Kindred spirits. Here’s to living the well-fueled life!

  • Northern light

    I didn’t have a leafy green for this week ready to go so it was a stir fry instead with peppers and bok choi on the left with dry mustard, rice vinegar, and a touch of chili paste. Then sweet potato, roasted pork chop and mushrooms or mushrooms and green beans. The mushroom set was balsamic vinegar, chili flakes, and basil, while the other set was red wine vinegar and garlic with a no salt spice mix I had in the cupboard.

    • http://www.kitchenkarate.com Casey Moulton

      Hey Northern, this sounds like a success. How did it come out?

      • Northern light

        Just had the stir fry, stunning! Had the mushrooms and pork last night, amazing. A week in to the challenge I did the first lesson on the kitchen karate website. It was good and I rearranged my spices. I’ve had a few weeks of practice on the chop, season and poke routine now, and it works. The new thing I got with the posts here is spicy, sour and other! The meals are moving from tolerable and good to great! That combo along with the cuisine arrangement of spices is the key. I’m already a good cook, but it is so great to have different meals each day in the same time that I spent cooking one large batch of one meal! Those three only took 45 minutes, and I’m cooking tons more veges and they taste better. Thanks for your lessons!

        • http://www.kitchenkarate.com Casey Moulton

          Wow! I’m beaming over here! Thank you so much for the feedback. This is exactly the impact we hope to have. I think you will enjoy next weeks post a lot. Stay tuned…

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