It’s 4:30 in the afternoon. You walk into the kitchen wondering, “What should I make for supper?” Slowly you pull open the fridge door. Surprise, surprise! Nothing jumps out at you ready to set on the table for your family. For the 4th time that week (and it’s only Wednesday), you remind yourself that you really need to make a cooking schedule. So you go to Google and look up ideas on ways to make it easy cooking food. And here they are! Simple ideas from the Proverbs 31 woman on how you can be more productive in the kitchen.
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
1. How Does the Proverbs 31 Woman Cook?
There is a lot that we can take from this short verse, both about productivity and about cooking. One thing is clear: the Proverbs 31 woman makes cooking for her family a priority. So much so that she is willing to get up early if that is what it takes.
The Proverbs 31 woman prioritizes the needs of her family over her own wants and wishes. She doesn’t wait to see if there is time to cook after she has done everything else she wants to do. No, she plans her day around their needs.
Priority. That’s a simple yet, oh, so important word! Our priorities determine how we spend our time. We may think that something is important to us, but if we don’t do our best to make it happen, or if we allow unimportant things to interfere, then I think we’ve tricked ourselves. We aren’t actually prioritizing it. This doesn’t just apply to cooking but to every area of life. And trust me, I’m guilty of this too.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
I’m not here to get on to you but to encourage you to take a look at your priorities and seek the Lord’s help in any areas that need change. And I’m here to do more than that! I would like to share with you some meal planning and cooking tips that have helped our family and may help you too. But before that, let me share one productivity tip first, okay?
2. Early Rising for Productivity
I believe that one important productivity tip is early rising. You know the old saying, ‘Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.’ I wouldn’t take it so far as to say that is always the case, but I do believe early rising can have its benefits. So what are those benefits?
For one thing, getting up early means that you can get an earlier start to your day. I don’t know about you, but my morning routine can take a long time. If I sleep in, I’m tempted to rush through or skip parts of my morning routine because I feel like I am starting my day late and need to begin tackling my to-do list. That is not a good way to start or a helpful mindset for beginning the day. It’s especially bad when it means cutting short my time with the Lord.
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
Also, it is so encouraging when you can look at the clock halfway through the morning and feel encouraged by all the things that are already accomplished. And in the summertime, early rising can be beneficial if you live in a hot climate like I do because you can get outside activities done early and beat the heat.
Did you know that there is more to early rising than just getting up early? Early rising actually has to start the day before. We all need to get a healthy amount of sleep, so early rising starts with going to bed early. I have found that starting my bedtime routine earlier makes it easier to go to bed early (and to my surprise has actually made me enjoy going to bed early!). You may think that you are just cut out to be a night owl, but don’t reach that decision without giving an earlier bedtime a chance.
3. Meal Planning
On to meal planning! This is not my forte, and the very mention of meal planning used to be nearly enough to make me want to run the other way. I’m just not a naturally organized person, which is one reason I am now so attached to my planner. But meal planning doesn’t have to be scary. And it is one of the best things you can do to help make it easy cooking food. The key is to come up with a simple plan that fits the unique needs of your family and helps to make it easy cooking food on a daily basis.
Now, there are many different meal planning systems out there, but I’m not here to share all of those with you. What I would like to do is to share the one my family has found to be a tried and true method.
Our meal planning system is built around categories. They can look something like this:
- Monday – Fish
- Tuesday – Beef
- Wednesday – Mexican
- Thursday – Chicken
- Friday – Pasta
- Saturday – Quick and Easy
- Sunday – Crockpot or Grill
We have done different variations of this idea, but this is the simple structure that we base our menus on. If there are other categories that you commonly eat, you could substitute some of these with your own.
4. What Should I Cook Tonight?
How do you know what to cook tonight? Those categories are just a starting point to help make it easy cooking food. You need to fill out your categories now. Make a list that has each day of the week and its category. Under that category, write every recipe you make that fits. If you can come up with 3-4 meals, then you have a very good rotation ready to go. Here’s what this could look like for one day.
- Friday – Pasta
- Fettucini Alfredo
- Mac ‘n Cheese
With that simple outline, you now have enough different meals for every Friday for 4 weeks. That was easy, wasn’t it? Now, you don’t have to stick to a strict rotation unless you want to. Instead, you can plan which meal best fits with what you have going on that day.
I recommend looking at your menu the night before so that you have time to take your meat out of the freezer. So, Thursday night you look over your list and think “What should I make for supper tomorrow night?” You realize that you are going to be gone shopping a while, so you pick mac ‘n cheese: something you can quickly whip up when you get home. Plan your vegetable to go with it, and you’re good to go. It’s that simple!
5. How Can I Make It Easy Cooking Food?
So you want to learn how to make it easy cooking food? I think that one of the biggest ways to do this is to be prepared. The Proverbs 31 woman clearly was prepared. She knew what time she needed to get out of bed so that she would have time to feed her family. The thing I love about having a meal plan like this is that you don’t have to meal plan every week. You already have your menu made and can use it as long as you want!
Our family has found another tip that we enjoy doing sometimes. While a lot of people eat sandwiches for lunch, we’re pretty limited on that because of some dietary restrictions. Are you looking for a break from sandwiches for lunch? What we have done is to prepare our main meal at lunchtime. We cook enough to have plenty leftover and eat it again for supper. I know this may sound boring to some people, but I actually really love it, from an eating standpoint as well as cooking. Since I know that I get to eat more of the same meal in a few hours, it’s easier to avoid going back for seconds I don’t really need. So, that’s a free tip you can try if you’re interested!
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- Work on your priorities. Are you actually prioritizing the things that are most important? It’s something to prayerfully consider.
- Experiment and see if you need to go to bed earlier and get up earlier. Even if you don’t think it would work, give it a try! You may be surprised (like me) and find out you actually like it!
- Start your meal schedule today. Make a rotating list that you can use over and over rather than having to think up a new one each week. Then choose your meal the night before so you can prepare.
Are meal planning and cooking difficult for you or something that you love? What is your best cooking tip (or two)? Please share them with us!!
Until next time, prioritize, plan, and begin to simplify your cooking!