The process of deciding on, shopping for and then cooking a meal can be a bit of a chore. That’s why week-long dinner plans, shortcuts, hacks, tips and recipes that can do the heavy lifting for us are so alluring.
Jan Scott’s new book, Oven To Table, is packed with tasty (and efficient) ideas. With a few of the prescribed pots and pans, you can make a number of wholesome meals that serve the family at least once (one-pot recipes are great for big-batch cooking), a variety of cozy treats — like one-skillet blondies or jam-swirled breakfast bars — and even homemade faux sourdough for breakfast.
Here are five big takeaways from Scott’s book:
1. Classic tools are the best tools.
A cast-iron skillet, casserole dish, standard sheet and baking pans, enamel roasting pan and a sturdy Dutch Oven are all you need. Bonus: at least half of these are probably in your kitchen at home, so everyone is ready to make at least a handful of one-dish recipes right away.
2. Make kitchen tools do double-duty.
Many tools are much more than a one-trick pony. Scott advises using a potato masher to break down ground meat: “A potato masher works much better [than a wooden spoon] and brings about the texture and size you’re looking for.” Hello, extra-speedy Bolognese.
3. Parchment paper is your best friend.
4. Start the prep early — up to 5 days early.
That’s right. Scott will wash, peel and slice the vegetables she needs for the week ahead as many as five days ahead of time (that’s how long they’ll keep, generally). While peeling vegetables isn’t exactly our favourite task, we love the idea of getting it all over with in one go.
5. Cook once to eat twice.
Whether you use the leftovers for dinner tomorrow or the day after, for hurried lunches or snacks, taking a small amount of time to make extra yields long-lasting results. (Your future self will appreciate your thoughtfulness when bad traffic or an overlong meeting throws off the schedule.)
Oven To Table is available in stores starting February 5, 2019.