The leisurely days of summer are coming to an end, and with it comes a return to routine. “Making that transition when it comes to meal planning can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be difficult,” says Jordana Rebner, vice president of culinary development at Goodfood.
Summer is the time for quick, simple eating: barbecuing and laid-back dining with fresh, bright flavours, she says. Fall is still about quick prep, but the techniques to draw out rich flavours are different: slow-roasting, braising, poaching, stewing and sauteing. Using the oven to your advantage and letting it take care of parts or all of your meals will ensure that meal prep doesn’t eat up all your time.
Plan Your Meals
Organization and planning can take the stress out of meal prep, which is why Rebner recommends spending time at the beginning of each week to outline meals. Factor which nights are going to be busier than others, what night you’ll cook at home and when you’ll eat out or on the go. Look through the Goodfood app for what’s eye-catching and gets you excited about cooking and eating, such as their chef-created meal kits, curated grocery products and ready-to-eat meals.
If planning isn’t your thing, that’s okay. Grocery delivery is an ideal solution for last-minute shoppers, particularly those who live in a Goodfood On Demand Zone: “If a craving for homemade pizza strikes at 4 p.m., open the app and get all your needs in minutes,” Rebner says.
With Goodfood’s On Demand service, customers can have their groceries and meal kits delivered to their door in as little as 30 minutes for Toronto and Montreal, seven days a week between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. with no subscription required. Some areas of Toronto and Montreal can also enjoy craft beers and local wines through the On Demand delivery service.
Whatever Whets Your Appetite
Regardless of your approach or where you live, Rebner recommends starting with a key element: a protein you’re craving, a veggie that sparks joy, or a delectable cheese that you love. Then, look for a way to showcase that food in a meal.
“Meal kits are a great way to help with a lack of inspiration,” she says. “There are many quick recipes each week to select from, including those that require minimal prep.”
Focus On What’s In Season
The increase in food prices shouldn’t affect how we cook in the colder months, Rebner says. Focus on seasonal ingredients and selecting proteins when they’re most affordable—during sales and promotions. Incorporating vegetarian meals a few nights a week can help keep to a budget.
Fall produce includes a lot of variety—beets, broccoli, squash, leeks, celeriac, turnips, potatoes. Most proteins are available year-round, though in the fall you see more cubed meats and tougher cuts that are better suited for slow-cooked dishes such as stews, slow-roasts and long braises.
Get Creative With Leftovers
When it comes to repurposing leftovers, how much you’ll have to work with depends on the size of your family. For example, you can roast a chicken and serve it one night. If there’s enough meat left, you can use it the next day for sandwiches, to top a salad or for a chicken pot pie. You can make chicken stock with the carcass and whatever vegetables ends you have. The stock can be used in a soup or to make a risotto, or frozen for future use.
“Cooking a protein that can be used for more than one meal per week works with most proteins,” Rebner says. “We have a Dinner + Lunch plan that does just that: one protein, two ways of enjoying them.”
If you’re not using the Dinner + Lunch plan, Rebner suggests doubling your protein portion. If you’re making Garlic Shrimp Pomodoro Pasta for dinner, keep some of the shrimp and make a kale Caesar salad topped with shrimp for lunch. If you’re making a Southwest Beef Bowl for dinner, make a beef burrito with fresh slaw for lunch. Vegetables can be used the same way—roast a big batch, serve some fresh, and then incorporate the leftovers in bowls, salads and sandwiches. Because lettuce wilts quickly, it’s not an ideal leftover, but salads without lettuce can be re-seasoned and served the next day.
“The possibilities are endless,” Rebner says. “And on nights when cooking is off the table, give yourself a break. Order in from our frozen meals. Feeding yourself and meal prep are all about balance. And with a weekly changing menu and new products being added to our offering frequently, there’s always something new to discover and be wowed by.”
Learn more about Goodfood On Demand and their mealkit offerings on their site.