Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Applied Laziness

One of the basic tenants of my meal planning philosophy is "Cook once, eat 2+ times." I have a number of friends that work in the IT sector and they sometimes use the term "applied laziness." I'm sure the term has its own meaning in the IT and engineering world; but in Kitchen Penguin HQ, it means minimizing my per-meal effort. Preparing and cooking a double batch of something generally does not take twice as much effort as making a single batch. So I plan my weekly meals around maximizing my resources to produce as many meals as possible from each kitchen adventure. It does help that I have a separate freezer in the garage and DBF doesn't mind eating leftovers.

Example #1 I have a hunters stew that I like to make but it usually takes me at least an hour to do all the prep. I have to cube the stew meat (it's generally cheaper to buy a roast), cut up bacon, cut the kielbasa, slice the onions, slice the mushrooms, peel and slice the apples, and rinse the sauerkraut. Then there's two hours of simmering everything until the meat starts to fall apart. So I make a triple batch and freeze any leftovers in both single serve containers for grab-and-go ("oops I forgot/don't have leftovers to pack a lunch" or "honey, I have to go out of town/have a doctor's appointment after work this week and you're on your own") meals and larger containers for a lazy weeknight dinner.

Example #2 I'm making corned beef hash for dinner tonight. I know that one can of corned beef, half an onion, two medium sized potatoes and an egg makes enough corned beef hash patties for both of us to have dinner and a lunch the next day (assuming DBF doesn't decide to eat more than usual). I cook two cups of rice, make some extra vegetables and we're set for two meals.

I made a double batch of pizza dough on Monday night so we had four medium sized pizzas. Enough for dinner, lunch the next day (with enough to share with my Minion), and a whole pizza left for dinner on Thursday.

This is how my kitchen works. I haven't had to prepare a separate meal just to pack lunch in over a year and that makes me happy.

Happy cooking! - KP


  1. That is totally the cooking philosophy at my household, too. In many cases, it's cook once, eat 3 meals. My husband is an excellent cook so eating the same thing is not an issue. He does try to change up the test if possible (i.e. if he makes a soup, he may add rice or pasta into it the next day to change the flavor). It's a smart system for everyone with busy lives!

  2. @oilandgarlic Aloha! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I probably should try to make my second and third (though once it gets past a second meal it's usually something we pulled from the freezer) meal a little different from dinner the night before. I need to train DBF's taste buds to like furikake and pickled vegetables so I can use those for augmentations.