The Lazy Gourmet’s weekly workflow

I’ve got a secret to tell you. I don’t spend hours in the kitchen. Actually, some weeks I spend a little over an hour in the kitchen a week. Yet I have all sorts of interesting meals for the week.  How you ask? I cook the way restaurants cook. In batches and prepare ahead and use a workflow plan.

In the first 15 minutes I:

  • put the oven and the bbq on,
  • if I need some, chuck a ½ pumpkin in to roast (every 3rd week)
  • Blitz almonds into chunks for salad and store in a jar (every 2nd week)
  • Make garlic paste. Store
  • Slice 3 red onions, chunk another and blitz it in the food processor
  • Slice a bunch of spring onions
  • Butterfly 2kgs of chicken breasts so they’re even thickness and divide them into two batches.
  • The first batch gets a shake of a few spices from my pantry and some garlic, spread on trays and into the oven with the sliced onions around the edges. This will be done in 20 minutes.
  • The second batch gets dumped in a pot of cold water with spring onion tops a chunk of ginger, some garlic and a splash of vermouth or chinese cooking wine.

In the second 15 minutes:

  • Wash my knife, get a new chopping board
  • Wash and roughly chop 4 or 5 heads of broccoli, dump in my pressure cooker with garlic and salt or fish sauce. Lid on and cook for about 6 minutes once up to pressure.
  • I’ll put the chicken on the stove to poach at this time too, so it’s all ready in about 10 minutes.
  • Dump my 1 or 2kgs of whatever mince and spices into the food processor with the blitzed onion. Blitz until combined.
  • Form mince into patties and slap it on the bbq

In the 3rd 15 minutes:

  • Drain the broccoli.
  • Drain the poaching chicken,
  • Use the poaching liquid from the chicken in a deep tray with some fish fillets (if needed) cover with foil and pop in the oven
  • Pull the roasting chicken from the oven
  • Flip the burgers
  • Pack as much stuff into the dishwasher as possible
  • Pack everything that’s cooked into containers for the fridge and freezer
  • Remove the pumpkin and allow to cool

In the last 15 minutes:

  • Scoop out pumpkin flesh and pack into containers. I only tend to do pumpkin every few weeks as it adds extra time onto my prep. I might not do burgers on a pumpkin week.
  • Fish the fish out of the oven and drained
  • Grate 4 or 5 zucchini for omelettes and salads (I do this again mid week) and store in a container
  • Turn my bbq off and move the burgers to the resting rack
  • Wash and chop a few lettuces. Store in a really big salad container
  • Chop some capsicum and store
  • Pack burgers in a large container with baking paper between layers so I can remove 1 at a time from the freezer
  • Store anything that hasn’t been stored
  • Put the lids on everything that’s cooled and store.

10 minute clean-up

Because I do a different burger mix each week I have a few to choose from for snacks. There is usually extra-lean beef, chicken breast, kangaroo and if I can find some, turkey breast. In a busy week I can live of these and raw veggies.

Twice a week while I’m doing my morning cardio:

  • Roast sweet potato in the oven
  • Cook quinoa in the rice cooker for breakfasts

To start with you might take a little longer to get through all of this, but after a few weeks and a good plan stuck to your fridge it becomes simple. Tomorrow I’ll let you in on how my meals come together for a day. This is my ‘comp prep’ workflow. In the off-season you might see something like my baked mouse cakes show up. They’re easy enough to throw in the oven while everything else is going. Each week I try to cook enough for two weeks that way I can add something new to my freezer and keep things interesting.

About Michelle

Michelle is passionate about showing people how easy it is to prepare food that is healthy and packed full of flavour. She has just completed her first recipe book, Healthy Helpings: fast food for fit physiques. She began sharing her love of food in 2007, when she produced two series of the online cooking show ‘Healthy Helpings TV’, making fast food healthy and healthy food fast. In 2008 she competed in bodybuilding as a novice figure shaping competitor and she remains passionate about physique sports. She was a 2009 Australian Masterchef semi-finalist, and contributes articles to Oxygen Magazine Australia. Michelle lives with her husband on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, where she loves to search out new ingredients and food ideas from local farmers markets, health food shops and ethnic grocers, and take her two dogs on long rambles through the vineyards. Find out more about Michelle's book