The Do's and Don'ts of Meal Prep for Stress-Free Cooking

Here are our top tips, straight from people who meal prep every week.

When it comes to meal prepping, it may seem pretty straightforward: Plan your meals, make them, package them, and enjoy throughout the week. But there are actually tons of mistakes that can be made from grocery shopping to the final clean up.

Here are the most important do's and don'ts of meal prepping, from people who have actually been there.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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Do Keep Trash Near By

Nobody wants to get stuck carrying a pile of vegetable scraps across their kitchen or using a dirty hand to open the drawer hiding the trash bin. Keep an open trash bag next to you as you cook for easy clean up and a more sanitary prep area. You can peel vegetables directly into the bag and not worry about making a mess all over your floor.

Don't Prep Foods That Don't Reheat Well

Not every meal is meant to be enjoyed over and over again. When was the last time you heard someone say "wow that leftover shrimp tasted great after the microwave"? Probably never. Dishes like seafood, skin-on chicken, and roasted veggies never taste as good as they did the day before. It's just not worth it.

But if you still plan to reheat or reuse these ingredients, it's best to mask the rubbery dryness that usually occurs with fresh ingredients: re-purpose leftover seafood into tacos; remove the skin on chicken and shred the meat into enchiladas; or tuck leftover roasted veggies into a frittata.

Do Make Easily Adaptable Mains

Grilled or baked meats without any skin are fairly easy to reheat and pair with new sauces, grains, and veggies. You can also make cold chicken salad, tuna salad, and egg salad to put into sandwiches, over lettuce for a salad, and with added spices (like curry powder) for an entirely new flavor.

Don't Prep Before Checking Your Kitchen

Always check your pantry, fridge, and freezer before even thinking about what you're going to make. Take note of any leftover meals you can finish up, anything you froze previously, and incorporate ingredients that may go bad into this week's menu. You can then decide what you will make, and purchase new ingredients accordingly.

Do Clean Before and After

There's really nothing worse than using tons of kitchen equipment, only to find your dishwasher and sink are full of more dirty utensils. Clean everything up before you start preparing this week's meals for a faster clean up at the end. You'll thank us later.

Don't Start Until Everything Is Ready

It may seem obvious, but we really mean everything should be ready to go. Set up your music, podcast, Netflix show, or whatever entertainment you need. Tie your hair back, put on comfy sneakers (you can buy some here) and an apron, let the dog out, and call whoever you need to let them know you're in the zone. This is your time, so enjoy it distraction-free.

Do Plan Ahead

You're going to want an idea of what you're cooking, but be sure you have all the ingredients on hand and you've read the instructions properly. There's no turning back if you truly mess up a recipe. Chop and cook as much as you can in advance for easy meals all week long.

Also, be sure to actually plan enough food. If you do a superb job preparing weekday meals, you'll get suck on the weekends without anything to eat. Keep a few staple ingredients always ready to go, and pop a couple meals in the freezer for last-minute microwave dinners.

Don't Cook without Appropriate Containers

You've prepped your meals, but now it's time to store everything. Be sure you have enough meal prep containers so you don't get stuck tossing ingredients in large zip top bags or covering mixing bowls with plastic wrap.

Planning and Preparing for your Whole30, with Sarah Steffens (Part 1)

January is right around the corner and the the New Year is traditionally a time for cleaning up your diet, beginning your fitness routine, getting out of debt, finding the love of your life… the list goes on! It should come as no surprise that January is also one of the most popular months to start—what else—a Whole30.

If you are pondering joining us for the #JanuaryWhole30, read on. I’m sharing with you the 5 tips I use to prepare myself and my clients for a life-changing 30 days.

Tip #1: Clarity Moves You Forward

Before we dive into the Whole30 rules and meal planning and prepping, I think it’s important to spend time getting extremely clear on why you want to complete a Whole30. Before I start a Whole30, I sit down with pen and paper and get all of the drama of it out of my head and onto the page. I write my hopes, my fears, and, most importantly, I write so I can figure out if I truly want to do a Whole30. Being fearlessly unafraid to discover and own my wants in life (and with food) is clarity.

Thinking about doing a Whole30, fantasizing about my results, or dreading how difficult I assume it will be is simply drama, a story I tell myself that keeps me from truly living a conscious and deliberate life. Committing to a Whole30, discovering my results while courageously embracing the journey is my personal and authentic experience, and to be cherished as it will take my Whole30 to a new level of radical and pleasurable transformation. Knowing why I want to do a Whole30 (or why my clients do), is always first on the priority list for getting ready for the actual program.

Tip #2: Lifestyle Matters

Now it’s time to start the physical lifestyle prep for your Whole30. We often think preparing for a Whole30 is all about the food (and it certainly is about the food!), but it is also about getting enough sleep, finding ways to cope with difficult situations without food, managing stress and having confidence in yourself to be at peace with your decision-making during your 30 days on Whole30.

When preparing for your January Whole30, think beyond grocery trips and new recipes and allow yourself to consider the other essentials that will support your new food habits. Put your best comfy sheets on your bed (you are going to be getting the best sleep of your life!). Think through the specifics of what your social life will look like for the next 30 days, anticipate all of your obstacles, and make a plan for what you’ll do when you face them.

Perhaps you can suggest meeting up with your besties at a local coffee shop instead of the bar for happy hour, or making sure you’ve already eaten your Whole30 lunch before heading to the office work party. Figure out a strategy to deal with cravings (how will you ground yourself when you don’t feel like saying “no thank you” to that favorite treat?). Check out page 26 in The Whole30 for more planning strategies.

I also recommend choosing a non-food item to use all month long to remind you of your intention. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

  • Light a candle at a designated time each day as a symbol of your new path with food.
  • Identify a fragrance to associate with your new habits. Perhaps treat yourself to a new perfume or cologne. I personally love diffusing essential oils.
  • Purchase a box of herbal tea and sip it daily as a reminder that you are intentionally nourishing your body and mind.
  • Listen to a song that radiates life into your being while remembering that your life is worth honoring and protecting with the best self-care you can possibly manifest.

Tip #3: Time for food

Now that you’re clear about why to do a Whole30 and have made sure your lifestyle supports it, it’s time to get clear on what foods you will focus on eating for the next month. Review the Whole30 rules on page 13 of The Whole30 so that you know what foods are and are not compatible with the program.

Make room in your refrigerator and pantry. Follow the instructions on page 22 of The Whole30 to prepare your kitchen for the next 30 days. Feel free to store what you won’t be eating in another room (or toss it, or give it away, you have our permission!). Do whatever you need to do to make choosing Whole30 foods accessible, easy and stress-free.

Tip #4: Meal prep

You might be dreading this part of your Whole30, but with awareness and flexibility for what works for you, it can be easy and even enjoyable to plan your month of meals. While some people do well with spreadsheets listing an entire month of meals, others do better with only one week, others, a few days, and still others, just one day of meals at a time. Know thyself, and do what works for you.

I plan my clients’ meals for a week at a time. I use an Excel spreadsheet and divide meals between breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner (dinner is broken down by protein, veggie, salad, vinaigrette and a special sauce or dip).

When planning for myself, I find it most pleasurable to weekly stock up on the following:

  • About 5 proteins to serve at dinner throughout the week.
  • 7 or so veggies to cook in various ways (roasting, sauteeing, steaming or chopping in a salad).
  • A carton of eggs for quick meals done right.
  • Seasonal fruit to include with meals.
  • A few fresh herbs to keep meals flavorful.
  • Healthy fats such as avocado, coconut, olives and nuts and seeds.
  • Staples such as onion, garlic and whatever root veggies are in season.

Items that I always have on stock (on and off Whole30) because I love them so much:

  • Cooking Fats
  • Ghee, Coconut Oil, Sesame Oil, Coconut Butter, Olive Oil, Avocado Oil
  • Apple Cider Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar, Coconut Vinegar, Coconut Aminos and Fish Sauce, Sauerkraut
  • Cinnamon, Turmeric, Garlic Powder, Smoked Paprika
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds, Tahini, Sunflower Seed Butter

I tend to work with my weekly groceries and staples to create delicious Whole30 meals without an official menu, and this works for me since I am in my kitchen much of the time and since I menu-plan for a living, ideas come quickly. However, this is rare and not the case for most, so I realize how essential it is to plan, plan, plan.

If you are more like me, finding it natural to prepare meals as needed, feel free to run your Whole30 this way, more free-flowing. If you want to plan a few days in advance or even cook several of your meals in advance, do this, because this will work for you. If you want to plan for the entire week, or even the entire month, definitely do it.

The important thing to keep in mind is that you should do what works for you and let others do what works for them.

If you want specific meal planning support, check out the Real Plans Whole30 planner. It plans 30 days of Whole30 meals in five minutes, and has so many special features baked right into the program.

Tip #5: Kitchen tools

Whole30 requires a lot of cooking, so it’s worthwhile to invest in a few high-quality kitchen tools. Here’s what I find incredibly helpful to have in my own kitchen:

  • A cast iron skillet and a metal spatula. Used on the stove, or in the oven, cast irons make everything taste amazing.
  • A steamer basket. These are a few dollars at your local market and can make cooking veggies so effortless.
  • A sharp chef’s knife. I get my knife sharpened every few months and it is worth it every single time.
  • A baker’s spatula. I love my baker’s spatula and I rarely bake. I use it all of the time when tossing salads and serving pureed veggies and sauces.
  • A high-speed blender. I use a Vitamix, an investment ‘worth-it’ for me, but any blender is helpful when making sauces, dressings, and purees.
  • A grater box or hand-held spiralizer. Veggies are pleasurable to eat when prepared in different textures, such as shredding, slicing, spiralizing and these handheld tools get the job done.

We’ve covered a lot so far, so take some time to consider how these tips fit into your life. Keep an eye out for part two, where I will share some of my favorite Whole30 recipes to make ahead.

Header photo by Laura Meiner

Sarah Steffens has a B.A. in Business Administration, Public Relations from The Master’s College in Southern California. After years of experimenting with nutrition and recipes in her own kitchen, she now works as a Personal Chef in Los Angeles, cooking meals that support her client’s intention to physically and mentally thrive. She has catered several independent film sets, making it her goal to optimize the energy and well-being of each creative crew. She is the in-house recipe creative for the Whole30, and the creator of the Savor and Fancy blog. When Sarah is not cooking Whole30 and Autoimmune Protocol meals, she is likely exploring mid-century sites in L.A., taking photographs, listening to an audio book or hiking at Griffith Park.

Why I No Longer Prep EVERYTHING

Way back in the day, I used to be ALL ABOUT meal prep. Like any traditional fitness junkie (sans kids) I was in the kitchen every Sunday morning making sure I was set up for the week to smash goals with all my healthy food *insert eye roll*.

Nowadays, the thought of spending so much time whipping up these healthy meals is just laughable.

I believe in having healthy, easy food, snacks, and recipes on hand- but I also value my time.

Once you have kiddos, a few hours on Sunday is kind of a big deal. And spending it in the kitchen (regardless of how simple the easy meal prep ideas are) when you could be out playing isn’t practical.

To moms, it’s just “one more thing”. And while having every single meal ready in the fridge is amazing, we won’t make it a priority because it’s too effing annoying.

If making that many meals is going to stress you out trying to get it all done, it’s honestly not worth it.

Liz’s Healthy Table Episode 11: Freezer Cooking with Rachel Tiemeyer

Today’s show is all about tips and tricks for making family mealtime easy with freezer cooking. That’s right! Your humble freezer is full of untapped potential. Freezing meals saves time and money, and it can easily expand your cooking skills as well as your family’s appreciation for new foods and flavors. Are you ready for a freezer feast? How about a freezer party? This week’s guest, Rachel Tiemeyer, takes us on a deep dive into our frosty freezers.

Rachel Tiemeyer is the co-author of From Freezer to Table, and you can find her over at Thriving Home Blog. Rachel’s partner in freezer cooking fun is Polly Conner. Their goal: gathering families together over healthy, hassle-free meals. With six young children between them, that goal used to seem impossible. But when they discovered the power of freezer cooking, getting dinner on the table night after night became as easy as defrosting a lasagna!

Polly Conner and Rachel Tiemeyer are the dynamic duo of freezer cooking.

This week, Rachel and I dish about the do’s and don’ts of freezer cooking, how to start a freezer club, and how to throw a freezer cooking party. We answer questions from listeners and share a few recipes from the cookbook including flavor-filled Cheddar Chive Burgers and Sheet-Pan Lemon Garlic Chicken and Veggies.

“The beauty of freezer cooking is that we double most of the meals that we make by eating half of it right away and freezing the other half.”
– Rachel Tiemeyer

To enter the giveaway (U.S. and Canada only, please), post a comment below telling me about your favorite freezer meal and/or why you’d like to win a copy of the cookbook. I’ll pick one winner at random on October 4th.

Show Highlights:

  • Rachel and Polly are co-bloggers, co-authors, and Freezer Cooking Evangelists. is their healthy freezer cooking destination.
  • Rachel discusses the benefits of utilizing your freezer.
  • What in the world is a Freezer Club?
  • Storage matters! Learn how to keep your food fresh in the freezer and why air is your enemy.
  • A recipe for Cheddar Chive Burgers.
  • Did you know Mason jars are ideal for freezing meals?
  • Discover the three BEST ways to thaw your delicious freezer meals so they’re safe to eat.
  • Rachel answers questions straight from the Podcast Posse!
  • How long can food last in the freezer? Tune in to find out.
  • Get ready to host your own Freezer Cooking Party.
  • Rachel and I discuss our favorite freezer-ready recipes.
  • Hear what’s next for Rachel and Polly and their cookbook adventures.

Cheddar Chive Burgers. Photo: Courtesy, From Freezer to Table

Tune in to the show to hear all about this recipe for Sheet Pan Lemon-Garlic Chicken and Veggies!

Meal Planning & Prepping Made Easy

How to Meal Prep Efficiently without Spending Hours in the Kitchen

The key to a successful meal prep is creating a weekly menu and budget. When preparing your weekly menu, be realistic in regards to how many meals you think you can prepare in one afternoon for the upcoming week. If I was meal prepping for the work week, I would likely prepare 2 breakfast options and 3 to four lunch/dinner entrees in total. Also, be sure to select recipes that can be made in large batches that can be divided and frozen in individual containers for future weeks. And choose items that can cook simultaneously. For instance crockpot and soup recipes that can cook while something else is baking. Work smarter not harder!

Below are some tips and tricks for making meal prep easy and to do so efficiently without breaking the bank.

How to Meal Prep On A Budget

When selecting your lunch and dinner entrees choose recipes with similar ingredients. There are two reasons for this:

  • Saves money because buying in bulk is cheaper. Places like Sam's Club now offers a great selection of organic produce and Whole Foods will give you "case discounts" when you purchase 12 or more of an item. Check with your cashier at your local Whole Foods.
  • Saves time because it is much more efficient to slice, dice, and chop large quantities of similar ingredients. Store the ingredients individually in zip lock bags or grouped by recipe for easy access while cooking. Any remaining ingredients can then be frozen for use in subsequent weeks. Sliced and frozen vegetables are great for making soups.

When grocery shopping stick to your list! Don't get sucked into fancy marketing and purchase unnecessary ingredients.

When buying fresh ingredients for salads, only buy what you think you will really eat in the course of a couple of days. Since fresh and organic produce can be expensive you don't want to be wasting money or food by having to throw out the ingredients you didn't eat.

Also check around your area for local farmers markets or farmer table services. Buying local and fresh is a win-win for everyone and usually a little bit cheaper as well.

Shop the sales when available! If you see the coconut aminos on sale one week but its not on your list, go ahead and purchase anyway. Taking advantage of the occasional sales on pricey pantry items will help to save money in the long run and keep your pantry stocked with key ingredients at all times.

Make it a Family Affair

The best way to get the family on board with your new way of eating (especially if you are trying to transition them to the Healing Diet too!) is to let them help. Here are some tips for getting the family more involved in your healthy lifestyle change (and it just might help them change theirs)!

  • Let them look at recipes with you and select one(s) that they might like.
  • Take them shopping and let them select fresh vegetables and fruits. For younger children this is a great learning experience.
  • Let older kids peel carrots/potatoes, slice vegetables and label containers.
  • Also this is a great time to teach older kids how to read and follow recipes and measure ingredients. Maybe even allow them to "cook."
  • Or if it's just you and your significant other then make it a "cooking date."

It's never too early to get young ones involved in simple cleaning and cooking tasks in the kitchen. Make it fun and you will be helping to set a good example and teach them a real life skillset.

Prep Your Kitchen for Meal Prepping

Prep Your Kitchen for Meal Prepping

Prep Your Kitchen for Meal Prepping

It's always so much easier and more inviting to start cooking in a kitchen that is clean, organized and free of clutter. Here are some tips to creating a stress free workspace:

  • Take the time to clear away dirty dishes from sink. Clean out the sink and disinfect.
  • Wipe down and disinfect counter tops and any other surfaces that food may come in contact with.
  • Remove clutter, file the piles of mail or items that you wont be needing or using from countertops and bars.
  • Be sure to have plenty paper towels/dish cloths on hand for spills.
  • Slice, dice, and chop all ingredients ahead of time and store in air tight containers or zip lock bags so that all you have to do is grab what you need when cooking.
  • Keep on hand freezer ziplock bags, sharpies, meal prep containers, and anything else you can think of for storing and labeling meals and extra ingredients to be used at a later date.

Ready, Set, Cook!

Prep Your Kitchen for Meal Prepping

Prep Your Kitchen for Meal Prepping

The key to successful meal prep is work smart not harder. Be realistic in the number of meals you can prep in a single afternoon and realistic about the number of prepped meals you plan on eating during the week.

Here are some of my best meal prep tips:

Cooking dishes simultaneously will make best use of your time and help you to not spend hours on end in the kitchen. Put to cook first anything that can simmer for a long period of time unattended or cook in a slow cooker or crockpot.

Once that meal is going you can then move onto anything that requires baking time. Next put your rice and noodles to cook while you are cooking the main dish that they go with. Once the rice/noodles are done you can strain, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, and set aside in a bowl until you are ready to dish up. You can either set aside in the refrigerator or at room temperature. If noodles or rice become sticky while set aside to be put in a dish, just lightly rinse with cold water and strain.

The key to having multiple dishes cooking is to make use of timers so that you don't overcook or burn anything!

And don't waste anything! If you have left over ingredients then immediately put in freezer ziplock bags, label, and freeze to use at a later date. Didn't use all of the broth that a recipe called for? Then take a sharpie and write the date you opened it on the cap. Most broths are good for 7-10 days after opening in the refrigerator.

Portion out and freeze meals immediately. This will guarantee that nothing goes bad if you don't get around to eating everything that you cooked for the week. This will also ensure that if you've made extra you will have meals on hand for those times where you are unable to meal prep. It happens, life gets busy, so it's better to be prepared!

And don't forget to put a date of prep or expiration on your containers. If you keep meals in the refrigerator then you only have 3-4 days to eat that meal before it should be thrown out. Soups can be frozen for up to 4-5 months. Beef dishes can be frozen for up to 3 months. Chicken and fish dishes up to 2 months. Vegetable/pasta dishes up to a month if covered in a sauce. The key is to occasionally check for freezer burn on anything that you've put in the freezer.

Note: I find it best to take frozen meals out the night before and set in the refrigerator for thawing for consumption the next day. This ensures that dishes are not overheated, which can cause seafood and chicken to become rubbery or dried out.

The Dos and Don’ts of No-Stress Entertaining

When it comes to inviting people over for dinner The-Welcoming-Table style, there are some dos and don’ts. We’re all about keeping things stress-free around here because when things are hard, you don’t want to do them. Entertaining should be fun and something that you want to do more often. So here are a few rules to help you keep things low-key when you’re hosting guests.

1. DON’T keep saying, “We should get together sometime!” and never follow through.

DO be intentional about who you invite over. Think about people who overlap with your life in more than one way, and invite those people. They’re the ones you’re most likely to develop community with.

2. DON’T worry about “entertaining” and making everything Pinterest perfect.

DO focus on hospitality, making your guests feel welcome. Guests don’t need to be impressed — they need to feel a connection.

3. DON’T Try to do EVERYTHING. You don’t have to be a gourmet chef, an interior designer, a party planner, and a maid all wrapped into one.

DO focus on the things that most bring you joy. Do you like gourmet cooking? Then make a gourmet meal (But DON’T STRESS ABOUT IT!) Do you like to clean and to make a pretty tablescape? Then own it! Do you like making cute crafty centerpieces or stuff with mason jars? God bless you. Just do it (but don’t tell the rest of us about it).

4. DON’T worry about making your house perfectly clean. Your guests are there to be with you, not to inspect your house. Sometimes it’s okay to leave a pile of papers on your counter or for your kids’ toys to be out.

DO pick up and keep the health inspectors away.

5. DON’T feel like everything has to be the best of the best — THIS is what keeps you from entertaining more often.

DO feel free to use paper plates sometimes or to serve something store-bought. Whatever you need to do to make you willing to host more often, do it!

6. DON’T try a new recipe when having guests over. It will inevitably mess up (unless you’re an accomplished cook).

DO use tried-and-true recipes. It helps you feel confident and ensures that you won’t have any mishaps.

7. DON’T wait until the last minute to cook and clean. That’s a recipe for stress.

DO prep ahead. Anything that you can do, whether it’s making your dessert the day before, setting the table hours before, or cleaning the morning before guests come, do ahead of time. Any prepping ahead that you do will make things easier for yourself when it gets closer to time.

8. DON’T pick all complicated recipes for your meal.

DO pick one showstopping recipe, whether it be your main course or dessert. Keep the other recipes simple (bagged salads are totally okay!).

9. DON’T make all recipes that need a lot of hands-on time. The more you have to multitask, the more “on game” you have to be. You need some mental energy left for your guests.

DO use time-saving appliances. Your Instant Pot and slow cooker can become your best friends when it comes to inviting people over.

10. DON’T talk about yourself ad nauseam. You might be really interesting, but you’ll seem more interesting if you get your guests talking.

DO ask your guests lots of questions about themselves. Take mental notes and remember to ask them follow up questions, like “Oh, you enjoy traveling? What place is next on your bucket list?”

11. DON’T point about your mistakes. If something goes wrong with dinner, just go with it. Improvise or if worse comes to worse, order out a pizza. Laugh it off and move on.

DO laugh it off and move on.

12. DON’T stress so much about all the details that you don’t enjoy the evening.

DO relax and have a good time!

DO take time to debrief with your significant other after your guests leave. What went well? What would you change? Were these people you’d like to continue connecting with? If so, how can you make that happen?

DO take a minute that night or the next day to shoot a text to your guests to thank them for coming and to let them know you had a good time hanging out with them. It will make them feel like winners!

I hope these Do’s and Don’ts encourage you to just step out and invite someone over — to find ways to simplify your entertaining so that it’s easy and fun and not stressful. Which of these “rules” do you struggle with the most? Which are you going to try to implement? Tell me in the comments below!

In this Book, You Will Learn About:What is Meal PrepHow to Use Machronutrients and Healthy Food in Smart Meal PrepHow to Have Succes in Meal PreppingThe Different Benefits of Meal Prepping DietMeal prep diet food listFrequent Mistakes on .

Here are some rules of the meal prep: Purchase just what you're really going to eat. Be budget-friendly and practical. Embrace variety. Multitask in the kitchen This book is complete, clear, and exhaustive!

Publisher: Charlie Creative Lab

Author Updates

There’s never been a simpler way to master the many features of the Ninja Foodi Digital Air Fry Oven. This sheet pan cookbook is bursting with beginnerbasic guidance, hot tips, and tasty recipes. From 60-second preheats to big-batch sheet pan cooking, let this official guide show you how you can take your meals to the next level.

This sheet pan cookbook features:

  • Official guidance―Serve up perfection with straightforward instructions that teach you how to take advantage of your Ninja® Foodi™ Digital Air Fry Oven’s unique capabilities.
  • Quick and easy recipes―Learn how to whip up 75 delicious dishes, ranging from party platters to sheet pan suppers.
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There’s never been a more convenient appliance than the Ninja® Foodi™ Digital Air Fry Oven―or a better cookbook to pair with it.

Reduce time, effort, and food waste with the official Instant Pot® Cookbook for two

Your Instant Pot holds the key to whipping up tasty meals quickly, and now you can enjoy flavorful recipes that are perfectly portioned for two. This Instant Pot cookbook is filled with 80+ easy recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides, and dessert that help take the guesswork out of cooking weekday-friendly meals for two.

Reduce waste and leftovers with dishes like Apple-Cinnamon French Toast Cups, Shawarma-Style Chicken and Rice, and Mini Chocolate Marble Cheesecakes. These recipes work with all models of the 3-quart Mini and 6-quart Lux, Duo, and Ultra with modification tips when necessary.

  • Instant Pot overview—Get beginner-friendly guidance, shopping tips for two, troubleshooting advice, and pointers for scaling recipes up or down.
  • Handy recipe tips—Find advice for using up ingredients, modifying cooking times (if needed) for Mini and larger Lux models, and dividing labor up to speed prep.
  • Time-saving recipes—Spend more time enjoying your company with a majority of recipes taking only 10 minutes or less to prep, and less than an hour to get on the table.

Simplify mealtime without sacrificing flavor with help from The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook for Two.

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This one-pot cookbook makes mealtime easy with flavorful, fuss-free recipes that help you get the most out of your Ninja Foodi. Start with pressure cooking and finish with crisping—the Ninja® Foodi’s™ Tendercrisp™ technology is a game-changer when it comes to easy and fast one-pot meals. Recipes take minimal prep, feature easy-to-find ingredients, and, most importantly, require no additional cooking steps or appliances.

Turn your Ninja Foodi into the centerpiece of your kitchen with:

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Open yourself to a world of fuss-free cooking using your Ninja Foodi thanks to this official cookbook.

Everyday cooking made simple and delicious―Instant Pot® cookbook recipes you'll love!

Are you ready to add some creativity to your pressure cooker? The Instant Pot® Obsession is the ultimate Instant Pot® cookbook that shows you how to turn your one-pot meals into full-course feasts.

Featuring 120 easy recipes for every occasion, this Instant Pot® cookbook helps you understand every feature of your pressure cooker, as well as nutritional info and time charts to keep your cooking stress-free. This essential Instant Pot® cookbook also provides tasty variations on your go-to staples to help keep your one-pot meals unique and utterly delicious.

Find inspiration and more in the Instant Pot® cookbook, including:

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With this Instant Pot® cookbook, you can create countless tasty meals with imagination.

Create tasty vegetarian meals for two with your Instant Pot

The Instant Pot makes it convenient to whip up small-batch, veggie-forward meals without lots of dishes, leftovers, or time spent in the kitchen. Whether you’re a full-time vegetarian or simply want to eat more greens, The Instant Pot Vegetarian Cookbook for Two streamlines mealtime with perfectly scaled, meat-free dishes for your Instant Pot. Featuring simple instructions and basic ingredients, these versatile recipes can be made with either a 3- or 6-quart Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot Vegetarian Cookbook for Two includes:

  • Tips on cooking for two—Get smart suggestions for planning meals, stocking your kitchen, and shopping for groceries in small batches.
  • Instant Pot guidance—Learn everything your Instant Pot can do, find answers to frequently asked questions, and get pointers for safe and successful cooking.
  • A focus on nutrition—Find nutritional information for every recipe in this Instant Pot vegetarian cookbook, plus tips for adapting dishes to be vegan, gluten-free, and more.

Explore flavors ranging from regional American favorites to diverse cuisines around the world, with The Instant Pot Vegetarian Cookbook for Two.

Even heat distribution for an extra-crispy crunch—the complete guide to convection ovens

Convection ovens aren’t just for professional kitchens—now you can enjoy everything you would from a restaurant right in your own home with this convection oven cookbook. From flaky pastries to perfectly juicy roasts, here’s how to get the most out of your convection oven—no experience required.

Whether you have a built-in or countertop model, with this convection oven cookbook you’ll learn the science behind convection cooking and how these special ovens can make your favorite dishes even tastier. Then, combine your newfound knowledge of best practices with 101 creative, tasty recipes and see why everyone raves about the crispy, tender, and flavorful meals that convection ovens yield.

Some of the features of this convection oven cookbook include:

  • Tips and tricks—Make each recipe tasty and easy with helpful hacks designed to make convection cooking fast and delicious.
  • Chart it out—Useful tables in this convection oven cookbook provide temperature and time adjustments so you can adapt any recipe you have for convection perfection.
  • Steps for success—Learn how each setting works and what tools you’ll need to succeed with this convection oven cookbook, then use step-by-step instructions to make your first convection meal stress-free and fun.

Bake the most out of your convection oven with this easy and delicious beginner's cookbook.

With one-pot meals specifically designed for duos, the All-In-One Dutch Oven Cookbook for Two is your ultimate solution to unwanted leftovers.

Many Dutch oven cookbooks offer recipes meant to serve 6 or more. But why overspend on pricey ingredients or waste time in the kitchen you’re only cooking for two? The All-In-One Dutch Oven Cookbook for Two will show you how to create the wholesome, delicious meals you want without all the leftovers you don’t.

  • More than 90 creative Dutch oven recipes that go beyond chili and stews, offering new perfect-for-two favorites like Butternut Squash Risotto and Chicken and Herb Dumplings
  • Meals prep in less than 15 minutes and cook in under 45 minutes and use only your Dutch oven for a nearly hands-off cooking experience
  • A sample weekly meal plan perfectly-portioned for two covers breakfasts, mains, vegetarian options, and even desserts

Created by culinary instructor and food writer Janet Zimmerman, the All-In-One Dutch Oven Cookbook for Two calms the common stressors that can go along with cooking for two. You’ll buy only what you need, use just one pot, and wipe your hands clean after the quickest cleanup ever.

“My new favorite cookbook! I especially love that these meals are meant for two people and my husband and I don't end up with a ton of uneaten leftovers. A great cookbook for couples!”— Holly S., Amazon Customer

Tasty, timesaving recipes for busy cooks using stove-top or electric pressure cookers

Pulled pork in 30 minutes. Sweet potato curry in 20 minutes. Steamed mussels in 10 minutes. It’s not magic. It’s what pressure cooking makes possible.

Now that today’s modern pressure cookers are safer than ever, there’s no need to fear kitchen explosions—and no more excuses for ordering takeout or microwaving frozen dinners. In The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook, Janet A. Zimmerman offers a mix of 125 classic, international, and modern pressure cooker recipes for all eaters who want to put whole foods meals on the table, but not spend all day cooking them. Here you’ll find:

• The 10 must-know do’s and don’ts of pressure cooking
• A step-by-step guide to using your pressure cooker
• Guidance for adapting your favorite recipes for the pressure cooker
• Recipes with pressure cooking times and preparations for both stove-top and electric pressure cookers
• Nutritional information with every recipe and labels for Paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and one-pot meals to help you find the recipe that’s right for you

Recipes include: Bone Broth, Smoked Salmon Chowder, Honey-Chipotle Chicken Wings, Asian Pork Sliders, Beef Barbacoa Tacos, Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili, Balsamic-Braised Brussels Sprouts, and more!

How to Make Mashed Potatoes 5 Ways

There&rsquos no question that mashed potatoes are a Turkey Day necessity. But when you&rsquore cooking multiple side dishes, it can sometimes be hard to find an appliance not in use &ndash or not already covered in pumpkin puree or turkey gravy &ndash when you need it. Plus, mashing them by hand is tedious at best and painful at worst. Put the hand masher down and back away from the whisk. Try one of these helpful methods to make mashing easy or to free up your stove.

Roaster Oven Mashed Potatoes
It&rsquos not as well known that the roaster oven can do more than make a juicy, delicious cut of meat. Most roasters, in addition to the obvious (roasting), can actually cook and bake just like a regular oven, plus keep food warm during serving. For this make-ahead recipe straight from the Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen, you can make a batch of twice-baked mashed potatoes casserole-style a day in advance, and just pop them in the roaster oven before mealtime.

Sous Vide Mashed Potatoes
For an easy and hands-off way to make mashed potatoes &ndash which might be just the Hail Mary you needed during the 11th hour of Thanksgiving Day prep &ndash consider cooking them sous vide. The technique requires either an immersion circulator or the Hamilton Beach® Professional Sous Vide and 6QT Slow Cooker. Our recipe for Sous Vide Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes is a multitasker's dream because you can tend to other things while the flavors of the garlic and herb infuse the potato. The recipe calls for cooking the potatoes for three hours, but if you find yourself with your hands full when the timer goes off, they can stay in the temperature-controlled water bath without overcooking until you&rsquore ready to mash &rsquoem up.

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
Free up a burner for other dishes and turn to the slow cooker to make your mashed potatoes. Not only can you make a fairly large serving size in a standard sized slow cooker (our recipe for Slow Cooker Easy Mashed Potatoes serves 20), but you can switch it to the Warm setting when it&rsquos ready and serve straight from the slow cooker. For a sweet spin on the classic mashed potatoes recipe, try out our Slow Cooker Cranberry Sweet Potatoes.

Stand Mixer Mashed Potatoes
Using a stand mixer for mashed potatoes is a tried and true method because it saves a lot of arm pain from having to manually mash them. This appliance is so straightforward, it&rsquos compatible with almost any mashed potato recipe. You do need to be careful not to overprocess the potatoes, so mix with caution &ndash the more you handle them, the more likely they are to develop a glue-like or tacky consistency. For best results, like for this Zesty Mashed Potatoes recipe, use the flat beater attachment instead of your whisk attachment.

Hand Mixer Mashed Potatoes
What&rsquos the advantage to using a hand mixer over a stand mixer? One less big mixing bowl to cram into your already over-loaded dishwasher. In just one pot, you can boil your potatoes on the stovetop, drain them, add your ingredients and mix it all together with your hand mixer &ndash just avoid using a non-stick pot, since the beaters can damage the coating. Try a twist on classic mashed potatoes this year by making Root Vegetable Mashed potatoes or stick with a classic mashed potatoes recipe that can be assembled all in one dish, which is something you&rsquoll be thankful for come clean-up time.

Thanksgiving Countdown Calendar: How to Plan a Stress-free Meal

Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time or are a seasoned entertainer, a Thanksgiving checklist can help ensure you don&rsquot forget a single detail this year. With everything from how to time the turkey just right to when the ideal time to make your pie dough is (it&rsquos earlier than you think!), our experts in the test kitchen have created the ultimate Thanksgiving dinner checklist to help you plan.

You can read through our tips with links to recipes below, or click here for a helpful printable Thanksgiving checklist.

3 Weeks in Advance
With Halloween behind you, now is the time to finalize your Thanksgiving plan. First, Make sure you have your guest list in order and send your invitations if you haven&rsquot already. Next, start planning your menu, including the specific recipes you plan on making. Consider the dietary restrictions of your guests so that there is a little something for everyone. Depending on the number of guests and where they are traveling from, you may also want to make it a potluck Thanksgiving. If so, make sure you assign the dishes or ask for volunteers.

Since you now have your guest list, figure out what size bird you&rsquoll need to purchase. If you are planning on roasting a fresh turkey, this also the time you should place your order. This is also a great time to take a peep inside your freezer and see what you should eat, give away or throw away. You&rsquoll want it as empty as possible for your frozen baked goods or turkey in the next few weeks.

Test Kitchen Tips: When picking your recipes, make sure they all don&rsquot have to happen in the last hour before the meal. Otherwise, you&rsquoll have countertop and oven space competition. Try thinking outside the box &mdash could you make one of your side dishes in the slow cooker? What about cooking your turkey (or another dish!) in a roaster oven to free up your oven for pies? Thinking ahead can cut down on turkey day stress.

2 Weeks in Advance
Thanksgiving is still two weeks away &mdash no need to panic. This is a good time to run an inventory of your supplies. Are you using paper plates and plastic glasses or will you be using your best china? Either way, making sure you have enough serving sets to feed all of your guests is important. Take inventory on the number of storage containers you have as well you may want to send leftover home with your guests.

It&rsquos time to make your shopping list and to stock up on pantry staples like flour, butter and sugar. You can also purchase any of your non-perishables now.

If you are planning on using your roaster oven, griddle, or electric knife, make sure to test them and see if they are still in working order. Check the batteries on your instant-read thermometer or purchase one if you don&rsquot have one yet.

You can also start making your freezable baked goods now. Pie crust, rolls and bread can all be made in advance and stored in the freezer. Take them out right before you start cooking to make sure they are ready for the meal.

1 Week in Advance
Thanksgiving is right around the corner so grab your shopping list and get going! If you are using a frozen turkey, now is the time to make that purchase. Make sure you purchase the right size bird for your guest list. If you have guests staying overnight, don&rsquot forget about breakfast foods for Friday morning!

3 to 4 Days Ahead
Depending on the size of your turkey, this is probably a good time to take it out of the freezer and pop it in the fridge to thaw. A good rule to follow is to give every 5 lbs of turkey a 24 hour period to thaw. Make sure to use safe food habits when doing this. If you are using a fresh turkey, go ahead and pick it up from the store. You can also prepare your cranberry dish or relish.

1 to 2 Days Ahead
It&rsquos time to start brining the bird (try a dry brine for an extra-tasty turkey). Take out your tablecloth and napkins and run a quick iron over them. Take out all your platters and serving dishes and polish the silver until it shines. Make a timetable chart for your dishes so you know what time everything needs to move in and out of the oven or appliance you are using to make it. If you&rsquove frozen your pie crust, move it from the freezer to the refrigerator now.

1 Day Ahead
It&rsquos pie time! Go ahead and get baking. This is also a great time to do all your chopping &mdash celery, onions and vegetables can all be done in advance. You can also saute your vegetables for the stuffing. If you are having a salad with Thanksgiving dinner, you can go ahead and prepare it, just be sure not to dress it until right before the meal. If you are having any reheatable dishes, like mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, you can go ahead and make them now.

Since your linens are ready, you can set the table now too in anticipation of the arrival of your guests. If you are serving guests buffet style, put out the dishes they&rsquoll be served in and label them so that you don&rsquot accidentally use them during preparations tomorrow. Chill your wine and drinks and set up a coffee and drink station so that people can serve themselves when they arrive.

Thanksgiving Day
It&rsquos go time! Execute your timetable for cooking. Stuff your turkey or place the stuffing in an ovenproof bowl to reheat later. You can also transfer it to your slow cooker crock to keep it warm while the turkey rests and you bake your bread and rolls. Planning ahead will have really paid off. Relax, have a glass of wine and enjoy time with your family and friends.

Black Friday
Enjoy the leftovers from your delicious Thanksgiving meal. This is also a good time to evaluate your cooking experience. Could any part of the experience have been better? Think of appliances that might have made the day go more smoothly.

Breathe New Life into Your Meals!

Since we launched Simple Meals last October, we’ve loved hearing your feedback about how it’s been helping your families breathe easier.

Allison “I can’t thank you enough for your meal plans! They have literally breathed new life into our meal time!”

Anne “What a brilliant idea. We are so impressed!”

Kim “We love getting your Simple Meals plan every week!”

Knowing that Simple Meals truly is helping people win back family time, spend less time planning and cooking, all while still putting great real food meals on the table is so very encouraging to us!

Family time comes first, and I’m excited to make it even easier for all of us to make this a reality!

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