Day 15: Make Dinner Tonight & Plan Next Week's Breakfasts, Lunches & Dinners

The Cooking Cure Spring 2014

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Day 15: Friday, March 21
Today's Assignment: Make dinner!
Weekend Assignment: Plan all of your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for next week
The Cooking Cure: See all assignments so far here

We're heading into the home stretch of our Cooking Cure, and this weekend is a big one! The goal this weekend is to plan, and to prep, for all your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners next week. That's 21 meals, including the weekend. Feeling pumped? Nervous? Don't be — we've been building up to this since the start of the Cure. You've totally got this.

But for today, how about a reward? Dinner! Make yourself a fabulous dinner tonight and give yourself a pat on the back for everything you've done to get here.

Emily's Ready-To-Cook Kitchen (Also pictured in top image, above)
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Today's Assignment (Time Estimate: 20 to 60 minutes)

  1. Make Your Dinner Tonight: With your dinner already decided and the ingredients shopped for, hopefully this should be a breeze! Put on your apron, pull out the recipe you picked yesterday, and go to it.
  2. Share Your Dinner With Us: We'd love to see what you made! Snap a picture of your delicious meal and share it with us over on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the hashtag #cookingcure.
  3. Take a Minute to Reflect: As you wash up from your meal, take a minute to assess. How did dinner go tonight? Were you happy with the dinner you picked? What would make it better? Or easier? Did anything surprise you?

Weekend Assignment (Time Estimate: 1 to 2 hours)

Now for the biggie. Your assignment over the weekend is to plan out all your meals for next week and do any prep work needed to make next week go smoothly. Making all your meals at home probably isn't something you'll do every single week, but for this one week, think of it as the grand finale to your Cooking Cure. You're doing this to prove to yourself that you can. You'll probably be surprised at what you can do.

If you're already a super star meal-planner and are doing this Cure for other reasons, take this weekend to focus on the new habits or routines that you're hoping to develop. Was your main goal to get out of a lunch or dinner rut? Or to eat healthier? Set aside some time this weekend for more recipe hunting, or plan a trip to the store to stock your pantry with new ingredients.

  1. Think Through Next Week's Breakfasts, Lunches, and Dinners: Pull up your calendar and think through this next week. How is this going to work? What days will you have plenty of time to cook? What days are too busy and will need a make-ahead meal or two? Pick a few new recipes, but also be sure to include a few standby meals that you can make in your sleep. And don't forget about leftovers — not every day needs to have a fresh-cooked meal.
  2. Write Down Your Plan: Write down what you plan to eat for each meal, then go back through and figure out your plan for making each meal. Decide what needs to be prepped over the weekend and what can be left to the last minute.
  3. Make a Shopping List: Make yourself a big ol' shopping list of everything you need that isn't already in your pantry. Also, think about any "big items" that might make your cooking life a little easier, like a bigger skillet or a better knife. Or, hey, what about taking your old knives to get sharpened over the weekend?
  4. Go Shopping: Don't forget your list!
  5. Prep on Sunday: Set aside some time on Sunday to do any of the prep work you need to do for this week's meals. Make that casserole you're planning to take for lunch, or roast the vegetables you'll be using to make quick weeknight meals. Even small things like chopping peppers for Monday's dinner can help get the week off on the right foot.

Share!

Share Your Weekend: Want some company on your shopping trip? Feeling proud of the quiche or the casserole you cooked on Sunday to eat through the week? Share what you're up to over on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with #cookingcure.

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(Image credits: The Kitchn; Gina Eykemans; Lucy Hewett)