Planning meals and eating right can seem like an overwhelming project. Many of us struggle to find enough time to think ahead and plan out something healthy to cook on a regular basis. No one knows this better than NY Times columnist and bestselling author Mark Bittman. He literally wrote the books How To Cook Everything and How To Cook Everything Fast. He routinely gives advice on not just cooking anything, but also fitting it into a schedule that works for you.
Mark has single handedly had the largest impact on my time spent in the kitchen. He inspired me to dabble in the ol’ recipe planning game myself. Back in October I shared my Trello meal planning board, recipe collecting techniques, and grocery store strategy tips for using Trello. I wanted to continue to update our users on my wealth of cooking knowledge, but as it turns out, life got in the way of my grand plan to be the next recipe planning connoisseur. Sigh.
I realized that I needed some professional help, so I reached out to the one and only Mark Bittman himself. Mark loved the idea and shared some of his favorite recipes with me.
With that I am proud to present the Mark Bittman recipe board, featuring a slew of quick, healthy, and delicious recipes that are going to not only save you time in the kitchen, but leave your guests begging for more:
Even better, if you check out the calendar view, I have organized the recipes into a month of planned out meals. All that’s left for you to do is to organize your grocery lists and get cooking!
As an added bonus, Mark took some time to answer a few questions for me and share some kitchen tips:
What are some of your strategies for planning healthy meals at a reasonable budget?
Keep your pantry stocked with the ingredients you like and know how to cook. Dried grains and legumes, good canned tomatoes and beans, pasta, Parmesan cheese, your favorite herbs, spices, and condiments—these are the basis of so many different meals, and they give you the flexibility to add fresh (or, yes, frozen!) vegetables and proteins as you like. When you focus on just a few simple dishes, then you can build on them, with or without a recipe game plan. That's the best way to quickly become super comfortable in the kitchen.
Since we often all make excuses that we’re too busy to cook, what are some of your favorite time saving techniques that will get us to stop making excuses and start cooking more delicious dinners?
Keep it simple. One dish can count as a meal, so don't let the pressure to cook elaborate spreads keep you out of the kitchen. And when I’m cooking a pot of beans, whole grains, or soup, or roasting vegetables or chicken, I always double or triple the batch to ensure leftovers for future meals. To make the most of time spent in the kitchen, I always fold prep into cooking so multiple things are happening at once—it's the most efficient way to get dinner on the table without making any sacrifices. I even wrote a book about it—How to Cook Everything Fast!
How do you incorporate technology into your kitchen?
If technology can make shopping and cooking easier to plan and organize, then that’s a boon. I'm all for it. But I don't generally use many gadgets while I’m in the throes. A solid recipe should be all you need, and maybe some good company. Cooking and eating are some of the most primal things we do—that’s what makes it them such enjoyable and important human activities.
So there you have it folks - sage advice from the man that has conquered the kitchen and written 14 books to boot. Now get out there and get cooking!
Very special thanks to Mark Bittman and Rémy Robert for making this happen. Photo credit goes out to Fred Conrad for the Mark Bittman portrait.