One Prep, Two Meals

One of my busy summer tricks is to prep once and eat twice. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
In my corner of northwest Montana, July 4 is the unofficial start to tourist season. The University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research reported that more than 2.4 million people visited Montana last July—more than double the state’s population—and that half of those visitors entered Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, and a long list of other stops. Those numbers downshift quickly: By October, there are again more residents than visitors in the state.

Like these tourists, I try to cram as much as possible into this short summer season, both in the garden and on a sailboat. I’m harvesting and processing at least 3 times a week and sailing just as often. This requires some intensive scheduling and as many shortcuts in the kitchen as possible.

One of my key tricks is to prep once and eat twice. I’m not just talking leftovers, although I make plenty of oversize meals to reheat later in the week. Instead, my “one prep, two meals” plan creates two separate meals from similar base ingredients and freshens them with new flavors. It’s the easiest way I know of to avoid feeling like you’re eating the same meal day after day yet speed up later-meal processes.
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Pantry Dinners

I love to play in the kitchen, but I also love easy meals. Get pantry-based recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
As much as I love to play in the kitchen, even I have days when I want an easy meal. But most people who eat my easy meals can’t believe food this good can be so easy. The secret is in what I’m emphasizing all month: a well-stocked basic pantry.

Some of my favorite easy meals developed from flavors I fell in love with while exploring other countries and cultures. My freezer always holds a bag of frozen shrimp, often destined for the grill. But on rainy, freezing, or just plain lazy nights, a cast-iron skillet and oven broiler fill in beautifully. Add some oil, a couple of spices, and a lot of garlic, and the meal brings back memories of Spanish tapas bars and gambas al ajillo. If I cooked up a pot of beans earlier in the week, or have a can stashed on the shelf, I can sip wine, think fondly of Italy, and have a surprisingly filling vegetarian or vegan pasta on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Learn to make Spanish Shrimp in Garlic Oil and Smashed Bean Pasta

In the Pantry

The secret to a well-stocked pantry is to keep small quantities of a large number of basic ingredients. Discover pantry essentials at TwiceasTasty.com.At 500 square feet, my house has a smaller kitchen and less food-storage space than most. Yet at any given moment, I can conjure a dozen of meals for a dozen people—I just need to find places for them to sit.

The secret to a well-stocked pantry is to keep small quantities of a large number of basic ingredients. Instead of buying prepackaged meals, sauces, and mixes, you can store fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, proteins, and flavorings individually and mix them in endless variations. I dedicate at least half my pantry and most of my freezer and fridge space to such items. I fill the rest with homemade items that let me shortcut regularly used recipes, from stocks to pestos to condiments.

The advantages go beyond versatility. Stocking your pantry in this manner means your ingredients stay fresh, you can spend your money on quality items instead of large quantities that go stale before you finish them, and you’ll always open the fridge or cupboard and find something you want to eat.
Read more about improving your pantry