In Good Housekeeping Easy Meal Prep (Hearst Home, Mar.), Good Housekeeping editor-in-chief Francisco and chief food director Merker give a master class in meal prep.
What inspired you to write this book?
Francisco: Our audience. We had seen meal prep trends growing, and this book aligns with Good House- keeping’s strengths in every way. The pandemic sped up interest in this streamlined way of cooking. The chorus was, “If I’m going to have to make every meal at home, help me make that easier.”
Merker: Everyone has that moment between two and four o’clock when they start wondering what they’re going to make for dinner. Pandemic or not, that moment is happening, and it’s real for every person and family. The pandemic highlighted how we’re all now also responsible for lunch and breakfast. This book brings efficiency. We thought the proven reliability of Good Housekeeping’s test kitchen could help make meal planning more accessible to home cooks.
Tell us about the Good Housekeeping test kitchen and its history.
Merker: “Triple tested” is a tagline that’s existed for over 100 years, because every recipe is tested at least three times. “Tested for success” is another we like, because there are also recipes that have been tested seven or eight times. We test until it’s perfect. When it leaves our kitchen, you will be successful in making it in your kitchen.
Francisco: They test using gas and electric stoves, but they also test down to the smallest detail like using different brands of cheese, like, what if this cheese melts faster than this one? They really are so rigorous. That commitment to delivering something that’s going to work for you at home is so important to us. The center of the home is your kitchen. That remains true no matter who you are.
You’re both working parents. What does meal prep mean to you?
Francisco: My husband does most of the cooking and prepping. But this year he’s been working internationally at times, so I’ve found a group of recipes that I’m really comfortable with, got confident with those, and rotate them.
Merker: I have to get dinner on the table in 20 minutes from the moment I step in the kitchen, because my kids are four and six, so I can’t be making hour-long meals. While I’m making mini meatballs, I’m cooking a 20-minute pot of rice that will last the entire week. If I’m making roast chicken and peppers, I’m tripling the pepper measurements and, voila, tomorrow night we’re having pasta with pepper-cream sauce. Your family will have no idea you ate peppers the night before, I promise you.