Requiring few ingredients, little gear, & minimal active work, Cooking Continuously is one of our absolute favorite meal prep hacks. The term refers to preparing a series of ingredients, one after the next, while using the same pot of seasoned water. The method can produce a tremendous amount of food in one big push, making it quite high leverage.
Whether a staple of weekend meal prep, or snuck into a weeknight cooking session, the cooking continuously technique can be used (and personalized) again and again. Go ahead and get creative. As you experiment with different items, you may find a routine that sticks!
Items for boiling (see Reference Guide👇)
Food storage containers
Colander, slotted spoon, or spider
Set water to boil in a stockpot.
Clean & prep ingredients (as necessary).
Season to taste (seawater flavor recommended).
Prepare ice bath in a large bowl.
Cook & blanch vegetables one after the next.
Store in airtight containers or zip bags.
📝 Notes, Tips, Tricks
If two items have similar cooking times, you can boil them together.
Work from least starchy (e.g., vegetables) to most starchy (e.g., pasta, potatoes).
End with the eggs to prevent shell residue from infusing your veggies.
Maintain clean cooking water by washing items first. Scrub veggies with a brush or damp cloth if necessary.
Add more hot water as needed. Remember to taste & season.
Consider saving ~30-60 min for this activity after returning home from the grocery store or farmer’s market. By knocking it out in one big push, you’ll save hours of prep & cleaning time later in the week.
Blanched veggies can be spruced up later with a quick sauté or roast. Remove when slightly underdone if you plan to cook the item further.
Popular toppings for boiled vegetables: butter, olive oil, herbs, cheese, lemon zest, garlic, nuts, salad dressing.
For next-level veggie boiling, try seasoning the water with herbs (e.g., parsley, thyme, dill) or other tasty flavorings (e.g., garlic, ginger, lemon).
🛍 Purchasing Recommendations:
📓 Cooking Continuously Reference Guide:
Short (3-10 min): Broccoli, Carrots, Corn, Green Beans, Peas, Asparagus
Medium (10-15 min): Eggs, Pasta, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Squash
Long (15+ min): Artichokes, Beets, Potatoes, Sweet Potato
🎓 Further Studies:
How to Blanch & Shock [Life School]
Pasta Al Dente [Life School]
Boiled & Mashed Sweet Potato [Life School]
Perfect, Peelable, Medium-Boiled Eggs [Life School]
An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy & Grace [Tamara Adler]