My biggest issue in planning and executing a meal plan is timing. I often have half the meal ready with an hour to go on the roast. In another common scenario, everyone has been eating chips and dip for two hours before the new recipe is ready to come out of the oven.
My husband always quips that if I’m making something new, I should just add an hour onto the expected prep time, as I am very methodical and no recipe adds in “reading time” into their time calculations.
The only life saver (besides adding that hour as my husband sweetly reminds me) is called mise en place. Mise en place is french for literally “putting into place.” Just have your ingredients and tools ready before you begin step 1 of a recipe.
It can be useful anytime, but I find it particularly helpful when trying out a new dish, to have all the onion minced, the eggs separated, and the flour sifted before I put the first pan on the stove. You’re far less likely to turn into a crying, food-covered mess. Trust me. Been there, done that.
Here are a couple of photos if when I remembered this tip before diving into a risotto recipe: