Easy Food Prep Tips from Someone With No Free Time
While many Americans are running around committing countless hours to prepare a single meal of thanks, it seems as appropriate a time as any to share a few time-saving meal tips.
If you have spent any time with me, you know I eat a lot. Like all the time. And if I’m not eating, I’m generally pretty worried about when I will eat next. It’s sort of annoying and I even get aggravated with myself. And to make things extra complicated (as most things tend to be with me), I have all sorts of dietary restrictions.
Just like most people I know, whether employed in-the-home, or out-of-the-home, male, female, athlete, non-athlete, parent or child-free, the one thing I ALWAYS wish I had more of is time. I constantly listen to people telling me that they don’t have time to do all sorts of things. Truth is, we all have the same 24 hours in any given day, and have to find our own ways to make the most of those hours.
People often think I’m some sort of super hero. I’m not. I’m your basic over-scheduled, always tired, generally not-feeling-well, just trying to have fun, navigating my way through life kind of gal. I do have a secret though. I do share this secret a lot (so I guess it’s not an actual secret) and people either laugh at me, roll their eyes at me, ignore me or are fascinated by my secret. You ready? Here it is. Crockpot. Yup, that’s right. Crockpot. And I have 3.
I live, and would otherwise die, without my wonderful hunks of stainless steel and ceramic. True. I cook everything in it from overnight oatmeal to bone broth to the most amazing dinners. I do all my food prep, eat healthy and serve food that is so super yummy and nutrient-dense. People taste the food I lug around with me ( you can pretty much always find me toting around my 6-pack fitness bag full of said deliciousness) and make comments like, “Oh my God. This is so friggin’ good!” Um yeah. I don’t like to eat stuff that tastes bad. Duh.
You can find 7,890,877,678 or maybe more, recipes on the internet. And I know you have time to search the Internet. I have some favorites which I have shared below and pretty much anything you make from the Paleo Sow Cooker Cookbook is amazing.
If you have multiple crockpots, you can fire them all up on any weekend morning, let them cook all day, portion them up, freeze them or even take the lazy way out and store them in the fridge in the actual crockpot ceramic and then just put on warm up on the day you want. All meals done for a week! Or make a big pot of chicken and then you can shred it for salad, tacos, pasta, rice bowls or whatever.
I do have a few Jacqueline tips to crockpotting. Here they are:
1) Always, always, always use a crockpot liner. When you are done, you pull it out and throw it away. Give the crock a rinse and you are done. It’s like lazy and genius had a baby. Best $3 you will spend. 4 in a pack so I use multiple packs a week. You can buy tham at a grocery store, Target, Walmart or Amazon.
2) Use fresh herbs. It makes even the most basic meal taste gourmet. For instance: line crockpot with red potatoes, chopped onions, put the chicken in, add some broth, top with rosemary. So easy, tastes good and makes your house smell yum. You can get way fancier, but you can’t get much easier than that. My favorite herbs include…
- Also, fresh lemon juice
3) Apples are the magic goddess fruit of crockpot. Don’t believe me? Try this. Peel and core apples. Like a dozen. Chop them. Add like a cup or so of water. Sprinkle some cinnamon. Turn on. Yummmmm. Or get totally crazy and add chicken. Whaaaatttt??? Yup.
4) Use homemade broth if you can. So this takes a little extra time but is still made in the crockpot. I like grass fed bone broth (recipe here) but you may not be into that so you can make any type. Portion into ziplock and freeze. Soooooo next level.
5) Meat can be frozen. True story. If you only have frozen meat, go ahead and put it in there with some liquid and you are good to go. Think you have nothing? If you are super desperate and trying to fly out the door to work, school, kids events or whatever and can dig up any combo of these, you are good – frozen or unfrozen.
- Ground turkey and pasta sauce
- Ground beef and pasta sauce
- Chicken and salsa
- Chicken and enchilada sauce
- Chicken and apple
- Beef roast and broth
- Pork and apple cider
Now stop complaining you don’t have time to cook or food prep. You do. You can start with all those leftover turkey bones and make some stock. Happy holidays to you and yours……