If you are looking to cook healthier, but you also have to deal with your extra-busy schedule, you really need to take a serious look at buying and cooking in bulk. While you do need to find some time during at least one day of the week, this helps you prepare meals for the rest of the week.
While I don’t go outside of my home to work, I do homeschool four young children at home and I am building a business online. I need to limit the time I spend in the kitchen if I ever want extravagant luxuries like a shower, phone call with a friend, or time to watch a movie. Think I’m exaggerating? Feeding a large family can take all day if you don’t have some time-saving hacks.
Here are just a few ideas of ingredients to cook in bulk and save for meals throughout the week.
3 Ingredients to Buy and Cook in Bulk
Chicken or Chicken Breast
This is by far one of the best ingredients you can buy in bulk and cook to prepare for future meals. In meal planning, chicken can be used for many different meals. You can make chicken sandwiches, soup or stew, chili, and salads.
Generally, unless I get a great sale on breasts, I buy whole chickens and cook them up. This gives me not only a lot more meat, but then I can toss the bones and skin into my slow cooker to make bone broth. However, if time is short and the price is right on boneless breasts, they are certainly the quicker option.
The cooked chicken can be added to casseroles, enchiladas, casseroles, or served as a main dish. It can even be used for snacks or a high-protein breakfast. In order to save money, buy your chicken breast in bulk and cook it all in the same manner, such as baking all of the breasts, boiling them, or putting them all in the slow cooker.
One of the food items that tends to take a lot of time is tomato sauce. You can prepare a lot of different meals with your tomato sauce, cooking a wide range of different pastas and lasagnas.
Unfortunately, the jarred sauce isn’t always good for you, as convenient as it might be.
You can make some large batches of tomato sauce, put them in mason jars, and save them for the pasta meals during the week. Some ingredients needed for basic tomato sauce include tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, red wine (optionally), and seasonings of your choice.
If you have a pressure canner (I use a Presto pressure canner), you can make up larger batches of tomato sauce, even adding meat so that they are ready to go. Of course that means setting aside an afternoon or evening to get it done.
My 23 quart canner can process 18 pints of sauce at a time – that’s a time saver.
For your vegetable side dishes, main dishes, and snacks, you might want to roast vegetables in bulk. You can purchase the vegetables for less money at farmer’s markets and health food stores, or by getting a CSA.
Chop up all the veggies you want to use and add some olive oil and seasonings to them. Turn on your oven and roast them for several minutes. Some vegetables that are good for roasting include carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, bell peppers, onions, and zucchini.
With just these few ingredients, you can make a lot of different healthy meals during the week. By spending a few hours on a day off cooking these ingredients in bulk, you will be able to save plenty of time during the week on meals without having to get take-out every time you have a busy day.