The beauty of bulk
Bulk cooking (also known as batch processing or food prep) is the secret for almost all people I know who eat well and have mostly homemade food. When I hear “I’m too busy to cook” – it’s usually the truth. Most people don’t have time to shop, prep, and cook all their meals fresh daily with the hour+ that entails. But even though food doesn’t have to be your first priority every day, by making it a top priority on one day a week, you can stock and prepare enough food to get you through most meals.
For example, by cooking a batch of oatmeal on the weekend, and stocking up on berries and nuts, you can have breakfast ready every day in under 5 minutes. Spending some time to buy salad supplies and pre-packing containers (dressing on the side, of course – no soggy salads here!) could be lunch. My friend and fellow dietitian Amaris is the prep-ahead lunch salad queen, and makes a new round every week:
But when you want something savory, warm, and hearty, there’s no second to the slow cooker. This set-it-and-forget-it miracle of modern life is one of the most important (and yet often least expensive) appliances you can have in your kitchen, and it makes both bulk prep and weekday prep a breeze. Load it up, turn it on and in 5-7 hours you can fully cook a tender roast, a flavor-rich stew, or even a baked pasta dish.
To chili and beyond
Most people think of chili or other stews when they think about what they could make in a crock pot. But it can do so much more! Bone broth (or veggie broth) – sure! Lasagna? Done! Fajitas sans frying pan – so easy! Fresh bread, crunchy granola, and even snack mix? Absolutely. Your slow cooker should be in rotation to make something at least once a week.
Need more inspiration?
If you’re still not convinced that you need to get some slow cooking action into your routine, here are the some inspirational roundups to get your mouth watering and your menu plan rolling: