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ALORTA SparkPoints: (7,310)
Fitness Minutes: (3,449)
Posts: 310
1/19/13 9:19 P

a couple jewels I learned in college;
~ Rice is your best friend! Get a rice cooker (you can find cheap ones almost anywhere, but if you pick up the method, getting a legit one will help you), and remember to let it sit a bit after it turns off (that took me a bit to realize). Soon as the rice is done, measure out 1cup portions while it's still hot and either stick it in zip lock bags or we cheap college kids usually used saran wrap. Seal it ASAP and shape it into a flat shape to maximize surface area. Freeze it as soon as it cools enough to be tossed in your freezer. The, when you want rice, just nuke it in the microwave for 1min (depending on your microwave) and unwrap it. The locked-in steam makes it taste like freshly made sticky rice!
~ Costco frozen lasagna. If after you buy it you leave it out for just a smidge, so that its mostly frozen but you can cut it with (a lot) some effort, you can shape it into nice individual portions. Wrap each in a generous amount of tin foil, then freeze. You can put each into a toaster oven or reg oven set at what the box told you (though not for as long) and boom, easy dinner without leaving most of it to be pushed into the fridge.
~ Marinated meat. You can cut chicken or beef into small strips (stir fry style strips), then marinate in lemon garlic or whatever you usually marinate it in (1h for chicken, 4-6 for beef/pork) in the fridge. separate the meat into individual portions and stick them into ziplock bags, then pour a bit of the marinade into each. Freeze. Pull out a baggie when you want either meat and just fry it real quick. That way you can have chicken today, beef tomorrow, etc, without having to worry about buying the meat or marinating it, etc. ^_^
I used to make myself lunch by frying a packet of meat in the morning along with some costco frozen veggies while the rice got nuked, then stuck all of the above in a lunch box once it cooled a bit. In a second skillet I'd scramble a couple eggs for my breakfast and I'd be done making lunch and eating breakfast without adding almost any extra time to my routine. When I knew I didn't have time to eat in the morning I'd do the above at night and pre-make the lunch, though it tasted far better without being stuck in the fridge.

SPKRAUSE Posts: 543
1/19/13 12:48 P

I'd say that in terms of batch cooking and the like, keeping things *simple* and *easy* are two goals to try. Simple and easy aren't the same ... lots of simple things aren't easy, and the other way around.

Don't necessarily batch cook complex things. Think, instead, of simple items you can mix and match throughout the week ... like big batches of (a) beans and (b) rice, and then have something (frozen veggies, chunks of grilled chicken) you can add to provide an accent and add variety so it's not always just 'beans and rice.' Make use of a slow cooker so that you're not actually spending time 'cooking'. Put little 30g (about 1 'official' serving) portions of nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts ... or similar treats like dried edamame) in snack-size ziplock bags for work. Do the same with some fresh veggies (e.g. carrots) or fruit that will last the week and can be done in single portions (apples? bananas?) ... whatever you like to eat. If you have a microwave at work you can just take a potato or sweet potato with you if you like them and nuke them for a while (depending on microwave strength, size of tuber) for a 'baked' (sweet) potato.

We've done something similar from time to time, and the SO has a similarly evil schedule that leaves her exhausted and too tired to think about food preparation. Anyway, take the 'cooking' out of 'batch cooking', I'd say. You get the benefits of not just buying pre-packaged food (with all its sodium and, over time, high per-serving cost ... and waste), but without much added effort.

Anyway, just a few thoughts based on our experience.

FTSOLK Posts: 1,222
1/19/13 11:33 A

I'm employed at a daycare. My scheduled hours are from 9:30 to 6:30 four days a week, and 7:30 to 4:30 once a week (but it will switch to 9:30 to 6:30 five days by March). However, I come into work half an hour early on most days to try to get some work done, and I usually clock in early.

I also don't get a lunch break a couple times a week due to staffing issues, and because I'm a closer (I'm there until the center closes) on most days, if there's a late parent, I'm there until that child gets picked up. I also watch the director's 13 month old son while she finishes closing the center up for the night, so on most nights, I don't leave until 6:45-7pm. After an 8.5-9.5 hour work day (on the clock, plus 15-30 minutes off the clock), I'm pooped- and it was even worse this past Tuesday when I worked 11 straight hours without a break.

I also have youth group every Wednesday night, which means I'm not getting home until anywhere from 9 to 11pm depending on whether we go out to eat afterwards or not. In addition to that, I am only 21. I would like to have somewhat of a LIFE outside of two-year-olds. However, I've managed to cut back on eating out from nearly every night to 1 to 3 times a week on average- possibly up to 4 times.

So, I've heard about batch cooking, but I'm not quite sure I'm up to that task. On the weekends, I'm barely motivated to get out of bed until 3pm, and since my job is so understaffed, the weekends are my time to recover when I'm sick. I don't get to take time off of work. However, while I'm not sure I'm up for completely planing every detail of my diet or pre-cooking everything, some weekly planning ideas and maybe some SMALLER batch cooking ideas would be nice (batch cook a couple recipes, not most meals for the week, etc)

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