CrockPots: A Love Story

I want to start eating healthy, but I can’t cook to save my life……helpppppp!

Okay okay, so one of the biggest struggles when we begin our new lifestyle is the fact that it’s a new lifestyle, meaning aspects of our normal routine are about to change. For some, that big change is going from eating out and ordering takeout to actually using the kitchen.

I know people that only have a kitchen because it came with the house. Cooking is not everyone’s thing, I totally get it. The good news is there are simple ways to prepare out meals and keep the actual cooking to a minimum.

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One of your golden tools if the kitchen is not your happy place is a crockpot. Crockpots are a hidden gem in the kitchen and have been underrated. You can simply toss in all your ingredients in the morning, set it on low, and come home to a meal. There are plenty of recipes online that are easy to follow and have minimal prep. One of the MOST important things to remember is to make sure there is enough liquid in the crockpot. The last thing you want to do is come home to a burnt pile of chicken because it had dried out hours ago and continued to cook. If you don’t have a crockpot there are plenty of places to get one relatively cheap, so it is not a big investment, yet the meals and convenience is a game changer.

One of my favorite crockpot meals is chicken and rice. Simply pour in some olive oil and garlic, a can of whole peeled tomatoes, some fresh tomatoes (if you have them), seasonings such as basil, oregano, onion powder, and two pieces of chicken breast (here’s another plus, the chicken can even be frozen so no need to worry about taking the time to thaw it out). Simply put the crockpot on the lowest heat setting and let everything cook for the work day. Once you get home all you’ll have to do it make some rice (there’s even rice you can make in the microwave, once again cutting down the “cooking”) and enjoy!

There are so many different crockpot recipes out there that you won’t have to worry about eating the same thing every day. Plus, the chances of having leftovers are very high, so you won’t have to worry about cooking anything for dinner the next night.

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If crockpots aren’t your thing, or you’re looking to expand your horizons a bit more you can always start small with recipes that are made in one pan. What this means is you will usually cook your meat in some seasonings first and then once the meat has cooked you remove it and use the same pan to prepare your sides. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it can be a simple chicken and vegetable dish. There are plenty of recipes to chose from that involve a bit more cooking without requiring you to be an experienced chef. One pan meals can also be things like lasagna and shepherd’s pie. These meals are simply cooked all together in the oven without having the meat removed or being prepared on the stovetop. Again, there are simple, healthy versions of these recipes that can be prepared in a timely manner and not require cooking expertise.

If you’re not much of a cook, or if it is something you dread, do yourself a favor and cook in bulk. If you have the time to prepare a meal double the recipe. This way you can avoid cooking and creating dirty pans every night and can still avoid takeout. By cooking more on Monday, you may be able to eliminate your cooking on Tuesday and even Wednesday, which for someone who dreads it that’s a big deal. You can also dress up your meals differently, so you don’t feel like you’re eating the same thing over and over. For example, if you made tacos on Monday try using the leftovers with nachos, quesadillas, or rice bowls. By dressing up your ingredients differently you can create a whole new meal without having to cook anything extra.

Baby steps. Cooking can be hard, especially if we’re not used to it and don’t know our way around the kitchen. This doesn’t mean we need to avoid it though, just start small and work our way up. There are plenty of ways to minimize our time in the kitchen and still create healthy, delicious meals.