Even perfectly healthy people can find themselves short on energy at the end of the day. Anyone with chronic and/or mental illnesses knows that fatigue is a real problem. You still need to eat though. I usually find myself short on energy for cooking, so I’ve collected some helpful shortcuts over time. I’d like to share a few with you.
1) Buy frozen, precut veggies, like onions and bell peppers. This really reduces prep work. Bonus, they are easy to keep on hand and won’t go bad if you don’t use them right away.
2) Utilize canned foods. Veggies are obvious, but don’t forget about canned beans and meats. Canned beans are quick. They don’t have to cook, they just need heated up. You can buy canned chicken just like you can get tuna. It works beautifully in casseroles, and is much quicker than cooking up some chicken breasts and cutting them up.
3) A slow cooker is extremely helpful. It allows you to throw some ingredients in in the morning and not worry about it until suppertime. I especially like to use it on days that I know I’m going to have no desire to cook once evening comes around. A little energy earlier in the day is easier to find rather than later.
Bonus tip: Use slow cooker liners (found near the foil and cling wrap). These make clean up so much easier, so they are well worth buying.
4) Another appliance I’ve found to be a great investment is my rice cooker. If you use it to cook your rice before adding it to the recipe, it will dramatically cut down the cook time. I just start it up, go do something else while the rice cooks, and then throw everything together in the oven for a quick meal.
You can use a rice cooker for more than just rice. There are lots of recipes for soups, stews, oatmeal, pancakes, and more. I have quite a few pinned on my Pinterest board here.
Cooking shortcuts are just the start of course, simple recipes help also. The following are five of my family’s favorites.
Easy Baked Ravioli – Frozen ravioli and jarred sauce make these recipe super simple. (Update: link is broken now, but you simply layer frozen ravioli, mozzarella, and spaghetti sauce and then put it in a 350 degree oven for about 30 mins.)
Swiss Cheese Chicken – You can make this as suggested, or use canned chicken instead and cut the cooking time way back.