Inspired by my cooking confidence that I gained while making the salmon dish, I decided to try something else new.
I looked up a lot of ideas on Pinterest and various websites to find some basic things that should be easy enough for me to do. I decided on one basic protein (chicken breasts) and a couple of vegetables. I hadn’t completely decided on the vegetables prior to going to Trader Joes because I wanted to see what I would find and if anything inspired me.
I ended up buying the chicken breasts as well as broccoli, green beans, red onions, red peppers, and sweet potatoes. I also got some baby carrots, sugar snap peas, and hummus to have as snacks.
It was one of my more expensive shopping trips, but I was buying food for the week. Plus I usually don’t buy meat (at least not meat I have to prepare) so that was a bit more expensive. But considering that this should be my only shopping trip for the week and that I’m not eating take out or delivery this week, it actually is less than I would usually spend.
Before I knew it, my kitchen was looking like this.
I cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise and put a little olive oil and some Trader Joes seasoning on them. Then they baked until the insides weren’t pink anymore (about 35 minutes). The sweet potatoes went in the same time that the chicken went in, but they ended up taking a little over 2 hours to bake (starting at 400 and then ending at 450). The broccoli, onions, and green beans went in when the chicken was done. I did learn my lesson with the green beans that I overcrowded them and they steamed more than they baked, but they were still yummy. And the onions were perfectly caramelized!
Overall, I think my first try at bulk cooking went really well. My timing of things was a bit off, but that’s to be expected when you aren’t a big cooker.
All the food went into storage containers to cool before going into my fridge.
With everything in the fridge, it looked more crowded than it usually is, but since it’s just me at my house, that’s fine.
I made my first reheated bulk dinner the next day after a workout. I put everything on a plate and microwaved it (I’ve since learned that I need to smash up the sweet potato otherwise it doesn’t heat all the way through). My first plate looked beautiful and was very yummy.
I’m not sure if I’m going to bulk cook every week. I’m going to see how this entire week plays out. In a typically week, I can cook on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays so I’m toying with the idea of doing some bulk cooking but then cooking a recipe on those days and having leftovers on the day between cooking days.
Either way, this is a major step for me. I don’t know why I’ve been holding back on cooking for so long. While it’s a bit tough considering how small my kitchen is, it’s not impossible. And now I’m eating much healthier (and much more food since everything is lower in calories than frozen dinners). Hopefully I can make this trend continue just like my workouts have been.