There are a myriad of reasons eating whole foods at home doesn’t happen. Reasons like “it’s too expensive,” “I don’t have enough time,” and “it doesn’t taste like it’s processed counterpart.” (quick side note, I’m reading Sugar Salt Fat and while I am stilling formulating my opinions, it’s quite surreal to look back at my childhood eating experience and realize how much of it was
controlled manipulated by big business).
At any rate, while I can’t give you an extra hour in your day, I can help show you a few tricks that I use to keep my cooking time down.
I rely heavily on cooking up large batches of many things and then using them throughout the week(s). While you can freeze meals, I find that by freezing key ingredients, I have more room to maneuver on days I need something quick. My freezer is never without beans, primarily black beans and chickpeas.
This is also a happy life cycle for extra canning jars, mainly the wide mouth pint jars from Ball. I’ve been trying to make a move away from plastic and these freezer safe jars contain roughly the same portion size a can of beans would. I simply rinse, soak, and cook the beans. Once done, I place some beans with their liquid in jars and then drain the remaining beans and pack away in jars (leaving 1/2″ of space at the top). Each jar of beans is then stored in the freezer until I’m ready to use it. The jars with liquid should be thawed but the jars without can easily used straight from the freezer.
(Updated: I store the beans with liquid for meals that require the beans to cook in liquid. I often use chickpea liquid to thin down hummus and there are a few black bean recipes that require to beans to cook in their liquid to keep them moist. I store beans without liquid for quick uses like throwing onto salads, into curries, or even munching on chickpeas for a snack. To quickly reheat the beans not in liquid, I run or soak them in hot water.)
(Updated no. 2: Freezing the beans in liquid also reduce the time freezer burn will set in. Fill the jars almost to the top (leaving a 1/2″) and pour the cooking liquid/water over to cover. If you plan on eating the beans in a few days, you can store them without liquid).