Cook Once, Eat for a Week

By Cynthia Sass, M.P.H., R.D. |

No time? Batch cooking to the rescue! Try these recipes.

“I don’t have time.” It’s one of the most common excuses I hear for not eating more healthfully.

I get it. We're all juggling a number of responsibilities. Getting to the supermarket, prepping, and cooking requires time you may not have.

Luckily, there are lots of ways to speed up meal prep. A favorite: Stock the freezer with healthy frozen foods like frozen vegetables, precooked shrimp, and precooked quinoa or brown rice. Steam quickly, toss with a little jarred pesto, and you have a healthy grain bowl to go.

Plus, keep ready-to-eat greens and canned chickpeas handy, and you'll always be able to make a foundation for a healthy meal. Top it with canned salmon or leftover chicken, plus a little dressing of your choice, and you're set.

Another great solution is to carve out an hour or two, one day a week, to batch cook meals you can reheat and eat all week long. That's the idea with these three batch recipes, which make six servings each.

Batch Recipe #1: Spicy Pinto Bean and Brown Rice Stew

Spicy Pinto Bean and Brown Rice Stew

Serves: 6

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 2 cups organic low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 cup chopped minced green bell pepper
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice

What to do: In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion in half of the broth until translucent. Add zucchini, kale, bell pepper, and remaining broth. Sauté for another four to six minutes.

Add tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt. Quickly bring to a brief boil, and then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 40 minutes.

Stir in beans and rice to heat through. Serve warm, or store for later use.

Batch Recipe #2: Savory Spinach, Mushroom, and Sweet Potato Frittata

batch cooking Savory Spinach, Mushroom, and Sweet Potato Frittata

Serves: 6

You’ll need:

  • ¼ cup minced yellow onion
  • 6 white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped spinach
  • 6 whole eggs
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds

What to do: In a large skillet over low-medium heat, sauté onion and mushrooms in olive oil until onion is translucent. Add spinach, stirring until slightly wilted. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, scramble the eggs with a fork. Whisk in almond milk, Dijon, garlic, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and sea salt.

Place sweet potato slices on the bottom of an 8- x 12-inch baking dish coated lightly with cooking spray. Cover with veggie mixture, and then pour over egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate while oven is heating to 350˚F.

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Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Serve hot, or chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour to serve cold.

Batch Recipe #3: Black Bean and Veggie Soup

Black Bean and Veggie Soup

Serves: 6

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup dry black beans
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 whole carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

What to do: Place all ingredients in a slow cooker, and cover. Cook on low for six hours. Remove bay leaf before serving or storing for later use.

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Recipes: Cynthia Sass, M.P.H., R.D. Photos: George Karabotsos.

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