For me, juggling coursework, research, a teaching assistantship, and any hobbies I might have is quite a challenge. The one thing that always seems to slip through the cracks is cooking.
I don’t enjoy it*.
Cooking for one person is a lot of effort–all the prep work, actual cooking, cleaning up–to go through when I could just run to Chipotle and have someone put together a delicious burrito bowl of my favorite things! The problem is that eating dinner out every night gets really expensive really quickly. As some of the other emissaries have written about, money management in graduate school is incredibly important.
My solution? A crock pot. It’s one big pot, so less dishes to worry about washing, and all you have to do is put whatever ingredients your recipe calls for into the pot, turn it on, and come back 6-8 hours later to a delicious meal. Sometimes it requires making some rice or other side dishes, but that’s something that is relatively painless (thank you, minute rice in a bag!). The best part about crock pot meals is that you will inevitably have leftovers. Stock up on tupperware, and portion the leftovers into your desired serving size. Put them in the freezer and you’ve got a frozen meal that tastes better (and is likely healthier) than anything you’ll find in “your grocer’s freezer.”
There are lots of crock pot recipe resources online, which are helpful if for nothing else than getting my creative juices flowing. One that is particularly awesome is this Pinterest board that includes crock pot recipes for an entire month. 30 recipes! If each recipe yields 4 servings (a conservative estimate), then you have 120 servings of food. Amazing! If you’re concerned about getting bored with crock pot food, you can get jazzy and have theme nights (e.g., meatless Mondays, taco Tuesdays) or team up with a friend and split the meals you each make.
Wishing you happy crock-potting!
*Baking is a completely different story