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Monday, April 11, 2011

Convenient and reheated

Some of my friends who are professional athletes posed a challenge to me: like many of us, they have very busy days, training and practicing. The problem is the need to make large batches of food that can be reheated or eaten over the course of several days, bonus points if prep time can be minimized. Of course, the menu needs to be compatible with the dietary requirements of a professional athlete - high in protein and nutrition, mindful of fat and sugar.

The concept here is strategy, not recipes. Dishes that can be prepared early, parceled out, and reheated does take a bit of planning to do. But can be a real time saver during the week, and if we stagger them correctly, won't appear boring as the cycles go through. Perhaps one of the most important tools to this arsenal is the slow cooker, and I'll explore more dishes using the slow cooker in future postings. For now, I'd like to rehash an earlier concept - that you can do make ahead whole grains in jam jars in a slow cooker. Just add your whole grains (I like groat oats, or barley...or any number of these grains) into individual clean jars, add the liquid you want to cook them in (broth, water, milk), put into the slow cooker, and fill the outside with water. Slow cook overnight, and in the morning, you'll have individually packaged precooked breakfasts for a few days. The approach can be used for sweet or savory items (in the above, I mixed in some strawberry compote into whole cooked oat groats).

Get creative here. Quinoa cooks very nicely in this approach, and can be eaten with a hearty salad for nutritious meal. Pearled barley with bits of meat make for hearty lunch. I'll experiment with couscous, and report back in the results.

I'll be continuing to write about this topic in future blog posts. Watch for the tag "better reheated".

PS: To my Canadian readers - Happy National Poutine Day. Not exactly sure that is reheatable or healthy for athletes, though.

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