Batch Cooking... the Ultimate Time Saver!
"Mom/dad, what's for dinner?"
The ultimate killer of nice afternoons, when you don't know the answer... and then you are trying to scrounge something up... maybe re-create left overs... or do the dreaded: order take out!
But mealtimes and meal prep doesn't have to be awful... it just requires some meal planning, scheduling, and batch cooking!
What do I mean when I say "Batch Cooking"... good question! Really, it could mean one of two things: 1) it could mean cooking double or triple portions of one single meal so that you can freeze the rest for a meal in a few days or next week. Or, 2) it could mean that you cook several meals in large portions so that you can freeze an number of different meals!
What all this means is that next week when your little one asks "what's for dinner?" you can say: soup or chilli or meat loaf or casserole or whatever you batch cooked!
And if you batch cook regularly, you will always have food in the freezer!
Steps to Batch Cooking a Single Meal:
- Clean the Kitchen. I personally find it stressful to be in a dirty kitchen, especially when I want to work in it. So I would prepare to batch cook the night before by making sure that the kitchen is all nice and clean. And that the utensils you need are clean.
- Ensure that you have all the ingredients (in the proper quantities) the night before! This way you don't have to stop at a store on the way home!
- Double or Triple Batch Cook that meal you were planning!
- Save left overs for tomorrow's lunch and freeze the rest in meal-sized containers, mason jars, or ziplock bags!
Steps to Batch Cooking Several Meals at the Same Time:
- Clean the Kitchen. (see above).
- Make a list of meals you want to batch cook, and their ingredients. If you have a list of meals, then you will be much more focused when it comes to making them. Consider preparing similar foods at the same time, to save YOUR time (E.g. Pasta sauce, meat balls, meatloaf - all usually require ground meat/chicken/pork. And, you can use the same herbs and spices (like garlic and onion and parsley/cilantro) to add to these recipes.
- Now that you have a list of meals, make a grocery list and go Grocery Shopping. I find it tiring to grocery shop and then batch cook multiple meals on the same day. So I tend to pick a day to grocery shop, and a different day (usually the next day) to actually do the cooking.
- What I may do is prep the food the same day as grocery shopping (or do this the day before I batch cook). This includes washing and chopping vegetables, thawing anything frozen I'll be using, etc.
- Cook! Cook all the meals you planned!
- Freeze the foods in meal sized containers, mason jars (my favourite!) or ziplock bags!
Well, I hope that helps take away some of the chaos from meal times and meal prep!
As always, if you have any questions, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Wishing you the best of health,