With the cost of food constantly rising we are always looking to ways where we can save money without compromising the quality of meals. Limited time is a common reason for dodging the cooking and opting for the take away! Similarly, for those preparing meals for one, logistically and financially it can seem easier to have a takeout meal. Batch cooking is a simple way to overcome these barriers; It allows you to prepare meals which you won’t waste, save time, use up all those store cupboard ingredients you have had for years and stop you reaching for the take away menu! When you know you have a busy week and time is limited it can be an ideal way to ensure you keep on track nutritionally.
Batch cooking can be done in a number of ways – you may have a free day and devote a few hours to do one big cook off and make enough meals for a couple of weeks, or each evening you may make two portions so you build up meals gradually.
Before you begin a tip is to check you have enough fridge/freezer space and containers to store all your meals. When it comes to preparation, choose meals that are easy to cook in batch – ten roast dinners won’t be easy to make all at once! One pot dishes tend to be particularly good and keep well including soups, broths, stews and casseroles.
Make life easy, choose your favourite meals which are normally time consuming to make i.e. meat sauces such as chilli con carne or bolognaise. Just make the sauce so you can then easily add in fresh pasta or rice for a fresh meal without the hassle.
When making one pot dishes a slow cooker can be a great way to eat well whilst saving on the cost. Throw in all the ingredients and leave to cook all day. Slow cooking is perfect if you work long hours and need a meal that’s ready quickly when you get in.
Don’t limit yourself to main meals – bread and pasta dough also keep well when made in batch and frozen.
If you are following recipes remember to double/quadruple the ingredients depending on the number of portions you wish to make. Once cooked label meals clearly with a date so you know exactly when you made them!! Then eat within 2-3 months of freezing.
Note that some foods do not keep well when frozen including milk based dishes and sauces so avoid these when making in batch.