6 Reasons to Batch CookBy Money Mage · · Healthy Living, Food, Habits, Frugality
The other-MM and I love our food.
We’ve been together for 19 years this October and every single one of those years we’ve loved. A little too much!
But food is also a social activity for us. Whether it be eating out, or cooking together. We talk. We help solve each other’s problems. We have fun.
So cooking for us is an important part of life.
Batch cooking means we can enjoy the benefit of cooking every day, even if we haven’t cooked!
So what is batch cooking?
Batch cooking is the preparation of a meal that you are not just going to eat today, but you are going to store and savour later in the week. Or maybe even weeks or months later!
You prepare in bulk, and you save for:
- Later in the week for a quick evening meal
- Lunches that you can take to work
- Long term storage in the freezer
Rather than cooking one, two or three portions of the meal, cook a huge pot. Or if you are cooking individual portions, prepare lots of individual portions! Enough for 10, 12 or more portions.
Batch up. For future use.
Why batch cook?
Batch cooking is awesome, there are loads of reasons to batch cook!
We batch cook because it provides us a great variety of awesome, healthy food throughout the week. And using a meal that we’ve previously batch cooked takes minutes. It saves us precious time in the evening.
And when we’re preparing batch meals, we’re cooking, talking and having fun!
But there are many benefits to batch cooking. All you need is a freezer, a fridge, some big pots and pans, and some tupperware or big freezer bags.
Place into tupperware and keep in the fridge for lunch or meals in the week. Or even better, portion up into freezer bags, and freeze flat for extra space.
Here’s some of the reasons we love to batch cook:
1. Batch cooking saves time
Let’s not lie. We’re all super busy. Either you have kids you need to pick up from school, get changed, get their homework done, take the dog a walk, look after your sick parents, clean up the dog vomit, vacuum for the first time in 3 months, get the car to the garage.
You name it.
Most of us are time poor. That’s why the food industry has boomed with pre-prepared food. Deliveroo and UberEats are making a killing. Because we’re all eating takeout mid week.
But there is another way.
Reheat an amazing meal you prepared 3 months ago. Take it out of the freezer, and reheat it in 10minutes.
Awesome, healthy food in less time than it takes to get an UberEats delivered.
2. Batch cooking saves money
Getting a takeout two or three times a week is a sure way to spend hundreds of pounds a month on food.
A family of 2 or 3 can easily live on less than £50/week of food expense. We do, and we eat well.
All you need to do is eat healthy, filling, nutritious meals. And with batch cooking, you can make healthy, filling, nutritious meals that are cheap to prepare.
By cooking in bulk, you can make use of bulk food offers. Buying food in bulk is cheaper than buying small items. Buy a big tin of canned tomatoes and the price per kilo is way cheaper than fresh.
If you are making a ragu, or chilli, there is nothing wrong with using a massive tin of canned toms. This applies to most ingredients.
The indirect savings of eating less unhealthy meals will build up and compound too. You’ll feel more energised by eating healthier food.
Batch cooking is an awesome way to increase your health and decrease your expenses.
3. Batch cooking lets you eat healthily all week
By batch cooking healthy meals once a week, you’re set up with healthy choices for the whole week.
If you think about your ingredients and meals throughout the whole week, you’ll have zero waste and a healthy choice for every meal of the week.
Batch cook all of your lunches once or twice a week. That way you’ll have a healthy option to take to work with you - avoiding unhealthy packaged sandwiches or worse.
By having a freezer full of healthy meal choices that take minutes to reheat, you’ll be reaching for those over UberEats or unhealthy pre-prepared or heavily processed meals.
Batch cooking is a sure way to increase your healthy meal choices. Keep it up, throw in a little exercise, and you’ll lose weight and save money at the same time.
4. To make cooking fun, and not a chore
We batch cook on the weekend, usually a Sunday. We’ll prepare a meal to eat on the Sunday evening but cook a huge pot. We tend to do one-pot meals, either on the stove or in the oven on slow cook.
That means we can prepare the meal together in the morning or early afternoon, and leave it cooking away for hours whilst we get on enjoying life.
But preparing the meal early on a Sunday is something we enjoy too. Wake up, get brunch, and cook. Talk. Sit in the garden for a break. It’s an awesome way to start a Sunday.
But the real chore reduction comes midweek. Get home tired from work, can’t be bothered. That’s when we use a meal we’ve previously batch cooked.
We can take it out of the freezer before going to work. Defrost in the fridge or on the worktop.
Then a tasty evening a meal is reheated in a pan in less than 10 minutes! Shove the rice cooker on and walk the dog, and by the time we’re back the rice is ready and we can reheat a curry we batch cooked 3 months ago!
Awesome food, in no time at all. Chores no more.
5. To further enjoy the food you have made
We live in Scotland. The cost of living in Dundee is really low. But the winters can be pretty bleak. Cold. Wet. Dark.
But you know what?
In the winter there is nothing better than a hearty lentil and bacon soup, crusty bread roll and butter.
Sat in the front room, with the fire on. A favourite film on the TV.
I enjoy food. But I enjoy food less after I’ve just prepared. I don’t know what it is about cooking, whilst cooking is fun, the very act of cooking makes the food itself less enjoyable for me.
There’s nothing better than an amazing meal. Prepared by someone else.
By batch cooking, we can reheat an awesome meal and still retain the enjoyment of the food itself!
Awesome meals through the week. Throughout the year!
6. To increase the variety of what you eat
You might be thinking that batch cooking sounds boooring. Eating the same meal, day after day.
Like some kind of leftover hell.
Well you’d be completely mistaken! Batch cooking allows you to store up multiple meals. We tend to batch cook on a Sunday maybe once every 6 or 8 weeks.
We’ll batch cook two meals at once. There’s usually 2-4 portions of 4 different meals in the freezer.
But those four different ‘meals’ can be quickly turned into 36 different meals, just by slightly changing how you season, spice or prepare.
Take a ragu. Maybe you are sick and tired of spaghetti bolognese. I wouldn’t blame you. But you can turn a ragu into loads of other dishes with minimal work.
- Char some peppers on a griddle. Add some spices: allspice, ginger, cumin, coriander, and serve ontop of some couscous. You now have something more moroccan.
- Add some kidney beans, and some chilli powder and allspice. Use up some spare wraps, and top with cheese and sour cream. And we’ve got burritos.
- Add some stock or gravy. Bulk out with some more vegetables that are looking a bit sorry for themselves. You now have a tasty bulked out vegetable casserole that used up some veg that may have ended up in the bin! Serve with some creamy mustard mashed potato.
- Part boil some penne pasta, make a quick cheese sauce, and bake for a pasta bake.
- Put the rice cooker on and get some rice on the go. To the ragu, add some spices: ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, ground black pepper, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, whole cloves, whole cardamom cracked. Chilli powder to vary heat. Maybe a bay leaf. Maybe add some yoghurt to thicken. You have a tasty curry.
You can turn many meals you’ve previously batched cooked into many other meals with a bit of creativity and confidence. Throw something together, and see what happens.
For us, batch cooking is an awesome way to enjoy cooking, eat healthily, and save money at the same time.
Do you batch cook? How do you do it?
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Sources and Attribution
- Freeze Flat in Freezer Bags (c) Money Mage, All Rights Reserved
- Slow Cooked Chilli with Stewing Steak (c) Money Mage, All Rights Reserved