Weekdays can be hectic and getting home from work or the school run, the last thing you want to do is spend precious family time pre-occupied in the kitchen. Getting organised and spending an hour or so on a weekend, preparing the week’s meals, can mean that all that’s left to do is to reheat and serve. The team here at Prestige have put our heads together to give you six top tips for successful batch cooking.
It’s all about the one-pot Clever batch cooking does not involve spending your entire Sunday slaving away in the kitchen. The key is to choose recipes that can be left to bubble away on the hob or that you can leave in the oven and forget about for a couple of hours. Pasta bakes, casseroles, pies, curries and mince-based dishes are a good starting point, and you’ll find lots more tasty batch cooking recipes on the Prestige blog.
Plan ahead Trips to the supermarket always take longer than you anticipate, and who wants to spend precious time on a weekend in a queue? Spending a few minutes planning meals for the week ahead, and ordering your food shop online can save you loads of time. It gives you chance to consider what you really need without getting distracted by deals, so can actually save you money too. Meal planning boards, or jotting down in a notebook when you’re having what can help you stay organised, and save you from many a last-minute dash to the shops.
Frozen diced veg Onions tend to be the base of most tasty dishes, but dicing them up can be a laborious task. Frozen diced onions can be added straight to a hot pan, and soften much quicker than fresh, so speed up your cooking. Buying frozen and diced from the supermarket, or spending a few minutes dicing up onions, mincing garlic, and chopping veggies in bulk, then freezing in bags, can save a huge amount of time in the long-run.
Keep on top of what you have Dig deep in the freezer and see what you actually have in there on a regular basis. Get rid of anything you won’t use and make room for your batch cooked goodies. Stock up on tupperware (big and small), freezer bags and labels, and base your meal planning around ingredients you already have to save some cash.
Bulk out your batch cooking Batch cooking dishes like Shepherd's Pie and casseroles does not have to mean buying loads of meat, which we all know can be expensive. With careful planning, you can actually buy less and better quality meat from sustainable and ethical suppliers. Beans, lentils, quorn or soya mince are much cheaper alternatives that bulk out dishes, have a similar texture and take on flavour easily. Try adding frozen quorn mince to your bolognaise to get an extra couple of portions, and see if anyone notices it.
Waste not, want not Bananas going black in the bowl? Rogue carrots at the bottom of the veg drawer going soft at the ends? Fresh herbs wilting away in the fridge? Salvage what you can. Roughly chop, place in a bag and freeze. Frozen fruit can be added to smoothies, frozen random bits of veg can be used for stock, blended up into sauces (a great idea if you have veg-phobic kids) or added to one-pots. Fresh herbs get an extended lease of life if you portion them in an ice cube tray and cover with olive oil before freezing.
Do you batch cook? How do you keep organised with your meal planning? We’d love to know your tips so please share them below for other readers. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more handy hints.