Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Batch Cooking Primer

I spent some time this past weekend doing some batch cooking and it inspired me to write a post about it.  I know lots of people already do this on a regular basis, but there are others who are a bit intimidated by the thought of it so I hope to simplify things somewhat.

For me, there are few basics to think about before I get started. 

1.  What are you hoping to accomplish with your batch cooking? 
  • Do you want to use up some things in your fridge or pantry before they go bad?
  • Do you want to make some dinners for the next week? 
  • Do you just want to make some meals to have on had in your freezer?  
  • Perhaps you think that you are turning on the oven to make one thing anyway, so you might as well make the most of it and keep cooking?

2.  What are you making and what are you planning to do with it?
  • Are you going to put your prepared food in the fridge for use over the next few days?
  • Will you need to freeze what you prepare?
  • Do you have room in the fridge or freezer to store the food you pepare?
3.  Consider your storage container options
  • plastic containers
  • glass containers
  • zipper lock freezer bags
  • individual portions or multi-serving portions

4.  Make a plan of attack
  • list the items you plan to make
  • check to make sure you have the ingredients you need
  • make a shopping list and buy the items on it
  • make note of the order you will do things, a timeline of sorts
5.  Execute the plan
  • assemble your ingredients
  • do all your veggie chopping at once
  • clean up as you go along
  • HAVE FUN! and SMILE a lot
5.  After you are finished
  • put things in containers
  • label for the freezer
  • ENJOY your accomplishment!
As an example, I will share with you how my recent session went.

I made a mental note of the things I wanted to accomplish:
  • roast Beets that are in the pantry so they aren't forgotten about and go bad.  Peel and freeze some, store one in fridge for use this week
  • while the oven is hot anyway, bake Italian Meatballs and freeze in meals for 2 people
  • cook Goop for dinner that night and then freeze leftovers in one container for another meal for 2 people
  • cook Barley for Captain’s dinner and save leftovers in fridge in 2 individual servings for use this week
  • cook Red Curry Slow Cooker Pork for dinner the next night and then freeze leftovers in 4 individual servings
And then I got busy…

I started the Red Curry Slow Cooker Pork going first.  I knew I needed to use my large skillet to brown the pork and then I would have to wash it before I could use it to cook the Goop. 

Then I scrubbed the Beets and got them roasting in the oven. 

While they were baking I mixed the Meatballs and put them on a baking sheet.

And I started the Goop by putting ground beef in the skillet with onions and garlic.

I chopped and added the vegetables to the Goop skillet.

Beets cooked, I set them aside to cool and put the meatballs into the oven.

I add the tomato sauce to the Goop and turned it to simmer.

I started the Barley cooking in a large saucepan on the stove top.

I removed the peels from the Beets under cold running water, and then bagged them and put some in the freezer, and one in the fridge.

After the Meatballs were cooked, I portioned them into 8s and put them in containers and into the freezer.

The Goop and the Barley were done about the same time – saved one portion of Barley for The Captain’s dinner and put the rest in individual containers in the fridge.  The Goop would feed us twice so I saved half for our dinner, and put the rest in a container in the freezer.

The Pork was done a few hours later and I saved some in the fridge for one meal for the two of us the next day and then portioned 4 servings into individual containers and put them in the freezer.

Here are some pics from my kitchen adventures...

1 Beets
Roasted beets

2 Meatballs
Italian Meatballs ready to go into the oven when the Beets came out

3 Goop 1
Goop steaming on the stove top

4 Goop 2
And all done

5 Barley
Barley cooked

12 Red Curry Pork
Red Curry Slow Cooker Pork done too

6 Goop and Barley
Good with Barley for The Captain

7 Good and Squash
And over roasted Ambercup Squash for me

9 Beets and Salad
Beets sliced on salad with light Feta and Pecans

11 Barley fried 'rice'
The Captain enjoyed this Barley done like Chicken Fried Rice

12 Red Curry Pork potatoes 2
Red Curry Slow Cooker Pork with potatoes for The Captain

13 Red Curry Pork squash
And with Acorn Squash for me

14 Barley with Butter Chicken
And some Barley with Butter Chicken for The Captain

Do you batch cook?

Any hints to share?


  1. Great tips, I like to make batches of lean meats ahead of time -- then we're set all week (or longer if I have room in the freezer)!

  2. My primary reason for batch cooking (when I do it) is because I got a great deal on something at the grocery store! About a month ago, Thrifty foods had BOGO on both lean ground beef and bell peppers. I cooked up 4 meals worth of stuffed peppers. We ate 1 and froze the other 3. I love having a quick and easy meal that's almost ready to go on those nights when all three kids have after school/after dinner activities!

    1. I agree. That is a good time to do some batch cooking.

  3. Mnn great tips! I never batch cook besides chilli, but I'm thinking of starting and am looking for tips on what/how to freeze food since I can never eat it in time.

  4. I would LOVE to batch cook. And your meals look delish. But have the time? Cut into my weekend? That's an issue for me. But would relieve a ton of stress on 'what's for dinner' during the week. Lol.

    1. It is great to have some things already prepared on busy week nights or when you just don't feel like cooking a meal. It does take a bit of time but you can do a lot in a couple of hours.


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