They do not call a working mom ‘Supermom’ for no reason. There are so many things to handle everyday – her job, the kids, their dad, chores and food. While the easiest option is grabbing takeaway, ever wondered how she still manages to put a home-cooked meal on the table at the end of a long day? Batch cooking to the rescue.
Cooking a LOT of food at once and storing it in batches for future consumption has many advantages. It’s efficient, since all ingredients are purchased and used together. It saves time, because you cook once/twice a week as opposed to every single day. It’s healthy, healthier than dining out anyway with research showing home-cooked meals are way lower in calories, fat and sodium than restaurant food.
Heard about batch cooking but don’t know where to start? You could use some tips from us.
- Make a list of foods that freeze well. Everything from rice, pasta, quinoa, oatmeal to cooked poultry, meat, fish and sauces, soups, broths, muffins and bread will do well if stored correctly. Salad dressings with dairy such as mayonnaise, sour cream and buttermilk spoil faster. Hard-boiled eggs, lettuce and potatoes besides mash should not be frozen either.
- You can either cook whole meals and freeze them or prep part of the recipe to put together closer to the day.
- Use equipments wherever applicable to make life easier – a food processor for example to chop veggies, knead dough, grind meat and make all kinds of purees.
- Set aside a few hours on the weekend to cook your grains and proteins in batches. Combine and use throughout the week.
- Nothing is more versatile than a bag of grilled veggies prepared beforehand. Add them to gravies, stuff them in tacos or throw them in a pasta last minute.
- Experiment with sauces, dressings and garnishes like fried onions and roasted garlic to make day-to-day meals exciting.
- Freeze food in different portion sizes and label them accordingly. Muffin tins are great for individual servings of soup or oatmeal just as ice-trays work well with paste and sauces.
- Flash freeze sticky food items like cutlets, patties or cookie dough. If you freeze them individually before placing them in a common container, you defrost only as much as you need at any given time.
- Liquids expand when frozen, so leave 1-2 inches of space when filling your containers with broth or stock.
- Invest in quality, air-tight containers for freezing food. Consume within 3-6 months for no compromise on quality and taste.
All it takes to keep your family’s health on track is a bit of meal planning & batch cooking on your day off. Now that you know, also know that the only thing better than home-cooked meals, is home-cooked meals in a jiffy!