There are some very appealing advantages to batch cooking, such as:
- You can take advantage of sales and save money with bulk-buying.
- Meals ready-to-go in the freezer - they are healthier and homemade!
- Saving resources like electricity, gas, and your most precious resource - TIME
This may seem like old hat to you seasoned homemakers, but this was a revolutionary idea to me when I first married, and I figure I'm not the only person out there who was ignorant of this technique.
Things I like to batch cook:
- When my husband is grilling, I almost always have a little something extra for him to do on the side or at the end. Hamburger patties are nice to have for a quick lunch. Grilled chicken breasts are a nice treat and can be sliced before freezing them to make them super easy to pull out and add to a salad or pasta dish later.
- Ground beef - usually 4 lbs. at a time browning in a large pot. I divide it up into ziplocs ready to dump in a recipe.
- Meatloaf - I mix up 4 lbs. of meat at a time and freeze half in a gallon size ziploc to save me time later.
- Meatballs - Again, I mix up about 4 lbs. at a time, bake them, and freeze in gallon size ziplocs so I can add them to spaghetti or soup
- Muffins and Quick Breads - these make a nice quick breakfast, snack or dessert. They are so versatile, I love having them around.
- Soups - most soups (sans pasta and cream) freeze really well. Chili, minestrone, pasta fagioli, chicken noodle, etc... are all favorites.
- Whole Chickens - I actually have an entire system for whole chickens. I cook two each in their own stockpot on the stove, debone the meat, then make stock. I use a little of the meat and stock to do homemade cream of chicken soup, which I then freeze. I then freeze the meat for casseroles and the stock in quart and pint size containers. That's a lot of use out of two chickens!
- Tomato sauce - I make my own for our weekly pizza night and Sunday spaghetti. I often double batches and freeze some to save for an extra hectic week.
- Pizza dough - I make four crusts worth in my KitchenAid and usually freeze half.
- Granola - my recipe makes 20 c. and stores well in airtight containers
- BBQ Meat - either pork shoulder or beef roast
- Cookies - if they don't disappear before you can freeze them! ;)
- Beans - I usually just freeze baked beans, but I know many freeze all different kinds.
- Rice - I especially like to freeze brown rice since it takes so long to cook. Freeze in a ziploc bag. When re-heating, just add a teaspoon or so of water to a thawed bag of rice. Open one end of the bag and microwave. It tastes just as though it was freshly made.
- Cheesecake - I like to save a piece or two for a rainy day.
What kinds of things do you like to batch cook?