Things to Batch Cook and Save Time

Batch cooking makes the most of the cooking time you do have in order to create a large portion of a particular dish and be able to enjoy the food in the coming weeks too. Batch cooking goes hand in hand with make-and-freeze recipes as you portion out the batches and freeze them so you can just pull them out of the freezer, heat, and eat, any time you need to.

For batch cooking, you will need a range of plastic containers, freezer-proof labels, and a pen. Zippered food storage bags are also very useful.

Here are some foods that work well in batches.

Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce can be made Italian style for pizza and pasta, or Mexican style for tacos, enchiladas and more. It is just a question of what seasonings to use. Note: tomato sauce will stain your plastic containers, so oil them first and don’t reheat the sauce all the way in them. Use a bowl in the microwave or a saucepan. You can also use a small zippered storage bag.

Rice

Each time you make rice, make more than you need and save it in 1- or 2-cup portions as side dishes, stir fries and so on. Just reheat in the microwave and serve.

Muffins, Cupcakes and Cookies

If your family is on the go all the time, this is a great way to keep them well fed. You can make different styles of muffin for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Get a make-and-freeze muffin cookbook and you and the whole family can go on a tasty journey of exploration.

Cookies can be made in large batches and frozen to keep them at the peak of freshness. For muffins and cookies, freeze them in zippered food storage bags. Then unzip, take out what you need, re-close the bag, and get on with your busy day. Defrost in the microwave or take on the go. The food should defrost by the time you wish to eat it.

Soup

Make it on the stove or in a crock pot. Freeze into individual portions. Just add bread or a sandwich for a full meal. Heat in the microwave and add to a Thermos for a hot lunch on a cold day.

Stew

Stew works well in batches too. Portion into individual servings. Make the dumplings on the side and add one or two to the bowl.

Chili

Chili with or without meat is always a hearty meal. Add rice for a complete dinner in one bowl. Take it to work or school and heat it up in the microwave as a hot alternative to the usual sandwiches.

Casseroles

Casseroles can be made in large portions, then portioned up and frozen. Eat fresh while the meal is still warm. Then allow the casserole to cool completely before putting it in the plastic containers. Add cooked vegetables for a really filling lunch or dinner.

Hard-Boiled Eggs

Cook up a big pot at the start of the week and use as snacks, protein in salad, egg salad sandwiches and so on.

Meatballs

Meatballs go well with pasta, in a hero, and so on. Fry up a couple of pounds of your favorite recipe, cool, and freeze. Place in a zippered storage bag and take them out as needed.

Lasagna

Always make extra and freeze. This makes a tasty dinner with a side salad and some Italian bread.

Pumpkin Puree

Get a jump on all of your holiday cooking by roasting your pumpkins in the oven and scooping out the flesh. It is a lot cheaper than buying in the can. Use a 1- or 2-cup measure, place in a zippered storage bag, and flatten. Stack them up ready for all your holiday pies, cakes, muffins and more.

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