Batch cooking is something I promised myself I’d get better at this year so, on Saturday, I had my first batch cooking session in ages and now have twelve meals in our freezer ready to use – just think how much time that’s going to save me.
I’m so lucky to have the freezer space I do – we have one freezer as part of the fridge freezer, one under-counter freezer and one big freezer in the garage – but I really could be so much cleverer when it comes to using the space.
It’s not that I don’t already do a lot of batch cooking but usually, I just cook more food than we need and freeze what we don’t eat ready for another time. What I want to get better at is actually taking a couple of hours every month to have one big batch cooking session where everything I cook goes into the freezer.
That’s what I did on Saturday and I managed to get twelve meals cooked and in the freezer so now when I’m writing my weekly meal plan I can work these meals into it. The way I tend to plan is to use one of these meals when I know I’m going to struggle for time.
Wednesday this week, for example, is a day when I’ll be a little bit late home so I’ve added cottage pie into our meal plan for that day. I’ll get it out of the freezer on Tuesday night and when I get home on Wednesday I’ll just pop it in the oven to heat it up. I have a freezer drawer filled with frozen veggies so I’ll probably cook some broccoli and maybe peas to go with it while that’s cooking and that’s all I need to do.
I’m pretty pleased with everything I managed to get done in my first batch cooking session of the year. Twelve meals isn’t bad at all, is it? I made…
- 1 Cottage pie
- 1 Mince and dumplings
- 1 Lemon and herb chicken tray bake
- 2 Beef casseroles with dumplings
- 1 Roasted veg and chicken traybake
- 2 meatballs in Spanish sauce
- 4 Shredded chicken
The cottage pie and the mince and dumplings both started life as just mince and onions in my slow cooker. When it was done, I portioned it up and topped one half with mashed potato and the other with some dumplings and popped them both in the freezer.
The beef casserole was cooked in the Instant Pot at the same time using the slow cooker function. I padded out the meat with lots of veg from the freezer along with some potatoes and then portioned that up into two big portions. I topped with some dumplings and added that to the freezer too. What I love about the casserole is that it has so many veggies in it as well as the potatoes that I won’t need to cook anything to go alongside it.
Next, I made some meatballs and split them into two portions. I made a sauce using some of my own homemade tomato sauce with the addition of some chorizo, red onion and chilli along with some Spanish style seasoning that I got from the Famers Market. I poured my sauce over the meatballs and popped them into the oven to cook and once they were done and cool, I popped them in the freezer.
The lemon and herb seasoning for the chicken was made in the oven using some Italian seasoning, lemon juice and lemon slices. I just added that to some cherry tomatoes, chopped peppers, red onion, chorizo and chicken and cooked that in the oven until it looked done.
The roasted veg and chicken tray bake is just a mix of vegetables from the freezer with some chicken breasts on top. I’m slicing the chicken into thin strips and mixing in with the mixed veg before I freeze it as it will mix really well with rice or pasta or even as a pizza topping.
And finally, the shredded chicken was made in the Instant Pot as a last minute addition to our batch cooking afternoon as we got some reduced price chicken breasts when we popped to the shop to grab
So there you have it, twelve meals in one afternoon.
I also want to build up my freezer ‘store cupboard’ again but that’s a whole other post. 😉
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