How To Batch Cook For The Week:
Planning meals ahead of time and learning to batch cook can help you avoid those incredibly frustrating instances after a busy day at work when you get home only to realise you haven’t got anything available for your evening meal.
The temptation is to throw some fish fingers on a baking sheet and serve with some frozen chips. The kids will probably love it. However, no one else in the house will thank you!
The other option when you’re in a hurry is a shop bought ready meal, which generally comes in a super small portion size, leaving you and your family unsatisfied and nutritionally defunct!
Wouldn’t it be great to have on hand some healthy home cooked meals ready to defrost and stick in the oven or microwave when life has thrown you a dodgeball?
We’ve got some fantastic tips in our batch cooking for beginners guide, to help you start on your journey to batch cooking and freezer cooking meals.
We’ve made the steps simple to follow, and you’ll find that most of them are something you are already doing most days, you may just need to tweak your cooking skills to help you to freeze larger portions of the healthy meals you’re already cooking for your family.
In this post, you will learn how to batch cook and freeze your weekly meals and how to make a batch cooking meal plan.
So, without further ado lets ditch the oven chips and learn how to prepare some easy freezer meals for the whole family, let’s start batch cooking for beginners!
Before you begin batch cooking, here are some essential tools you will need:
1. Large pans
2. Large bowls
3. Slow cooker (optional) to free up some time
4. Freezer labels and sharpie
5. Food processor (optional) for chopping large portions of onions and for grating.
6. Soup maker (optional)
7. Suitable containers or bags for freezing
8. Pantry staples from your list
9. Sharp knife and chopping board
10. A clutter-free space to work
What is batch cooking?
Batch cooking is a simple way to prepare all your weekly meals in advance.
By cooking more than one portion at a time and freezing them, you can thaw and use a different meal portion every day as a healthy meal when you want to save time.
This is a much better alternative for your family than shop bought ready meals and tomato sauce which can often be high in salt, sugar and other additives.
What are the benefits of batch cooking freezer meals?
- Batch cooking freezer meals allows you to have a ready cooked homemade dinner available whenever you need it.
- It is much cheaper cooking your own “ready made” meals than buying store-bought ready meals
- Homemade meals are far healthier than store-bought ready meals as you are in control of everything you add to the dish.
- You can adjust your meals to suit your family’s dietary requirements, such as nut allergies, gluten and lactose intolerance.
- You can avoid salt, sugars and other unhealthy preservatives and additives.
- You can hide blended veggies into the sauces of most healthy freezer meals to ensure your kids are getting extra portions of vegetables at every meal.
How to batch cook and freeze meals
First off, I recommend you grab a pen and write down all the meals you usually like to eat throughout the week, it doesn’t have to be fancy just a quick list of 7 meals you and your family like to eat regularly.
Then, write a quick list of the regular activities you attend each day and evening such as work, kids activities and sports, visiting relatives etc.
Just to give you an indication of which blocks of time in your day you are going to be unavailable to make a meal from scratch.
For example, if you are always at swimming lessons until late on Wednesday evenings, it would be tricky to prepare a big meal when you get in.
Now you’ve got a basic outline of the days you are busy, and the days you are free, and the meals you like to eat.
Jotting down the meals which take a lot of preparation onto the quieter days on your planner ensures that you have plenty of time on those days to prepare the time-consuming meals.
Now you are in control of your meals for the full week; you know what you will be eating and when you’ll be eating it, so now you need to write a shopping list to buy everything you need!
When batch cooking, I recommend you cook an enormous big batch of one meal and freeze it.
Make sure you have ample sized pans or a slow cooker big enough to batch cook the food you’ll be preparing.
And when it comes to storage I recommend using containers with a clickable locking system on.
Frozen meal batch cooking ideas.
We all have our favourite meals to cook each week, my advice is to batch cook the foods you are usually cooking for the whole week but just increase the portions ready to freeze.
Stuck for ideas?
Here are some good suggestions for batch cooking…
- Pasta/Ragu sauces
- Baked potatoes
- Mashed potatoes
- Mashed vegetables
- Lasagne and pasta bakes
- Shredded chicken
- Leek and potato
- Roasted pepper and tomato
- Butternut squash and ginger
Sauces and stocks to freeze
- Curry sauce
- Ragu pasta sauce
- Chicken stock
- Beef stock
- Fish stock
- Vegetable stock
Beef freezer meal ideas
- Beef stew
- Beef Casserole
- Beef curry
- Spaghetti bolognese
- Cottage pie
Chicken freezer meal ideas
- Chicken casserole
- Chicken curry
Vegetarian freezer meal ideas
- Bean and lentil Chilli
- Quorn chilli
- Quorn curry
- Vegetable curry
- Quorn shepherds pie
- Bean burgers
- Baked potatoes
- Vegetable and bean lasagne
Kids frozen meals.
- Fish pies
- Shepherds pies
- Pasta Sauces
- Mild curry dishes
- Mild chilli dishes
- Spaghetti bolognese
Add your favourite meals to your list, try to make meal planning as simple as you can at first until you get used to batch cooking, once you’ve got comfortable with the whole process you can start adding more adventurous meals!
Let us know how you get on