|Photo by liquene|
I’ve already written about why I’m hooked on batch cooking. It saves time, money, and ensures you always have healthy food ready. However, if you’ve never batch cooked before, it can seem like a daunting undertaking. So I’ve put together 10 tips to help get you started. And I’m guessing that, like me, once you get accustomed to not having to cook on weeknights, you’ll likely question how you ever did it any other way.
1) Schedule it.
Set aside specific time each week so it becomes part of your routine. For me, Sunday afternoons/evenings are for cooking, regardless of what’s going on. A few times I’ve had to switch to Saturdays instead. But it’s never left to chance. Your schedule will fill up. Batch cooking simply needs to become a priority, and part of your weekly routine.
2) Find a recipe before your cooking day.
Skim through recipes during the week, or spend some time the day before. Some weeks you might draw a blank on what to make, and you don’t want that to stress you out the day that you’re cooking – you’ll have enough to do. Plus if it’s somewhere in the back of your mind throughout the week, chances are something will pop into your head by the weekend. Knowing what your making in advance also lets you look forward to making/eating it. And more practically, it lets you thaw meat if necessary.
3) Keep track of recipes.
This is something that I’m still working on. Posting the best recipes on my blog has been helpful in that regard. You don’t want to make something great, figure you’ll remember it next time, and then next time rolls around and you have no idea where you found that recipe, or what it was called. It’s so much easier to have a go-to list of tried and true recipes for the times when you don’t feel inspired to make something new, can’t find a new recipe that you like, or are just wanting to re-make that fantastic dish. Find a system that works for you.
3) Prepare a grocery list.
Go through the recipes, and write down everything you need. Then go through your kitchen to see if you already have some of the ingredients. It’ll make grocery shopping more efficient, and forgotten or wasted ingredients less likely.
4) Clean as u go.
It’s a good approach no matter what type of cooking you’re doing, but especially important with batch cooking. You’ll be cooking multiple dishes and increased quantities, so all the pots, pans, etc. really add up. If you clean, wipe down counters, tidy, etc. while you’re cooking and in between recipes, it’ll make your life easier, and your kitchen won’t look like a bomb went off in the end.
5. Organize your kitchen.
Organizing all your kitchen stuff will help create much needed counter space. And cooking goes a lot smoother when you’re not constantly searching for stuff.
6. Invest in some necessities.
Assuming you have your kitchen basics, there are some additional tools that go hand-in-hand with batch cooking, like a food processor and large pots. I’ll be posting soon about what I consider to be the essentials.
7. Freeze the rest.
Worried you might get tired of eating the same thing for several days? Are your kids complaining? Personally, it doesn’t bother me. The food’s always so delicious, and I know I’ll be eating something different the following week. But if this is a concern for you, it’s not a reason to shy away from batch cooking. Consider eating your batch cooked meals for the first 2-3 days, and freezing the rest. The next week you’ll have different meals ready for days 4-7 that you just have to thaw. Pretty soon you’ll be picking from a list of items in your freezer.
9. Involve others.
Not only will batch cooking with others make the task easier, it’ll be more fun. Make it a family activity where everyone cooks together. Involve the kids. Treat it as quality time with your significant other. Cook with a friend. If you enjoy cooking alone, that’s great too. My point is that it can become another way to socialize and bring people together. Also, just like having a workout buddy, it’ll make you more accountable to actually cook.
10. Have fun with it.
Treat it like a hobby / adventure and not a chore. There will probably be an adjustment period where you’re used to doing other things with that time. But give it some time, you’ll be amazed at how much easier and healthier it makes your life. You spend much less time cooking overall than you would if you cooked every meal separately. There’s also a sense of accomplishment that comes with creating all these great dishes. And a feeling of taking care of yourself by making healthy food readily available. Experiment with new recipes and ingredients, and enjoy the process as well as the food :)
Do you batch cook? What other tips would you suggest?
Shared with Fight Back Fridays.