Our easy intro to Batch Cooking
Do you batch cook?
Have you perhaps thought about it and thought what a good idea but then never actually got around to it??
Or do you think it just sounds like far too much effort!
Whether you are seasoned batch cooker or wanting to know a bit more about it before you start then do check out our blog below, with our top tips for getting started!
Batch cooking is a great way to save you time during the week and a great habit to get into. It doesn’t mean you have to spend your weekend cooking lots of different meals to freeze, unless you fancy a cooking day!
A good habit to get into is making extra portions of your meals that you are having, you can then freeze half of the meal to have later. This way you gradually build up a stock of meals in your freezer, so on the days when you don’t have much time or a busy weekend you can just pop it out of your freezer to defrost ready for teatime! Just think of all the time you'll save!
Before you rush off and prepare lots of casseroles, soups etc read through our top tips;
1) Before you start your batch cooking, make sure you have plenty of room in your freezer, containers and labels! So, you can label each meal with the date you put it in the freezer.
2) When you are planning out your meals for the week, if you have meals in your freezer plan in to have those. This will save you time and money as they are already there!
3) When you put your food in the containers leave an air gap, don’t fill the container to the top and then cram the lid on.
4) Defrost the meal in the fridge that morning or the night before, if you forget then to heat it up put it in a cold oven rather than pre-heating it. Making sure it is piping hot before you eat it. I sometimes add a little water to it before I start cooking it and keep checking it to make sure it doesn't dry out.
5) If you have meat in the freezer and you are planning on cooking it and refreezing it make sure you defrost the meat over night in the refrigerator. Don’t leave the meat on the worktop to defrost and then refreeze it. To refreeze meat, you need to defrost it properly!
6) Freezing pasta & rice; it is fine to freeze pasta and rice but freeze it in a different container to the curry or pasta sauce that you are having it with. I personally prefer to freeze the bolognaise or curry and then make a fresh lot of pasta or rice at the time as I think the quality of the pasta and rice disappears once it has been frozen plus it doesn’t take too long to cook!
7) If you are family that eat at different times during the week due to activities and work then freeze the meal in portions, this way it makes it so much easier and you can just defrost what you need. Remember to defrost it properly in the refrigerator or put it in a cold oven rather than pre-heating the oven first. Always make sure the meal is piping hot all the way through.
8) Remember to get the kids involved let them help you in the kitchen and prepare the meals it's so important for them to learn and there are always things they can do, plus they are more likely to try what they have made! My daughter has always been adamant that she didn't like mushrooms, onions or peppers. Since actually making a few dishes with these in she has now tried them and likes them!
I hope you found our top tips useful, please send us an email and share your top tips with us so we can then share these our on our social media.
Before you head off do check out a favourite recipe of mine, perfect for batch cooking.
Chicken Curry Traybake; serves 8
· 8 chicken breasts
· 2 cans of coconut milk
· 2 /3 tbsp of your favourite curry paste (we like madras or harissa paste)
· 2 red onions
· 6 sweet potatoes
· 2 butternut squashes
· 2 peppers
· 1 tin of tomatoes
· Coconut fry lite or oil
1) In a big roasting pan, chop up your sweet potatoes, butternut squashes, red onion and peppers and put on the bottom of your tray. A drizzle of oil and season with salt and pepper.
2) Spread 2/3 tablespoons of curry paste over your chicken breasts and place in your roasting pan.
3) In a large bowl add in the tinned tomatoes, coconut milk and stir together, add a little more curry paste if you want a little more spice.
4) Pour the sauce over the top of your veggies and chicken and gently mix it round so it is all covered.
5) Now pop in the oven at 180c for about 1 ½ - 2 hours until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through, stirring occasionally.
6) To serve make sure the chicken is cooked through, it is piping hot and juices are running clear.
7) Transfer the other half of the meal into your containers and leave to cool with the lid off. Then transfer to the fridge. Once it has cooled completely in the fridge you can then put it in your freezer. Remember to label your containers with what it is and the date otherwise it'll be a lucky dip!
Ruth & Three Bears Team x