Firstly, I beg you to forgive me for that terrible pun. Really. I know it’s bad. But I’ve been watching the tennis recently and I thought it might work. It doesn’t.
Anyway, today I am going to talk about the wonder of batch cooking. Not only is it a cheap way of making your own healthy, to taste frozen ready meals, it doesn’t take that long and frees up your weekday evenings for other important things.
So, what sort of things are good to batch cook? Well, anything really! Chilli con carne, curries, tagines… Practically anything in a recipe book that says serves 4! There are a few things to remember though:
- If you are using meat in your dish, it must be fresh. You shouldn’t freeze a dish with meat that has already been frozen and defrosted as it increases the chances of bad bacteria growing.
- Using fresh vegetables is also advisable as otherwise when they are re-frozen they lose some of their texture and flavour.
- Any recipe with cheese, cream or milk can be frozen so long as these products are added once it has been defrosted. You probably can freeze them with it in, but I like to add it after I’ve taken it out just in case.
- When you have cooked your meal, separate it into single person portions. You can freeze your food in freezer-safe bags or “takeaway” boxes that can be found in any pound shop – then when you want to eat one you can just take the portion out and stick it in the microwave until it is hot through. Just don’t stick metal boxes in the microwave… They really don’t like it and your flat mates will not be impressed to come home and find you’ve blown up it up…
As well as batch cooking meals, preparing and chopping vegetables can also be done in batches so they just sit in the freezer until you need them. I find that pre-chopping/slicing/dicing entire bags of onions saves an awful lot of time when making risotto or a stirfry. Last year my flatmate and I would sit in the kitchen on a Sunday morning preparing carrots, onions, peppers… any vegetables we meant to freeze and it was definitely worth the effort (it also meant we had time to catchup on the latest gossip!)
I hope this has been of some use and I will soon be giving you some ideas as to good things to batch prepare and how they can then be used for quick weekday meals. Have a great day!