If you’re in charge of food shopping, it may come as no surprise that the choices you make in the grocery store and your kitchen can have a big impact on your finances. But did you know how much power batch cooking has on your budget? Here’s everything you need to know about the method and how it can help you save money.
Batch cooking includes the preparation and cooking of meals in the freezer for several days. This will help you to save time, reduce wastage and make your pocket smile!
In this blog post, I will tell you about the various recipes, advantages, and disadvantages of batch cooking. Let’s dive in and learn about batch cooking!
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What is Batch Cooking?
When we talk about batch cooking, it often means making big meals with plenty of servings that can last for a week. Once you are done preparing and cooking a large batch, store the food in the refrigerator for further consumption.
Well, mealtime becomes an easy task when you have these prepared foods waiting for you at the end of a long day. You won’t have to make a whole meal from scratch. All you need to do is to defrost the already-prepared meal.
Moreover, defrosting the meal is just a matter of a few minutes, and hola! Your meal is ready to be munched! If you are busy bees and want to have a quick but homemade breakfast, batch cooking serves as a great savior.
In addition to this, batch cooking is pocket friendly and reduces food wastage. Not only this, but batch cooking also helps to save time as you don’t have to cook food at frequent intervals of the day.
Is Batch Cooking Good For Your Lifestyle?
Are you the one who struggles to find time for cooking or wants to eat healthy meals? Do you find cutting and preparing food a hectic job? Or want to cut the wastage of food? Well, if yes, then batch cooking can be a great option for you!
It could be a great addition to your lifestyle. However, it is quite a task to know how to begin batch cooking but once you get into it, it will eventually become a great way to ease life.
Nevertheless, it varies from person to person and entirely depends on their lifestyle, eating habits, and dietary preferences. If you have quite a hectic schedule, then batch cooking is a great option for you.
If you have to cut down your expenses somehow, this practice of cooking acts as the best option. However, look for various recipes so that you won’t get bored easily.
However, I rather suggest you avoid batch cooking if you are on any kind of medication or have any dietary restrictions and have fresh baked or cooked meals.
Batch cooking is quite a great option as it helps to save a lot of time as well as energy. However, it does not work best for everyone. Some of you might even get bored after using the practice of batch cooking.
This practice offers a limited number of meals and this makes the consumption process unenjoyable or even boring. Eventually, it leads to food wastage.
Why Should You Opt For Batch Cooking?
Let’s be honest — everybody could do with some more savings right about now. But it can be hard to sock away some cash into your rainy-day fund when groceries cost an arm and a leg these days.
Blame inflation. More than three-quarters (77%) of Americans say inflation will impact their ability to save this year. This spells trouble for the future, as most people don’t have any savings cushion to fall back on today.
Without savings, you’ll have to put those big, fun purchases (like a new TV or a beach getaway) on hold. But what about those things you can’t delay? Let’s say your roof starts leaking, and you need to call a roofer ASAP. What then?
If you can’t put an unexpected, essential, and urgent expense on hold, you can always put this purchase on credit. Use a credit card if there’s space on this account, or check out a website like MoneyKey to learn about what you need to apply for a line of credit.
A line of credit provides a safety net when you don’t have enough savings to cover an unexpected expense, but it can’t replace your savings. Savings are an important part of your budget, so you should be looking for opportunities to cut costs in your everyday life.
Another benefit of batch cooking is that it saves your time. You do not have to spend time on daily cooking. All you do is prepare the whole batch for the week and you are good to go!
Batch cooking is beneficial and cuts the waste of food. The preparation of meals on a regular basis can result in waste without even realizing it. Batch cooking will help you to buy fewer unnecessary items and thus save you money.
All the Ways Batch Cooking Saves Money
Batch cooking is one of those savings opportunities. Here’s why money-savvy foodies rely on batch cooking to help them spend less on food.
1. It Eliminates Random Ingredients
Do you ever find yourself with a fridge of expensive ingredients that don’t go together? That’s what happens when you shop without a plan. Batch cooking forces you to shop with intention around cheap items, coupons, and flier deals.
2. You Can Take Advantage of Bulk Pricing
Bulk pricing is usually the cheapest way to purchase ingredients, but it only makes sense if you can guarantee you’ll eat everything before it goes bad. Batch cooking uses ingredients right away, intending to freeze full meals until you’re ready to eat them.
3. It Reduces Food Waste
Freezing your meals will help prevent spoilage. By eliminating food waste, you could potentially save as much as $1,500 every year.
4. You’re Less Likely to Splurge on Takeout
Knowing you have a lasagna or pot of chili waiting for you at home, already prepared, will cut down how often you order takeout because you’re too tired to cook. This could save you $198 a month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
5. Saves money from paying hospital bills
When you opt for batch cooking, you are likely to include more healthy and nutrition-enriched meals. This not only saves your time but also has a positive impact on your health. A healthy intake of food ensures that you stay away from illness and doctors.
This will also have a positive impact on your savings as you don’t need to spend any penny to pay the hospital bills.
6. Passive Income
Batch cooking will result in saving a lot of your time. You can spend that time earning extra income. You can denote your time for part-time work and make money.
Some Recipes You Can Batch Cook and Save
Batch cooking is not meant for every ingredient and you need to be extra sure of the shelf life of the recipe. If you are looking for recipes for batch cooking, then you are in the right place. This section will provide you with the best recipes that you can follow for batch cooking.
1. Pulled chicken and black bean chili
Try your hands on this Mexican inspired recipe of pulled chicken and black bean chili. You can use rice or tortilla wraps to serve this delicious recipe.
The best part is that you can freeze this recipe. This recipe has flavors of chicken, black beans, chipotle, lime juice, and passata. The addition of seasonings just brings out the best flavors of the dish.
You can place it in the fridge for 3 days and it can be kept in the freezer for 2 months. Remember to defrost it before heating it. The best way to serve it is with tortilla wraps and with red onion.
2. Big batch bolognese
Looking for something that works for the whole family? Well, try making a big batch of bolognese. You can freeze it in half for quick meal cravings.
The best part is that it is highly rich in protein content and thus serves as a healthy option. It will take one hour and 30 minutes to prepare this delicious dish.
This recipe is a perfect combo of bacon, veggies, and herbs. You can serve it with pasta and parmesan.
3. Aubergine parmigiana lasagne
Well, if you are fond of Italian recipes, you will love this one! This is a classic combo of two Italian recipes – parmigiana and lasagna.
Baked veggies are used to prepare this scrumptious dish. This recipe is perfect for batch cooking and can be frozen before and after baking.
If you are looking for a vegetarian recipe, this is the best one you can ask for! It is easy to make and takes about one hour to cook. It can last for two days in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer.
4. One pot prawn and lentil curry
Another mouth-watering recipe on the list is one pot prawn and lentil curry. This one is the easiest, cheapest yet most versatile one.
Just prepare the lentil base of this curry, simply defrost it and then add prawns to it. If you are the one who is gluten conspicuous, then this serves the purpose as it is gluten-free.
You can use cooked as well as raw prawns to prepare this recipe. For seasoning, you can use green chilies, coriander leaves, and pickled onions.
5. Spiced lentil and butternut squash soup
Are you vegetarian and looking for a recipe perfect for batch cooking? Here it is! Prepare this spiced lentil and butternut squash soup with a few easy steps.
You can cook this mouth-watering recipe in just 40 minutes. It includes red lentils and vegetable stock that defines its nutritional profile. It is a healthy and delicious recipe.
Use large freezer-proof bags to freeze this soup. Make sure it is completely cool down before freezing. For topping you can use coriander leaves and yogurt.
6. Creamy leek, pesto, and squash pie
Try this delectable recipe of creamy leek, pesto, and squash pie. This one is perfect for your busy weeknights. It is a perfect combo of chicken stock, pesto, and leeks. Use some salad leaves and olive oil for serving.
This recipe is a healthy option and is freezable. It has the goodness of chicken stock and the flavors of the pesto. The addition of seasoning brings out the best flavors of the whole recipe.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Batch Cooking?
The preparation of the whole batch in a single day can be a time consuming job and you might end up spending your whole day. Thus, it might not be the first choice for some people.
2. Difficult for people with smaller kitchens
The preparation of meals for batch cooking needs a greater area for doing various operations including cutting, chopping, frying, mixing, and many more. If you have a smaller kitchen, you might not be comfortable with this practice.
3. Large space in the freezer
Batch cooking is meant for several days or for a whole week. It needs a lot of space in the freezer when you are dealing with multiple meals. Smaller freezers are not sufficient for storing purposes.
4. Difficult for Perfecting the Timings for partial cooking
Well, as I already mentioned, you need to cook partially when it comes to veggies so as to prevent them from being soggy. Nevertheless, it is quite difficult to know that every vegetable gets cooked at the right stage and still remains safe for further consumption.
5. May not remember to defrost the meal
Batch cooking involves a huge quantity of food placed in the freezer and you may forget to defrost the meal every day. Make sure you consume the defrosted meal and do not remain at room temperature for a much longer period. You can be a victim of food poisoning or other foodborne disease if you do not thaw your frozen food completely.
6. Cleaning can be tiring
The preparation of batch cooking can result in a whole stock of unclean utensils. After cooking, the whole cleaning task would be there for you and can be a super tiring job.
7. Does not serve a variety
The major disadvantage of batch cooking is that it does not provide you with a great variety of recipes. Some of your favorite meals may get spoiled after freezing
8. Lead to health problems
When food is reheated or cooled, there are high chances of bacterial growth. The exposure to microbes will eventually spoil the food. There are several cases of food poisoning that can be seen under this practice. So you need to be careful about the reheating process a couple of times.
Some Tips To Follow While Batch Cooking
You do not have to follow many hard and fast rules for batch cooking. But there are a few rules that you need to keep in mind when it comes to batch cooking. Make sure you pre-cook the main ingredients or those ingredients that might take a few extra minutes to cook.
Once they are pre-cooked, add on further ingredients such as various sauces, add-ons, or combos. Just say, you are making a batch of broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and black beans. Once you are done with cooking, add various sauces each day.
For instance, you can add curry sauce if you are an admirer of Indian sauces. For the next day, you can add garlic ginger paste and for the third day, you can go for Mexican toppings. Thus you can enjoy three different meals with the same basic ingredients.
Do you know the best part? You won’t even get bored if you follow this practice. You can follow this practice with the dressings also. Just keep the dressings the same and pair them with different veggies.
Here are some more rules that you must keep in mind.
- Fish tastes best when cooked fresh. So I suggest you not keep a large batch of fish-based dishes. Moreover, it does not reheat well.
- If you are dealing with veggies, then just pre-chop them. Just give a nice toast at the time of consumption. This will enhance the flavors of the whole dish.
- You can elevate the taste of the dishes just by adding healthy fats! Add avocado, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils to the dishes at the time of consumption.
- Batch cooking includes lots of chopping. So you can use a food processor for your ease.
- It is suggested that you must undercook the veggies when you are keeping them in the freezer. This will delay the deteriorating process and prevent them from becoming soggy.
- Do not overseason the dish as salt and chilies can get stronger over some time.
- It is best to store the dish in portions. This will increase the shelf life of the whole dish.
- Moisture and air are not meant for frozen food and spoil it easily. Thus make sure you squeeze out all the air and moisture from the food before freezing.
- Use the best quality container for storing food in the freezer.
- Use markers and label stickers to note down the date of preservation.
- Clean the refrigerator to avoid contamination.
We are at the end of the article. If you’re finding it hard to save money, try your hands on batch cooking. This process helps you avoid takeout and food waste costs while making the most of bulk pricing and cheaper ingredients. Batch cooking has enormous benefits and is the perfect option for busy bees.