Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Batch Cooking

I have never done a full-fledged "once a month cooking day." I know some people swear by it, but for me in this season of life (5 months pregnant with a 17 month old to chase around and no extra help during the day), spending an entire day on my feet (can we say 'ouch'?) in the kitchen isn't feasible. It's definitely something I'd like to try before too, too long though, if I can get some help from one of my sweet younger siblings-in-law. However, in the meantime, I have really started developing a liking for batch cooking.

When I cook, I have started to occasionally double the recipe or parts of the recipe and freeze to have on hand. In the last couple weeks, I have done this with hash browns, meatballs, spaghetti sauce, enchilada sauce, beans, garlic bread, and cooked, shredded chicken. On especially busy days (or even just days when I have the 'blahs'--y'all have those days, right?), it has been so nice to have some home made, healthy convenience foods on hand. I have enjoyed it so much that I plan to make it a habit.

Tonight, I'm planning to make a big batch of meatballs and freeze enough for another couple of meals, and I plan to make up some pizza kits when I make pizza Friday, consisting of frozen dough, pre-shredded cheese, and sauce, when I fix pizza on Friday. If I make up three kits for the freezer, they'll last us until next month if we have pizza every week. So much healthier and tastier than store-bought frozen pizzas, and hardly much harder to get on the table!

The thing I really love about this method of freezer cooking is that it's not really any extra work. Doubling or tripling something I'm already making only requires extra ingredients and a little bit of time to package up the finished product in a freezer-friendly way.

Have y'all tried batch cooking? What do you do to minimize your work in the kitchen while still providing nourishing, frugal meals for your family?

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

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