Saving Time and Money with Batch Cooking

With busy schedules it is often difficult to have time to cook from scratch meals at home.  But eating out can end up being expensive and may not be as healthy as cooking at home.  Some people use batch cooking to save time and money.

The main concept of batch cooking is doing a portion or all of the preparation or cooking ahead of time.

One type of batch cooking is also known as freezer cooking.  If you are making a meal such as meatloaf, lasagna or other casserole, buy ingredients to make one or two extra.  It doesn’t take any more time and effort to make more than one if you have the ingredients out.  Make extra meals and cover the pans with foil and freeze until they are needed.  Take the item out of the freezer the night before you are planning on cooking it and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator.  Then when you get home you can cook it and have a easy, hot meal.

Another way if you have a small household, is to cook lasagna, casserole and other items and freeze the leftovers in individual sized portions.  These portions can be thawed to take as lunch or reheated for an evening meal.

Cook up a large amount of ground beef, chicken breasts or other meat to use at a later time.  You may be able to get a better price per pound of meat if you purchase by a larger quantity.  Cook the meat the freeze in portions to be used in a variety of meals such as chili, tacos, casseroles, etc.  Chicken can be used in fajitas, tacos, and other meals.

When you get home from grocery shopping or some other time that you have extra time, chop and prepare your produce for the week.  It will save you time when you are cooking a meal if you have vegetables sliced or cubed ahead of time.

Instead of freezing an entire meal item, you may prefer to prepare and freeze the sauce and cook the pasta or rice when you are cooking the meal.  Many times pasta and rice may get mushy after being frozen.  To get around this, make a large batch of sauce and freeze in meal size portions and add to noodles or rice at meal time.

In addition to meal items, dessert items can be frozen such as cookie dough and bread.  You can either bake cookies and freeze them or mix up the cookie dough  and freeze so they can be baked later.  Cookie dough can either be frozen in rolled logs or spooned out and frozen.

One way to save time and money when cooking is by batch cooking.