If you have not become familiar with the term “Batch Cooking” hold on to your seat! If you are familiar with this term I hope that you will still learn a few tips of the trade. I have learned from the best of them and I will share all I have learned plus what I have gathered from years of experience. Batch Cooking, to put it simply, is cooking large amounts of food in a short amount of time.
There are many objectives of batch cooking and they differ among individuals. One of the objectives that seems to be a main thread among users of this technique is that they want to get ahead of the game. Meaning, they want to be all set for the week ahead so that they don’t fall prey to temptations.
Another common objective, which is definitely related to the first objective, is that they want to ensure they have healthy choices cooked and ready so that they don’t make unhealthy choices.
The idea behind batch cooking is that you plan out your meals for a desired length of time 5-7 days is typical. Then you shop for all of the ingredients you will need to make those meals. The next step is to set aside a few hours on a weekend, evening or weekday and cook all of the components for those meals you selected. You then either store them in the refrigerator or freezer until you need them. Now that you have kind of a better picture of what this process is let’s get into some of the specifics.
Preparing Your Menu
This is probably the number one step to this process. If you don’t know what you are going to eat for a stretch of time then it is more difficult to shop and cook your foods.
You can plan your menu in a number of ways. You can go through cookbooks, online sites, or your own personal recipes and select out a few of your favorites. One thing to remember in Batch Cooking is that you don’t have to select 7 new meals each week. You will eat some recipes two or maybe three times depending on what it is and how much you make. Plus, many recipes are versatile. This means that you can serve a recipe in many different ways like in a wrap, or in a salad or as a component of a soup, bowl, casserole. Some recipes can easily be adapted for a lunch and then dressed up for a dinner. You will see this later when I take you through an example.
Let’s select out 2-3 recipes at first to get you started.
Creating Your Shopping List
As you go through your selected recipes take note of the duplicate ingredients. Is rice a common thread through a couple of them? Greens, wraps, or beans? This is how you will build your batch cooking process. If you need beans for 2 or 3 meals then you can cook in bulk and have enough beans for all of your meals. This eliminates the need to make three different batches of beans. Same thing goes for rice. All of these ingredients are easily frozen in batches and used for future recipes. Greens can be washed and prepped ahead of time and stored in bags in the refrigerator. Fresh vegetables like celery, onions, carrots, peppers can also be washed, chopped and stored in the refrigerator. Frozen veggies are great because there is no need to prep them – just ensure you have the quantity you need for that week’s Batch Cooking process.
Back in The Kitchen
Okay, you have made your list and gone grocery shopping. Now it is time to start cooking! The recipes that I have chosen for this exercise include: Red Lentil Soup, Cauliflower Dal and Corn and Potato Chowder. (Hint: Follow the link to see the full recipe!) Let’s compare what is in common and what is unique to each of these recipes. Red lentils are common to the Red Lentil Soup and the Dal. Potatoes are common to the Red Lentil Soup and the Corn and Potato Chowder. Cauliflower is common to both the Red Lentil Soup and the Dal. Carrots are common to the Red Lentil Soup and the Corn and Potato Chowder. Onions are in all three. Many of the spices are common to all three, some are unique.
Assemble Those Ingredients
Line them all up according to recipe. From left to right. This is referred to mise en place. Getting everything out and ready will make this process go so much faster. You can waste a lot of time hunting down ingredients during and in between recipes.
- Prep the potatoes for both recipes
- Take out 2 bags of cauliflower from freezer
- Take out 3 bags of onions from freezer
- Measure out lentils for both recipes
- Prep carrots for both recipes
- Measure out the water, veggie broth and liquids as needed
- Measure out the spice mixture for each and place in separate bowls
- Open up all cans – diced tomatoes, tomato paste, etc.
- Work through all of the ingredients and prep according to recipes
Let’s Get Cooking
Get your cookware organized and begin your batch cooking. Brown your onions, heat your spices, add your garlic, cook your lentils, add your veggies, liquid, and potatoes and proceed step by step. In an hour you will have three recipes completed and enough food for two for an entire week. You can supplement your recipes with a batch order of brown rice and frozen veggies.
Ready to Get Started?
Let’s work together on your healthy future!
Feel free to email me directly if you have questions about beginning your personal nutritional journey.
Disclaimer: I am a Nutritional Coach and Culinary Instructor and I have a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies via e-Cornell and a Plant-Based teaching certificate from Dr. Neal Barnard’s Physicans Committee For Responsible Medicine. In addition, I have a plant-based culinary certificate from the Rouxbe Culinary Institute. I stand behind all recipes, recommendations and nutrition information provided. Please read my full Legal and Affiliate Disclaimer for more information.