Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Benefits of Batch Cooking | Family Economics
While I write day-in and day-out about spending less on your dinners, at the grocery store and on food in general, I also believe that the way you spend your time in the kitchen is just as essential as how you spend your money. The less time you spend on food preparation, the more time you have to spend with your family.
Batch cooking is a concept that I use in my kitchen several times a week. The idea is to work on more than one thing while you are in the kitchen. While the chili that you are having for dinner simmers on the stovetop, use those few minutes to get some muffin batter whipped together and put in the oven. As you clean up from dinner, mix up a batch of granola and cook it while you watch your favorite prime time show.
Here are a few tricks to get you started on your next batch cooking plan.
1. Create a batch cooking plan around the store sales. Save more by centering your plan around sales. If ground beef or chuck is on sale, plan to buy a few packages, enough to make some spaghetti sauce, meatballs, meat loaf and taco meat. If chicken breasts are on sale during the summer months, plan to grill four to five packages worth of chicken breasts. Once grilled, they can be sliced, diced or shredded and then frozen. If pork tenderloin is on sale, buy a large one and slice off a few pork chops then roast the remaining tenderloin. When you can get these products at their lowest price, you’ll be able to save yourself both money at the store, and time on meal prep in the kitchen.
2. Work the plan into your schedule. Once you’ve decided your batch cooking plan for the week, look at your schedule and see where you can squeeze in the extra cooking. Is there a dinner on your meal plan that needs time to simmer on the stove or bake in the oven? Use that cooking time to work on other dishes. Maybe you are home one morning each week and can use the time just after breakfast to start a meal in the slow cooker, and get some breakfast tacos assembled and put into the freezer.
Having both a plan for what to cook and a plan for when to cook is essential for successful batch cooking!
Do you ever do any batch cooking? Have you found that it helps you stay ahead of yourself in the kitchen with the meal prep?