Menu planning and cooking is one of the biggest challenges a lot of moms face. One way to make your life easier is to do bulk or batch cooking. Basically what that means is that you are doubling or tripling recipes every time you cook or setting a side a whole day to do the bulk of your cooking. There are many benefits to cooking this way some of which are:
- Meals are all prepared for those busy nights when you don’t have time to cook or the hectic mornings with the kids.
- You avoid getting fast food or at the grocery store wondering what you are going to have for dinner.
- You clean up only once.
- Saves you time in the kitchen. For example it doesn’t take any more time nor does it dirty any more dishes to brown several pound of hamburger than it does to simply brown one or to cook a large batch of spaghetti sauce.
- When baking by doubling or tripling the recipe and freezing them you will always have dessert, snack or quick breakfasts on hand (I always make extra of muffins, pancakes waffles etc. to have on hand especially for those busy mornings or to grab as a snack for the kids) These items reheat beautifully in the microwave.
Now as wonderful as batch cooking is, it can be overwhelming if you don’t have an organized plan. Here are some ideas to make it easier.
- Get a pen and paper to make a list of what you want to cook. (Make sure to check sales ads so you can stock up on items that are on sale.) From there make a grocery list making sure to account for the extra ingredients you will need. It’s not a time saver if you need to keep running back to the store to pick up ingredients.
- Make sure you are stocked up on freezer bags, labels and freezer proof containers.
- Make sure to label everything with what it is and when it was prepared.
- For items that are in freezer bags make sure to freeze them flat, to save space in your freezer.
- Combine as many steps as you can. Such as chopping all the onions at once for all the recipes that require them.
- Make sure to create an inventory sheet and hang it on your fridge with everything that is in your freezer.
- If cooking full meals in bulk is too much, think about cooking and freezing staple items only such as spaghetti sauce, hamburger, chicken, muffins etc.
Remember you don’t have to do an all day cooking marathon. Simple doubling and tripling recipes when you do your daily cooking will still save you huge amounts of time and simplify your life on the crazy busy days.