Friday, 29 March 2013

Money Saving March: Batch cooking

I'm on a mission to save money in March! I'll be posting three times a week with ideas and challenges. Free free to join in! :)

I sometimes get home from Uni pretty late and the last thing I want to do is cook something from scratch. It would be so much easier to just heat something from the cupboard or freezer, but wait! Cooking from fresh is cheaper and healthier! What a dilemma!

The solution? Get organised. Batch cooking!

Challenge 11 of Money Saving March is to do some batch cooking this bank holiday weekend!

The great thing about batch cooking is that you can just make extra of whatever you're having for dinner, then reheat it for lunch the next day or stick it in the fridge/freezer for a later date!

What sort of things are good for batch cooking? Anything that can be frozen and reheated easily is great because you can make a few day's worth of meals at once without having to eat the same soup every night for a week! Meals like chilli, soup, pasta bake, curry, cottage pie and stews freeze well and can be separated into portions for easy reheating later on.

Don't forget you can also make all sorts of desserts to freeze for a later date - no more excuses about eating the whole batch of cookies before it goes stale!

Food safety: Make sure you stick the food in the fridge or freezer as soon as it's cool enough to do so. DON'T leave it out on the side for hours - bacteria can breed on food left at room temperature. Defrost frozen food in the fridge overnight. Reheat food thoroughly so that it is piping hot all the way through. :)

My batch cooking:
I don't know about you, but I have five days off for Easter! It's a pain to be busy all day and then come home and cook, so I have pre-made some stuff for us to eat! 

Today I was making pasties, so I made extra pastry and turned the rest into a quiche that we can have for lunch for the next couple of days.

Whilst the oven was still hot, I decided to make some carrot cake using this recipe. The orange-flavoured icing really makes it taste delicious, although I definitely should have sifted the icing sugar first!! I made two cakes and stuck the un-iced one in the freezer for future snacking! :)

I also made some sweet potato soup using Anthony Worrall Thompson's recipe, but I forgot to take a photo!

We had vegetable chilli for dinner, so I made twice as much to store in the freezer for an easy evening meal.

All in all I spent about two and a half hours preparing and cooking enough food for six meals each for the two of us, plus 16 pieces of cake! :) By investing time in cooking this weekend, I can have hassle-free meals later on, with less cooking time and most importantly, less washing up!

Do you batch cook? Care to share some recipes? :)


GreenFlag said...

The quiche sounds really nice. I watched the Country Show Cook Off this week. There were some good techniques shown on there.

heleng said...

Your food looks yummy. And yes, I do the same as you and make double of meals and freeze half, and if making pastry I'll make a big load and use some for a couple of pies, or just freeze the extra as it is so I have pastry just waiting to be defrosted to make a flan. I have a very large slowcooker which is great for batch cooking stews, soups, fillings for shepherd's pie etc.

Pam M said...

Try this one - it's yummy! Tastes much better the next day too. Makes a large amount, so I often make it at the weekend, then I've got evening meals sorted for a few nights.

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