On impulse one evening I decided I needed to batch cook....the next day! Its not the first time Ive batch cooked but its certainly been a while. Whilst feeling enthusiastic I checked out the fridge, freezer and pantry and worked out what meals I was going to make and what extra ingredients I would need.
Based on this information my menu looked like this
- Gammon dinner with mash and peas
- Beef and ale stew with mash and veg
- Dirty Rice
- Meat balls with couscous and broccoli
- Tortilla boats with mince and rice
Next day off to Home Bargains I go to purchase Tupperware! Yep the dreaded Tupperware but needs must and after what felt like an hour studying the various items on sale I settled on several different sizes. Quick trip to Coop for fresh veg and its off into The Kelly kitchen.
First job is to get the slow cookers on. In one goes a gammon joint and half a can of diet coke. I'l return to this much later.
In the 2nd slow cooker I'm cooking the beef and ale stew. I'm using some rump steak out the freezer. Its never going to get eaten any other way so may as well use it up. I cut it into small chunks, add handful of frozen chopped onions and chardonnay carrots and the beef and ale stock sauce and leave it to cook for 4 hours as per instructions.
Next up is dirty rice, such an easy and tasty meal, freezes well and is incredibly filling.
Start by cooking rice as my perfect rice instructions. Meanwhile in a hot pan fry off some lean bacon with 5% fat mince, chopped onion and any other vegetables of your choice. I added diced peppers. Once the rice is cooked add to the cooked meat/veg and combine well. Add Worcester sauce and Cajun spice to taste. Remember you can add more but you cant take it away so a little at a time. Box up into portions with added speed vegetables. A lot of people are concerned about reheating rice. I'm not an expert but personally I always cool rice quickly then store in fridge or freezer then when reheating ensure it is HOT!
Next up inbetween the washing up is meat balls. By the way top tip when bulk cooking is to keep kitchen tidy as possible and wash up after every meal.
Currently in Iceland you can purchase 3 meat items for £10. I purchased one 5% fat minced beef and two packs of 5% fat meatballs. Of course you can make the meat balls easy enough yourself but I'm all for the simple life. So in a huge saucepan in goes 24 meatballs with carton of passata, cup of water, handful of frozen onions and a sachet of Maggi italian Meatball seasoning which is 3 syns. Bring to boil then leave on a simmer until the meatballs are cooked through.
I boxed these up with vegetable couscous and broccoli.
I had an excess of sauce left over from the meatballs and rice that didnt get used for the dirty rice so waste not want not I had a hunt in the pantry. I found some Old El Paso Stand n Stuff Soft Tortillas, these are 3.5 syns each. I popped one in a box, added meatball sauce, rice, chopped peppers, cherry tomatoes and a bit of cheese.
I've since eaten one of these and its absolutely amazing. Thawed it during the day then pinged in the microwave for a few minutes. DELICIOUS
I'd still got few hours before the slow cooker meals would be ready so used my time to prepare salad and fruit.
Finally the beef stew is ready. Whilst it was cooking I boiled and mashed up some potatoes ready to box up the meals with lots of frozen vegetables
Nearly finished, its been a lot of washing up thats for sure! The gammon is cooked to perfection just crumbling apart. Boxed up with mashed potato and mushy peas. Gorgeous
I added the rest of the gammon to cooked pasta with peas and a squidge of extra light mayo for tasty lunches.
And that's it! After labeling up the boxes and adding to the freezers I'm all done. In addition to these cooked meals I had a freezer organisation and boxed up some frozen foods into boxed meals for added convenience.
One week later - So far Ive tried the meatballs, tortilla, dirty rice and of course Ive eaten the fridge stored pasta and fruits. Ive been impressed with everything so far, no complaints or changes required. Tomorrows meals look like this. We couldnt decide whether to have gammon or beef so got one of each out the freezer so we can choose individually tomorrow evening. My lunch is jacket with couscous and breakfast is overnight oats.
I'd definitely recommend batch cooking. It does take some planning and lots of time. But time spent in one go means less cooking and washing up later! Remember to write a list of what goes in the freezer and knock off as you eat them then you always know what meals you have left.
For more batch cooking ideas please click the links below:
I'd love to know what you like to batch cook, please leave your comments below.