This may seem counterintuitive for me to declare, especially considering I have spent over a year producing blogs about food and eating, but I hate cooking.
There, I said it.
Some people feel alive when they cook, feeling invigorated by the entire experience. I am not like that. Don’t get me wrong: objectively I am good at cooking; I just don’t like doing it. It’s such a chore! And I have to eat every day? Multiple times? Get outta here. I have too much else to do to stand around and cook! I’m a writer, gosh darn it! I need to be editing and taking calls from Hollywood executives who are optioning my book (just let me have my fantasy here) – I can’t be making food all day!
Due to my desire to be as free as possible on weeknights, I’ve slipped into the habit of batch cooking.
What is Batch Cooking?
Batch cooking is the practice of using a chunk of time, usually on the weekend, to make a big meal or two that can be frozen and thawed for later. This practice is fantastic to save you time and energy later in the week, particularly if you don’t mind eating the same things over again. Here are some tips:
Organise, Organise, Organise
The most important thing you can do in batch cooking is to prepare and be organised. The entire point of batch cooking is premised on the idea that you aren’t a ‘leave it to the last minute’ kind of person, and you like doing things in advance. My tip here is to fully embrace your type-A personality: plan out huge batch cooking recipes. Reserve an entire afternoon to get things ready. Make sure all of your ingredients are bought and ready ahead of time and that you have all of the big equipment ready for use. While you’re at it, download a podcast or two, or set up some Netflix while you cook. If you’re going to be stuck in the kitchen for a few hours, you can still keep yourself entertained!
Make More Than One Recipe
This one is important for me at least. I’ve mentioned before that I need some variation in my meals. While I absolutely love lasagna, after having it three nights in a row even I can get sick of it. My solution to this is to make a few different options in advance. Maybe I make a big pot of stew, but at the same time, I’ll get a slow-cooker chicken curry going as well as a lasagna. If I’m going to spend an entire afternoon cooking, I’m going to at least make a few different options!
Portion in Advance
This is important just for freezing – you don’t want to freeze an entire vat of soup just to have to thaw all of it if you only want one bowl! Let common sense dictate how you freeze your batch-cooked meals by estimating how much you’ll want for a given lunch or dinner.
Have you tried out batch cooking? What works best for you?