Batch Cooking: 6 Dinners in 90 Minutes
Batch cooking is not always my favorite method of meal prep. I’d rather spend 30 minutes each night making dinner than several house on the weekend.
Sometimes, however, it’s necessary to put in the extra time (and dishes) to get through a busy week. Healthy dinners are already made and it’s one less thing to get squeezed into the day.
This past weekend I made 6 dinners for a friend. Granted….it’s much easier to do this for one or two people than for a large family. But the same idea can be applied, cook once…eat twice. If you’re firing up the grill, go ahead and grill pork chops too and have something for the next day. Load up the crockpot even more to have lunches for a few days. You get the idea.
This was my method to cranking out 6 dinners and only taking 90 minutes (not counting dish cleaning time)….
- 6 meals = 3 methods of cooking
- What does this mean? It means I dived 6 meals in three groups. 2 meals would be in the oven, 2 in my covered baker (Crockpot if you have the time), and 2 on the grill.
- I can have the microwave cooking food in my baker, the oven cooking a large dish with two meals, and the grill with two different burgers…all at the same time.
- Yes..this takes planning it out so you aren’t running like crazy. Stagger the “end” times so you aren’t flipping burgers when you need to get something out of the oven.
Oven = zucchini boats and mini Italian sausage meatloaves
Grill = feta & pear burgers and pizza burgers
Deep Covered Baker (Microwave) = spinach & feta stuffed chicken and turkey pepperoni pizza chicken
2. 6 meals = 3 different protein sources
- Because I was cooking for one, I could buy a package of chicken, chicken sausage and lean ground beef. Then divide each into two.
- Two chicken dishes, two chicken sausage dishes, two ground beef dishes. You’ll notice this in the pictures above.
- For a bigger family: purchase a family size package of chicken, a few containers of beef, etc.
- This allows for variety of meals as you cook!
3. Start with all the chopping/dicing/slicing and divide ingredients into different piles.
- Sometimes I will use paper plates to write ingredients on. For example I will write “1 cup chopped onion” and so on. Then I take one plate at a time and get to chopping.
- I add the ingredient to that plate and move on to the next. Putting the plate with the correct pile of ingredients for that meal.
- Chopping/slicing/dicing takes 65% of meal preparation time (on average) so get to this first instead of racing to chop a bell pepper while something is on the grill.
4. Add in a few veggies. As long as you don’t get tired of the same ones, I usually pick two and make plenty to divide over the meals.
- Frozen green beans. They cook fast and some salt and pepper is all they need. Since they are “flash frozen” they taste fresh! I make them in my micro-cooker which allows me to steam veggies fast in my microwave. (BPA free)
- Zucchini squash. I bought extra from my zucchini boast. I seeded and diced them. Sautéed them in a light amount of olive oil and salt and pepper. I dived both the green beans and the squash over five of the different meals. (I didn’t add veggies to the zucchini boats as they were already in a veggie!)
5. I went to the dollar store and bought some inexpensive disposable containers.
- Lay out all the empty containers so they are open and ready.
- As the meals finish (you will have two meals finish at once) you divide them into the containers.
- Once they are all done, I flip the lids so the white portion is on top and label the meal.
And you’re ready to go! Can be refrigerated, frozen or delivered to a friend. The more you go after batch cooking, the more your own style grows. Some people love it. Some people hate it. And if you’re like me, you like it when it’s the best solution to a busy week! Far better on budget and waistline than eating out.
I’d love to hear from you! What do you like…or not like about batch cooking?
One thought on “Batch Cooking: 6 Dinners in 90 Minutes”