Monday, June 24, 2013

Simple Kitchen Tip -- Batch Cooking

When I was pregnant with Hannah I wanted to have a freezer full of meals or parts of meals, so that once she was born meals would be quick and easy.  (By the time she was born, I had the prep work for almost thirty meals in the was great not to have to think about major cooking for over a month!)

I started "batch cooking" and have been doing it ever since!

Two loaves of bread rising.

When some people batch cook, they make complete meals to place in the freezer for later (also called freezer cooking).  When I batch cook, I prefer to make meal "parts" to freeze for use later.  This then becomes "convenience food" that is easy to pull out and make into supper in less than 30 minutes.

My mixer will mix up two loaves of bread at once, and I have two loaf pans, so I always make two loaves of bread at once...we are currently going through about one loaf a week, so one loaf goes in the fridge and one into the freezer for later.

My mixer is also big enough to make two quarts of North Woods Dressing at I make two at a time.  We are currently going through about one quart each week.  The extra quart easily lasts two weeks in the fridge.

My water-bath canner holds seven quart-sized jars, so I make seven quarts of yogurt at once.  This lasts us about two weeks.

4 quarts of yogurt in the making -- now I make 7 quarts at once!

We just got our third batch of fresh frozen chickens from Long Shadow Farm (Randall, MN).  These are great free range chickens at a great price.  We have been very happy with them!  I can fit two chickens in my oven at once, so I cook two at once!  Then I remove all the meat from the bones and freeze in meal sized portions.  I get five to six meals from each chicken.  Then I make broth with all the bones in the crockpot and freeze the broth too.  I also use the drippings to make a large batch of gravy and then freeze the gravy in meal sized portions. 

I don't do this as often as I should, but browning several pounds of ground beef at once would be easy to do and then freeze in meal-sized portions.

I also try to make biscuits, muffins and cookies in double batches -- one to eat and one to put in the freezer for later!

The only whole meal that I make ahead and freeze is chicken wild rice soup...the recipe I have will feed our family for three meals and reheats from frozen in the toaster oven in under an hour!

It is often very little extra work to make a double or triple batch of something and saves so much time (and dishes) later!  If you haven't tried it, give it a go and see how you like it.  You may prefer to batch prep parts of meals instead of the entire meal(like I do)!

What do you batch cook?

Linking to Modest Monday at The Modest Mom & Natural Living Monday at Modern Alternative Health.


  1. Yes, yes! I'm definitely a fan of batch cooking over complete freezer meals. It's so easy to double up on so many real food basics, and I love the convenience of ready-to-go meal components.

    I like to batch cook tortillas (3-4 dozen at a time, freeze half), cookie dough (I freeze it in balls on a cookie sheet then transfer to ziplock bag), and seasoned meat like taco meat or the filling for our favorite lasagna.

    Of to go check out your dressing recipe! Thanks for the inspiration in this post!

  2. I'd love to figure out how to make tortillas quickly and easily! I've quite making them since having more than one kid -- LOL! Just buying the cook and serve ones from Costco...not too bad ingredient wise but not perfect either.