Batch cooking involves buying foods in bulk, separating them into smaller portions, and freezing them for later consumption. Not only does this process save you loads of time, it also saves you money as well.
With the introduction of warehouse-style supermarkets several years ago, buying in bulk and saving money has never been easier. There are several tips for batch cooking and freezing that can help you save money and valuable time as well.
Buying in Bulk:
The most important component of buying in bulk is to learn your prices. Begin with an excursion to your local supermarket and notate the prices per pound of several types of meat that are on sale. Once you have gained sufficient knowledge of the best price you can obtain per pound for meats, fish, and poultry, you are ready to begin buying those items in a warehouse-style supermarket.
Lists and Recipes:
Once you have acclimated yourself with prices, it is important to do some research regarding which recipes you wish to use. Make a list of the ingredients on a master list and from that point, create a list of duplicate ingredients necessary to make those meals. You will begin to notice that many of the recipes require the same ingredients such as marinades and spices. Keeping a well-stocked pantry of ingredients such as chicken broth, spices, and marinades will be a good basis for your batch-cooking endeavor.
Taking the time and trouble, initially, to write recipes down on individual index cards will be the best investment in time when it comes to batch cooking and freezing.
Cooking and Storing:
With knowledge of pricing and a master list in hand, you are now ready to buy in bulk. After your shopping trip, make sure to go home and immediately separate your meats and poultry in smaller portions for each recipe. Refrigerate what you are not using now and cook as you go along.
When buying chop meat on sale, separate it into individual portions as soon as you return home. This way, you will be able to create many different recipes such as hamburgers, meatballs, a meatloaf, and even a tex-mex casserole.
When buying poultry, try to find whole chicken breast that you can slice and dice yourself. Chicken breast that is not already cut up is much less expensive than cutlets that have been sliced for you. This will save you even more money. You can then slice those chicken breasts into cutlets or strips. Chicken strips can be used to toss into a salad, inside a fajita or mixed with rice and beans for a quick and healthy meal later on.
Storing your recipes can be done as a whole food, such as meatloaf, or in individual containers, such as soup. Invest in medium size containers, plastic freezer bags, and tin foil so you can properly label and store your batch cooking.
Batch cooking is an age-old tradition that saves you loads of time and lots of money as well.