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Batch cooking can save you a lot of time because you are preparing or cooking food in large batches that can be spread out over the course of a week (or even a month). You can learn more about the benefits of batch cooking (and meal planning) here.
But, what if you don’t like to cook? What if you downright hate it?
You may dislike cooking because it takes you away from other more interesting activities. You may not like to cook because it makes a huge mess in the kitchen and you spend as much time cleaning as you do cooking. Or, you just may not be any good at it and your dishes never turn out the way they’re supposed to and you’re just too frustrated to step back into the kitchen.
Whatever your reasons are for not wanting to cook, there are some tips to help you face your kitchen demons so you can start preparing and cooking healthy, nutritious meals for you and your family again.
Batch cooking is every cook’s (and non-cook’s) dream because you only have to set aside one day a week to do all the cooking. Then the rest of the week is a cinch to throw dinner together, 20-30 minutes tops.
If you are interested in meal planning but don’t know where to start, I recommend checking out Real Plans. They offer custom meal planning for all diets, schedules, and tastes. Their meal planning app saves about $50 a week in groceries for the average user. That’s $200 each month, plus less stress since you’ll have a plan. You’ll also have less food waste, which will save you money too!
10 Helpful Batch Cooking Tips
Give yourself a break if you didn’t turn out like a Betty Crocker or Sara Lee. No worries! Follow these tips and you’ll be whipping up dinners like a pro in no time!
- K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Silly! People who don’t like to cook should choose simple, easy recipes to cook. Don’t try to be elaborate with your meals. (Leave that to the fancy restaurants.) Choose dishes that don’t require a lot of cooking, like crockpot meals where you just throw everything into the crockpot, or soups and stews where you just chop and throw into your pot.
- Make a plan of action. Prepare ahead of your batch cooking session and make sure you know every dish you’re going to make, create your shopping list, know who is going to help in the kitchen on the cooking day, and how you’re going to attack each one of your recipes. This will take some time and energy initially, but then it’ll be smooth sailing the day of your batch cooking.
- Schedule your batch session. Pick a day and time that you’re the least busy and it won’t interfere with any activities. This will allow you to stay focused on the job at hand and quickly get in and out of the kitchen. Try not to plan anything on this day at this time so you can crank out all the meals.
- Make freezer meals ahead of time. Not all of these dishes will be eaten within the next couple of days, so buy some containers or bags and make some meals you can store in your freezer. Then at the end of the week, you can just grab, thaw and reheat. Voila! Dinner is served!
- Assign a kitchen helper. If messes make you wanna scream, then ask your partner or children to help out in the kitchen during your batch cooking session. Give them roles to make them feel like they are contributing to the family’s efforts. If you live alone or no one is around when you’re cooking, make sure your dishwasher is empty, open and ready to go. Then you can just put your dirty dishes in as you go along. Or, keep a sink full of warm soapy water so you can wash or rinse as you cook. Make it easy on yourself!
- Inspect your kitchen and utensils first before you start. If the kitchen is cluttered and many of the utensils you need are dirty, then do a load in the dishwasher, put away the dishes to clear off the counters and wipe down your stove from the last meal before you begin. Make sure you start with a clean kitchen. Take out the trash if it’s full so you have an empty one for your cooking session. Also, take a look at your knives and make sure they aren’t dull. If they need to be sharpened, then sharpen them. You want everything to be in top shape so it’s easier for you to move throughout the kitchen.
- Lay out everything you will need before you start cooking. To avoid frantically racing around the kitchen looking for utensils, containers, bags or equipment, get out everything needed beforehand so it’s easy to grab as you go.
- Prepare the food first, then cook it. If you have to chop up your vegetables, slice your meat or blend your sauces, do all of the prep work first, then cook everything. It’ll be much easier to do similar tasks together instead of spreading yourself thin between many different jobs. You won’t be as flustered and you won’t have to worry about something burning on the stove while you chop up something on the counter.
- Label everything. Once you’re done cooking, make sure every bag and container have a date on it and labeled with what the food is. That way you’ll not only know what’s inside but when you made it in case it needs to sit in the fridge or freezer longer than expected.
- Remember to have fun during your session. If you view this cooking session as a chore, then it’s going to feel like a chore. But if you get the whole family involved, put on some fun, upbeat music and enjoy the moment, you’ll get so much more out of the experience. Not only will you be making healthy, nutritious meals for your family and saving yourself time during the week, but you’ll be practicing and improving your cooking/kitchen skills, and teaching your kids how to cook and why it’s important to eat whole, real food. A win-win for everyone!