27 April 2021
Easy dishes to cook in bulk
Whether you call it batch cooking, cooking in bulk or meal prep, there are some wonderful advantages to making your meals ahead of time. Whatever stage you are in in your life, from rushing around as a young adult with limited time to looking for ways to make life easier in retirement, there are advantages of cooking in bulk for all.
In this article, we explore some of these advantages and also suggest some of the easiest dishes to cook in bulk to get you started.
What are the advantages of batch cooking?
It’s only natural to want to save money wherever we can, whether that’s on our stairlift prices or on the food we eat. Cooking in bulk is a great way to do this as you can dramatically lower food waste by only buying what you need and being able to use the full portions you buy. This can be especially true for those who live alone and often find they don’t use the full packet when cooking a meal for one.
Whether you’re tired, in a rush or are just not feeling 100%, it can be easy to forgo cooking a rich, healthy meal for something quick and easy that, although might seem tempting, is probably not going to fulfil you in the long run. By meal prepping, you’ll be able to ensure that you are eating healthy meals as all of the hard work will be done for you.
Bulk cooking is also an easy way to save some time, especially on weeknights. Many people choose to meal prep for the week at the weekend, which means, although you may need to forgo an afternoon of your weekend throughout the week in the evenings you will save plenty of time on food prep and washing up.
Tips for batch cooking
Make two of everything
This is the first in a series of tips offered by Suzanne, The Batch Lady who has released a range of batch cooking books with simple and easy to follow recipes. Suzanne tells us why making two of everything can be a great idea: “I recommend doubling meals, one for the fridge, one for the freezer, that way you get a good variety of meals. Every time you make a meal, make two, one for now, one for another day, all of a sudden you’ve reduced your cooking nights by 50%.”
Use cheat products
For many, the main reason behind starting batch cooking is to lower the strain cooking every day can cause. However, if you are making more intricate dishes that take more work to create then this isn’t being achieved, that’s why it’s important to utilise so-called ‘cheat products’.
Suzanne explains: “Use some cheat products. Ready roll pastry and shop-bought fresh mash potato are made exactly how I would make them at home, yet all the hard work is done for you. You’re still making homemade, just not every single bit of the recipe.”
“Use frozen veg and herbs. It saves so much waste and if you have reduced dexterity, you don’t need to worry about chopping as someone else has done all the hard work.”
Make no-cook meals
Another great suggestion provided by Suzanne is to make ‘no-cook’ meals to make the process easier again. She explains: “Make ‘no cook’ meals. By this I mean meals you can get ready for the freezer without cooking, such as fish pie or stuffed chicken breasts. You make and put in the freezer raw, then cook once needed. This means you can split cooking up into preparing meals and heating meals, so you don’t need to do it all at once. Preparing meals that can be frozen raw and don’t require cooking before freezing means that you can do them sitting down at the kitchen table rather than standing over a cooker.”
Recipes for easy dishes to cook in bulk
So, where to get started? Many of the dishes you already cook on a weekly rotation can be suitable for batch cooking, but if you’d like to try something new, take a look at the suggestions below.
Image Credit: The Batch Lady
Fish pie is an old favourite of many and a classic, feel-good dish that’s perfect for cold nights or summer days. This recipe, created and recommended by The Batch Lady, takes as little as six minutes to put together and can make a lovely, warming fish pie that you can eat at a later time.
As we already know, using preprepared ingredients where possible can not only take the strain off of the cooking but also save time and this recipe is a great example of that.
Tomato, Pepper & Bean One Pot
For a simple, easy to make option that can be customised, this Tomato, Pepper & Bean One Pot meal from BBC Good Food offers a light and healthy option that’s loaded with healthy veggies and proteins. Even better, you’ll limit the washing up as this can be made in one pot! As well as providing the recipe, the BBC also list a range of ways you can serve this dish, so even if you are eating it two days in a row, it doesn’t need to be the same.
Cajun Dirty Rice
This recipe from Pinch of Nom is one of their most popular and for good reason, it’s easy to make, loaded with veg and packs some great flavour. It’s also another dish that you can easily customise by adding in or taking out vegetables as you wish.
For those who like a hot breakfast but never find time in the mornings, these breakfast burritos are a wonderful option. Delicious and filling, they are easy to make and can be cooked straight from frozen in no time. Make them using your favourite breakfast ingredients and know that you can have an easy and tasty breakfast every morning.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Soup is a great meal and one that tastes remarkably better when homemade. Chicken noodle soup is popular worldwide as it can offer a nice, warming meal that will satisfy anyone. This noodle soup recipe has you prep all of your ingredients ahead of time and freeze so that, when you are ready for a fresh portion, all you need to do is place your ingredients in the slow cooker and warm through – easy!
The best easy recipes to cook in bulk
- Fish Pie
- Tomato, Pepper & Bean One Pot
- Cajun Dirty Rice
- Breakfast Burritos
- Chicken Noodle Soup
Whether you are looking to eat healthier, save some time, money or all three, we hope that with the above recipes you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of bulk cooking (and great food!)
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