Search online for batch cooking and you’ll find millions of search results. It’s kind of a big deal. If you’re a mom, there’s a good chance you know what batch cooking is and have done it before. You’ve experienced the hours of sweating in the kitchen with freezer bags and plastic containers up to your ears. Not to mention the disastrous mess it leaves behind.
It’s so worth it right? You must be saving a ton of time with all those precooked meals. It’s just a small investment with a huge return. But, does it really save time?
It’s no shocker but moms are tired, like really tired. We already spend plenty of time preparing stuff whether that’s cooking, cleaning, planning family activities/events, etc. We all want to have an entire months’ worth of meals ready to eat, but how many busy moms have the time or the energy to batch cook like that?
I’ve batch cooked a total of three times. Each time I ended up hating it. I read through multiple batch cooking how-to articles and sought out the best storage solutions. In the end, only one method worked for me. Having experienced it, I know what works best for me allowing me to save time and energy. I can still get ready-made meals without spending a lot of time, using up a bunch of plastic, or destroying the kitchen.
To Batch or Not to Batch
When I batch cooked, I spent an entire day and sometimes two days to batch cook meals not accounting for meal planning. I was exhausted. I started out excited at the idea of having weeks’ worth of meals ready to eat. That excitement quickly turned to misery after the fifth hour standing in the kitchen. Can you relate?
Batch cooking, while rewarding, is just not sustainable for most people. If you break down the amount of time it takes to batch cook, it might surprise you. Let’s say you batch cook once a week and it takes on average 6 hours per week. Sometimes it can be more. That’s an entire 24 hours a month standing in the kitchen to prepare (maybe) two weeks’ worth of meals. Think of what you could do with that time instead of sweating in the kitchen.
Is there another way to batch cook? Yes! and it will save you more time than traditional batch cooking. And you might already be doing it and not realizing it.
Save More Time in the Kitchen with This Method
I cooked when it was time cook. So, when I cook a meal (I do this at dinner), I cook double, triple or more of what I’m already making. Sounds simple and maybe even a lot like batch cooking. Instead, it’s a simpler and faster approach to batching.
Since I was already using the stove, the pressure cooker, or the slow cooker, and/or blender, it was little effort to add a larger quantity of that food item. For example, my family loves rice and quinoa. We have no problem eating that every day even twice daily. That’s how much we love it. So, when I cook rice, I cook triple the quantity.
The same applies to meats. Instead of cooking one or two chicken breasts, cook a half dozen or more either in the pressure cooker for less mess (even better) or in the oven. The way I see it is that if I’m going to be in the kitchen and using energy (my physical energy and electricity) I might as well make good use of the tools available to me.
There’s no name for this kind of cooking, I just call it making extra. You can take the extra servings, pack them up, either put them in the fridge or freezer. I don’t always pre-portion because I like to be able to create a meal to my tastes. Portioning a set meal in a container is great for lunches or for those crazy nights where you don’t want to think but just heat and serve.
When cooking extra servings, you can spend as little as an extra 20 minutes per meal. Let’s say you’re making four more servings of potatoes and chicken making it an additional 20 minutes 5–7 days per week. That comes out to 2.5 hours per week. That saves almost 4 hours per week! When you’re strapped for time, that’s substantial.
Save Yourself the Hassle
Maybe you’ve already been doing this, and it never occurred to you that you were already batch cooking but on a smaller scale. If you are someone who doesn’t have hours in a week to batch cook like the pros on social media, this is a great option. You get to have ready-made meals without the sweat and the mess.
Think about how you can make this work for you. Maybe you spare the extra few minutes every day or only once a week but it’s doable even if your schedule is tight. What’s so great about this method is that it’s flexible and for busy moms, having flexibility is so important.
Never again will you need to swim in freezer bags and containers of food. Oh and almost forgot the crazy amount of mess that comes with a full day event like batch cooking. Who’s got time for that?