While I batch cook most of the year round I always wait for the sales to purchase big ticket items such as a food processor, cooking pots or knife sets. Black Friday is coming up and I’m sure you are thinking about what offers you might scoop up, so I have put together a list of products and what you should be looking for depending on your budget.
Its not practical to cook separate meals for your baby, welcome to the world of batch cooking!
If you are not already batch cooking your own food - as soon as your baby starts to wean, you’ll realise it’s not practical to cook every meal. Batch cooking will just become part of your weekly routine.
What you will need is:
- Food Processor
- Stock Pot
- Silicon Moulds
- Slow Cooker
- Portion Pots
A question I get a lot in regards to preparing food for your baby is ‘what food processor or blender should I invest in?’. There are some baby cook machines on the market and they do everything from cooking to blending to a purée, however they might only last you for the year of weaning. I would recommend that you look at investing in a Food Processor, so it can be used for all the family. You may have a blender already at home but a food processor will allow you to do so much more. Especially when you are looking to add more texture to your baby’s meals.
What is the difference between a Food Processor and a Blender?
A food processor typically requires little to no liquid during use, unlike a blender, which requires a set amount of liquid in order for the blade to properly blend the food. Food processors are used to blend, chop, dice, and slice, allowing for quicker meal preparation.
You can start to use a food processor as early as your baby is ready for solid food. Most food processors have different size bowls which allow you to make single purées in the early stages of weaning. Then, as you move along with the weaning process you will want to use the large bowl to batch cook and blend your baby’s meals. I do think that if you can afford a model that has a good motor then go for that, as it will last you for longer. From blending nuts to making a fine purée a good motor will make the difference. However in saying that there can be a big difference in price and some of the cheaper versions will do the job.
Here are the important features when choosing a food processor:
- Motor Power 600W-800W - any lower and your motor will overheat.
- Capacity 2ltrs plus
- Pulse Function
- Chop, slice, grate, purée, blend
- Dishwasher Safe
- Safety lock
- Material - BPA Free
- Warranty - at least 2 years and 3-5 years on the motor
Brands I have used and like are:
I have had my Magimix now for over 15 years and it's still going strong. It is an investment but I have found it is definitely worth it. I use the pulse mode a lot to chop my vegetables when batch cooking.
I purchased this for my shoots because my Magimix was getting a battering! It’s great value and almost always included in Black Friday deals. I would say that it’s not as good as my Magimix when blending nuts to make nut butter. My motor has overheated a few times. However, it does the job and at a great price it's a good entry level product.
I love my Kitchenaid mixer. It's constantly on the go. I got the chance to use the Kitchenaid food processor when I was running my Live Weaning classes out in Kal showrooms here in Dublin. Not only is it a practical product, they are the most beautiful product so you won’t want to put it away in the press! From my short time using it I would say it's just as good as the Magimix. So if you come across one in the Black Friday sale be sure to snap it up.
If you are like me and you quadruple the ingredients when making say a Bolognese then you will need a large stock pot to cook it in. You can also use this to make soups, stews and sauces.
Choose from 6L to 18L but be mindful of the size of your hob. I personally use a 7.5L pot and it’s big enough to make a batch cook of food. It’s also not too difficult to store.
Make sure it is made of a thick heavy bottom to prevent burning. Remember you will be cooking it for a long time and so the material must be resistant. You don’t want the food to stick or burn on the bottom because it's made of cheap material. It's important to invest in a good quality stock pot.
Silicon Muffin Moulds
After you use a silicone muffin mould I promise you, you will never turn back! No more prepping and best of all no more scrapping the muffin out of the tray.
When you are purchasing make sure they have the following:
- Made from premium food grade silicone
- BPA free
- Heat resistant up to 230°C
- Dishwasher safe
I love to use my slow cooker at the weekend. I prepare the meal in the morning, head off for the day and when I get home the meal is ready. I am also a huge fan of beef or lamb in a slow cooker as it tenderises the meat. A slow cooker is perfect for preparing meals for your baby.
So what do you need to know about purchasing a slow cooker? The main point is that they don’t have to be expensive like a food processor but do look for the following:
- Removable insert so that you can brown off veg or meat
- Metal insert so that it's easy to clean and dishwasher safe
- Glass lid - so that you can look inside without taking off the lid and letting the heat escape
- Size - the bigger the better! I have a 6L Crockpot and it's the perfect size
- Warming Function - great to reheat food from the fridge
Last but certainly not least, portion pots to safely store and portion your family meals. There is no point doing all that batch cooking if you can’t store it! All our pots are BPA free, reusable and recyclable. They range in size from a 1oz/30ml to a 24oz/710ml pot.
When looking for suitable containers make sure they have the following:
- BPA Free and safe for your family
- Freezer friendly
- Dishwasher Safe
The added advantage of our Mummy Cooks weaning and portion pots
- Weaning & Portion pots help parents portion for the whole family
- Portion pots - come with the same lid
- Translucent so you can see what food is inside
- You get enough pots to batch cook and store all your family meals