Batch cooking or meal prepping homemade meals will save you time and money! Having meals prepped and stored away in the fridge or freezer, makes those busier weeknights easier by ensuring you don't have to cook every night. Our top tips for Meal Prep and Batch Cooking will ensure you will get the most out of the process!
1. Choose your recipes wisely
Decide on the four or five recipes you’re going to make in one session, do one big shop so you have everything. Double-check that you have all the spices and canned goods your recipe requires. Don’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to freezer meals. Prepare meals you’re familiar with, and ones that the family loves. Stews, soups and casseroles are classic freezer friendly dishes. Try our Chilli Con Carne for the perfect batch cooking meal.
2. Have the right containers
Having the right containers on hand will ensure you freeze your food in a safe way for the whole family. Our portion pots are perfect for portioning and storing your family's meals. They're freezer-safe, leak proof and BPA free and come in a range of sizes for the whole family; from weaning pots to family sizes
3. Use your food processor
Don't bother hand chopping 6 onions and two heads of garlic – you will never want to batch cook again! Instead, use your food processor to help whenever you can for the most efficient cooking. Our Baby Food Chopper is a handheld chopper, that allows you to easily chop raw vegetables and requires no electricity; making chopping veg quick and easy
4. Double up
You can easily double up most recipes - do this whenever you cook something you know you and your family will enjoy again. Spaghetti Bolognese is a perfect example, as it is an absolute classic and is so versatile. Store it in Portion Pots to be used in different ways such as with pasta, in an Easy Shepherd's Pie or served as Sloppy Joes throughout the week.
5. Under cook vegetables
For some recipes, such as soups and stews, aim to under cook your vegetables slightly. They will get a second round of cooking when preparing the meal at a later stage. This will ensure freshness and prevent them becoming mushy during the second cooking! Try this Minestrone Soup - perfect for batch cooking and baby-friendly too! Simply reduce cooking time by about 10 minutes and freeze before blending for the best results.
6. Cool foods fully
Let all dishes come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before freezing them. Never let them stay at room temperature for more than 2 hours as this encourages bacteria growth. If freezing, cool in the fridge for about ½ an hour at least before you pop anything in the freezer. When defrosting, transfer the container to the fridge overnight or heat it directly in the container; never let food defrost on the counter top!
There’s no point freezing 4 litres of Chicken Noodle Soup in one solid block unless you intend on using it all at once. Freezing or storing meals in the portion sizes you need in advance helps minimise food waste and makes it handy for you to grab exactly what you need, when you need it. Our Mummy Cooks Portion Pots come in 10 different sizes to suit all your storage needs whether you are batch cooking dips like Baked Falafels, Hummus, or a full meal like Chicken Casserole.
8. Label everything
Label all your batch cooks with the name of the contents and date you cooked it. Always use any frozen meals within 3 months. This will ensure you don't lose any nutrients and enjoy the best flavour from all your cooking!
9. Don't forget!
When batch cooking and freezing meals, it can be easy to forget about containers hidden at the back of the freezer. To avoid this and ensure you maximise the benefits of batch cooking, rearrange your freezer once a month and bring the foods that need to be used up first to the front. This will avoid any waste as well as remind you of what you have stored away.
At Mummy Cooks, we have a wealth of advice on feeding your family. We cover everything from meal prep and slow cooker recipes to moving baby on to family foods and preparing food safely. So whether you're looking for quick and easy meal ideas or want to learn more about healthy eating, we've got you covered - Feeding the Family Advice page