Common sense summertime batch cooking

In my kitchen, batch cooking comes to the rescue time and time again, no matter the season.

We tend to think of cooking in big batches as a fall and winter time-saving trick – great cauldrons of chili, pots of soup and applesauce – but it is just as applicable in the warm weather months as well. It won’t be hearty stews and deep-dish lasagnas, but everyday basics that help give us a jump-start on dinner or dessert.

Batch cooking can help simplify summertime eating, even if it is just a big jar of salad dressing shaken together ahead of time. If planning ahead means you can stay an extra hour at the beach, then why not implement a few double or triple recipes into your menu plan?


Tangy Quinoa Spring Salad Cups | Simple Bites

Grains & Pulses

We eat a lot of hearty grain and pulse salads in summer, bulked up with market-fresh vegetables and garden herbs. Favourites include Black Bean and Farro Salad with Cumin-Lime Vinaigrette and Tangy Quinoa Salad Cups.  I cook big batches of lentils and chickpeas and freeze them in 2-cup portions for adding to salads. I much prefer the taste of home-cooked pulses to canned.

I occasionally freeze grains, but most often I cook a big batch of quinoa, brown rice or farro and keep it in the refrigerator for salads and side dishes.

homemade chicken stock

Stock and broth

In summer I do my stock in a slow cooker for a few reasons. One, I’m seldom home long enough to simmer a pot for 7 hours straight but I can leave a slow cooker to simmer all day. Secondly, it also doesn’t heat up the kitchen (as much). I’ll cook a basic brown stock, chicken stock or vegetable stock, depending on what I have on hand.

how to cook dried beans

Beans of all kinds

Beans are another pulse that I cook in mass quantities, usually in the slow cooker, and then freeze. We love refried beans for quesedillas or our favourite, Mexican Molletes with avocado. Here’s my simple guide to cooking beans. Keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze them in their own juices.

Baking

cookie dough | Common sense summertime batch cooking

On cooler summer days, we bake, and it is seldom a single recipe. We may be making a few loaves of Best Ever Zucchini Bread or a few recipes of Red Lentil Sweet Potato Biscuits, but if we’re heating the kitchen for one pan, we may as well make two.

Cookie dough is mixed up in great batches, scooped onto trays and frozen in balls. We bake them off, a dozen at a time here and there, for picnics or parties. We love the whole wheat chocolate chunk recipe from Brown Eggs and Jam Jars, as well as this double chocolate mint and any basic oatmeal cookie.

I also make and freeze crisp topping for fruit desserts and pie dough for baking days.

Hamburger buns | Simple bites

Burgers, Buns & Pickles

I like to be prepared for when friends drop by on warm summer nights, and so I keep a stash of homemade hamburger patties in the freezer. If I’ve had a recent baking day, I’ll have a stash of hamburger buns in there as well (another favourite recipe from my book). This helps facilitate a quick meal out on the back patio; all I have to do is open a jar of pickles.

burgers

Condiments

I go big with homemade condiments over the summer, as most of them are conducive to being made in big batches. Sweet relish is an absolute must, as well as slow cooker ketchup.

Salad dressings keep for several weeks, so I mix up the vibrant Citrus Boost Dressing or a simple Buttermilk Dressing to liven up my garden greens.

Freezing Easy Homemade Harissa Recipe || Simple Bites

I’ve recently fallen hard for harissa, and slather it on everything from grilled pork to roasted carrots. It freezes very well. I spoon it into ice cube trays, freeze them solid and then transfer the cubes to a resealable bag.

Sauces

Nothing give a jump start to a meal like a perfectly executed sauce. Be it pesto or tomato, it makes perfect sense to make extra and save the rest for another meal.

Start with a simple chimichurri – it’s the most versatile sauce you’ll make all summer.

Three Fall Pesto Recipes (Oregano Hazelnut Pesto) || Simple Bites

I’m making pesto all summer and autumn long as my herb garden flourishes. Most of it goes in the freezer, but not before we have a simple dinner of pesto linguine with garden vegetables.

As soon as the sauce tomatoes hit the market, I’m simmering great pots of this tomato herb sauce for freezing. I’ll also make batches of my 4-ingredient tomato sauce and use it on everything from simple pastas to summer vegetable slow cooker lasagna.

Summer Pizza Ingredients

We love tossing pizza on the barbecue in summer, which means I have to keep plenty of ingredients around. We do pizza sauce a few ways, and freeze the excess. I grate cheese in the food processor and freeze it in 2-cup bags.

Pizza dough is another batch cooking favourite of mine. The dough improves over time in the refrigerator (up to 5 days, depending on the recipe) and can be frozen raw. I like to freeze both balls of dough, then thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. A few hours before pizza time, I bring them out and let the dough rise on the counter.

Brussel Sprout, Walnut & Pesto Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust | Simple Bites #dinner #vegetarian #recipe

Now that you’ve got pizza dough, cheese and pesto made and stored away, try this Brussels Sprout, Walnut & Pesto Pizza on Whole Wheat Crust!

I could keep going, but that’s probably enough information for now. If you like this topic, check out Warm Weather Batch Cooking and More Warm Weather Batch Cooking.

How do you use batch cooking to your advantage in the summertime?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. hey girl great tips!

  2. Great tips! Thanks!

  3. Candace D says:

    Just what I was looking as I return to work after my holiday’s

  4. Sue Anne Reyes says:

    Great tips for those people busy working in the city.

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