It’s a cozy Sunday afternoon and I’m sitting here watching the cold rain fall, thinking of all the times batch cooking has saved our family dinner time. Today, Danny is laid up with a nasty cold, and I’m juggling the busy household on my own, attempting to get ahead just a little bit for the upcoming week.
I’ve brought Danny a mug of hot ginger tea with honey, and am the afternoon has filled up with washing school uniforms, baking cookies for lunches, wrapping up homework, and making a M-F menu plan. Still, the boys want me to play a game of Sorry with them, the baby’s getting into everything, and oh!wouldyoulookatthetime? the Twitter chat I’m co-hosting is starting in 30 minutes.
I’m flying, and although I’m unsure if I’ll get half the things done I need to, I’m comforted with the fact that at least dinner is taken care of. Once again, batch cooking comes to the rescue.
We’re going to have a hot, balanced home cooked dinner, thanks to a hearty chicken & red lentil coconut curry I’m reheating. All that is required is for me to steam some broccoli and dinner is served. Maybe we’ll even taste-test the cookies for dessert.
No matter how busy the day gets, it’s really important to have us sit down as a family together for dinner; batch cooking is my time-saving tip to make that happen.
Today our Eat Well, Spend Less team of bloggers are talking about time-saving tricks in the kitchen – and highlighting Jessica Fisher’s new cookbook: Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook, too! Read on for more batch cooking tips and a chance to win a copy of Jess’s book.
On Batch Cooking
The apple pie in the photo at the top of the post? That was the reward of a little batch cooking. After an outing to the apple orchard, it’s easy to throw together a pie when there’s a a couple of pre-made pie crusts in the freezer.
Contrary to popular belief, batch cooking doesn’t mean merely simmering a vat of spaghetti sauce or a quadrupling a recipe of chocolate-chip cookies, but expands to much, much more. Jessica’s book highlights meats and seafood, meatless mains, soups, and breads, and even desserts. Getting back to the apple pie, she makes up four of Nanna’s Apple Pies at a time and freezes a couple raw for a comforting impromptu dessert at a later date. So smart.
Jessica guest posted not too long ago about the benefits of freezer cooking, so I won’t reiterate everything, but here’s a quick summary. Freezer cooking can help you:
- Buy yourself some time on busy nights.
- Make good use of your produce box.
- Feed your baby homemade purees.
- Take a vacation — from cooking.
- and much more.
Batch cooking also helps you spread some love. Case in point. On Saturday I attended a baby shower for a friend who is going to welcome a sweet baby girl any day now. While we heaped presents on this first-time mother, we also gave the shower a delicious spin by each contributing a frozen, home cooked meal for her freezer.
I’ve long been an advocate of preparing heat & serve meals for others, dishes that are nourishing, travel well and freeze well. I’ve got a list of suitable recipes that fit the bill, but I can’t wait to change up my repertoire with new inspiration from Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook.
If you’re looking for suggestions for recipes that are suitable for freezing, adapt well to big batches, and provide a fresh take on family favorites, start with these 7 Favorite Do-Ahead Dinners for Winter. As is usually the case with young children, my boys palates haven’t changed that much and they stay in the regular rotation for dinner meals.
Here are several more recipe that adapt well to freezing and are perfect for this time of year.
- Sausage, Bean & Pasta Soup with Spinach
- Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
- Skillet Chicken and Zucchini Parmesan
- Winter Pizzas
- Baked Lasagna Casserole
- French Onion Soup – Canadian Style
- Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Mash
- Roasted Tomato & Garlic Pizza Sauce
This month, the Eat Well, Spend Less girls are talking about saving time in the kitchen. Don’t miss their posts:
- Alyssa from Kingdom First Mom
- Carrie from Denver Bargains
- Jessica from LifeasMOM
- Katie from Kitchen Stewardship
- Mandi from Life Your Way
- Shaina from Food for My Family
- Tammy from Tammy’s Recipes
- Katie of GoodLife Eats
** This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to our winner, Maryann!**
Jessica’s thorough and well-written cookbook boasts 200 solid recipes, as well as a host of tips on subjects like creating a freezer cooking plan, buying a deep freeze, and Christmas cookie production. This cookbook is perfect for any busy household trying to eat a real food diet without spending hours in the kitchen each day.
Thanks to the publishers at Harvard Common Press, I have a copy of Jessica’s Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook (NYM Series) to giveaway!
To enter: Leave a comment on this post and tell me something delicious you’ve made ahead and frozen.
Giveaway ends on Tuesday, October 16, at 11:59PM. Good luck to all!