Things are in full swing around here! School is back in session, hunting season is well under way, and our calendar is full of meetings, appointments, jobs and get-togethers. In the midst of all we have going on, I have still been striving to have room for rest, play and healthy eating. It’s that last part that has been killing me! Trying to keep up with our diet in the midst of day to day life has had me feeling overwhelmed and lost!
Unfortunately, cooking real foods from scratch takes a lot of time and a lot of dishes! As a mom, I don’t have “free” time! And as much as I love cooking, being in the kitchen for 4 plus hours every day cooking and cleaning is just not sustainable long term!! In talking with my friends, I have discovered that this is a common complaint. Whether you are a busy business executive or a hard working mama of 6, we all want to eat and feed our family well, but we need it to be practical and accessible!
Fully aware of the fact that I am not the only one out there with this struggle I prayed for help and went to the internet looking for ideas. That is when I discovered the beauty of batch cooking! The idea that a couple hours of cooking in the kitchen could produce the majority of the meals and snacks I would need for the week sounded fabulous and freeing! But does it really work? in my research I found some great articles like this and this that provided me with practical tips to help me get started. But when I looked at what people were actually batch cooking in a day I quickly realized that how most people went about batch cooking was never going to work for us. But, the beauty of batch cooking is you can tailor it to meet your needs.
And with that, a blog series is born! Since what most of my friends want are my recipes anyway, I will be posting a day of batch cooking each month with recipes and tips. But before we can get started here are a few things you might want to think about:
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Benjamin Franklin
I am not one to plan ahead- it is not my usual m.o., but with batch cooking Mr. Franklin’s advice is spot on. It is better to think through and plan out your batch cooking then to try and fix issues that come up, due to poor planning, while you are in the midst of cooking!
How much time do you really have?
The first step in preparing is to schedule out your batch cooking sessions. There is no way I am going to ever have a 4-hour block to myself, to just focus on cooking, any day of the week! So, for me, a day of batch cooking is just not feasible. I work in shorter increments a couple times a week. It still cuts out a ton of kitchen time overall, but takes a couple shorter days to get everything I have planned done. For others, a Saturday morning cooking party is perfect for them. Maybe you just put on that podcast you have been wanting to listen to forever and crank out a ton of goodness in just a few hours. Whichever way you go, just be realistic about what would be best for you and your family and schedule accordingly.
What are the staples you consume every week?
It is also helpful to think about the main things you and your family eat every week. Muffins? Cauliflower rice? Salads for lunch? Chicken thighs? Tacos? Whatever it may be, just write it down. Those are the items that having readily available are going to help you out the most in the long run.
Sample! Sample! Sample!
I know this usually goes without saying, but sometimes when we get excited about something we forget to be reasonable. Always try out a recipe first before quadrupling it for batch cooking! Figure out if you actually like the food your making, before you have 6-8 servings you are going to have to eat.
Work smarter not harder!
One of the things that causes making everything from scratch to be such a hassle is all the dishes!!! When you are using and cleaning appliances like blenders, mixers, and food processors almost (along with multiple pots, pans, knives and dishes) every day you are wasting precious time. One of the things I love most about batch cooking is that I am using (and cleaning!) my appliances a lot less often because I am being smarter about when I use them. A perfect example is when I make cauliflower rice. Instead of pulling out my food processor every time I want rice, which is usually at least once a week; I now make 4-6 containers of cauliflower rice at a time. I can use one for dinner that night and freeze the rest for later. Then I just have to clean up that mess once instead of 4-6 times.
Don’t forget what you have.
It is extremely helpful to keep a running log of what you have created. It will help you to plan out your week’s meals, your next batch cooking session, and will help you to not waste food. I have a list, I can edit, up on my fridge. You can use a piece of paper or a dry erase sheet. It is not necessarily up to Pinterest standards, but it is easy and works well. Without my list I know I would end up finding a container of turkey meatballs 2 years later buried at the bottom of our deep freezer!
As you read and think about this, I hope you discover ways that batch cooking will be helpful for you! Spend some time writing it out and get ready! A post full of recipes is coming soon! And don’t forget to check back in tomorrow for some on-the-go breakfast yumminess!