Sunday is my favorite day of the week. It's the best time to hang out in the kitchen and do a lot of cooking. There's really nothing better, for me, than flipping on a movie and cooking. With a little effort, I have a bunch of food that my husband and I can enjoy during the week.
Setting aside a couple hours when life isn't so busy — usually during the weekend — and cooking in bulk reduces mealtime hassle during the week. So, clear out your freezer and read on for my top four bulk cooking tips.
Cooking in bulk reduces mealtime hassle during the week.
Involve your family. My husband and I divide duties: I'll chop while he sears or grills; he'll put together a soup or Southwest-inspired chili while I'm prepping veggies for a salad to go with it. Depending on their ages, the kids can help wash produce, measure spices or clean up.
Portion out individual meals. This is where disposable plastic or reusable glass containers come in handy. Pop a homemade, pre-portioned frozen meal in your bag, and you're ready to go. Be sure that toppings — think granola for your yogurt, cheese for your bean salad or green onions for your baked potato — are packaged separately, so they stay fresh.
Cook one dish that makes several meals. Soups and casseroles are both good choices, as they usually freeze well. And your children can help wash the onion, celery and green pepper for this dirty rice recipe. It makes two dinners for a family of four, and the kids will enjoy eating a dish they had a hand in preparing.
Prep vegetables ahead of time. Bagged salad mix is easy and convenient, but why not invest in a salad spinner and create your own mixes? That way, you include the all lettuces your family loves — butter lettuce, spinach and radicchio are popular at my house — and none of the ones it doesn't. The cut, washed lettuce will last for several days. Or, chop up a head of broccoli, so it's ready to steam. Half the hassle of cooking after work is prepping vegetables. Why not get it done ahead of time?
Bake chicken in bulk. Chicken is one of the most versatile, affordable meats out there, plus it's easy to prepare a lot of it at once. Get as many chicken breasts as you think you'll want during the workweek, and consider the opportunities.
- Marinate them in your favorite sauce, and then bake them.
- Slice up the baked chicken for salad, cube it for kabobs or just eat it with a side of your favorite vegetables.
- If you have leftover chicken breasts, store them in a gallon bag in your freezer.
Bulk cooking during the weekend pays off during the week. It lets you provide your family healthy, homemade meals without the stress.