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Batch cooking ideas? Hopeless cook (and hate it)!

(100 Posts)
lmm6 Fri 08-Feb-19 09:23:02

I loathe cooking but obviously can't avoid it. Thought I'd do some batch cooking which I can freeze and reheat in microwave but have no idea where to start. We eat chicken, ham and fish as well as vegetarian. Any ideas for easy batch cooking? Also very simple and quick meals? I have no imagination when it comes to cooking.

ninathenana Fri 08-Feb-19 09:32:58

Veggie lasagne
Chicken leek pies
Chicken or veg curry

Auntieflo Fri 08-Feb-19 09:37:00

How about a big batch of savoury mince, portioned and frozen?. These can then be turned into Bolognese, Lasagne, Shepherds Pie etc when needed.
But I do sympathise, it’s the advance prep that can be a pain.

ninathenana Fri 08-Feb-19 09:55:40

I don't think OP eats red meat Auntieflo

GrannyGravy13 Fri 08-Feb-19 09:57:58

In our freezer we always have - chicken and ham pies, chicken curry, spaghetti bolognaise sauce(which can be spag Bol or lasagna) chilli and a savoury mince which can become cottage pie or moussaka.
It is really helpful in the CBA day’s just to be able to have a home cooked meal in minutes.

GrannyGravy13 Fri 08-Feb-19 09:58:27

Soy mince instead of beef mince.

GrannyGravy13 Fri 08-Feb-19 09:59:36

Or even chicken, turkey mince are healthy alternatives. Happy cooking 🥘

lmm6 Fri 08-Feb-19 10:00:35

Thanks, everyone. But I don't know how to start! Portions! How long to cook. What sort of baking tins? Seriously, you don't know how hopeless I am. I love the ideas but where do I begin. (Rated as "rather sloppy" in cookery school report). Not much has improved.

NotSpaghetti Fri 08-Feb-19 10:15:05

This sounds like your go-to book if you genuinely have no idea.

NotSpaghetti Fri 08-Feb-19 10:15:32

Other sellers out there, obviously!

Missfoodlove Fri 08-Feb-19 10:27:20

You need one pot meals!
Start with a simple veg stew: in olive oil fry 2 onions with garlic add one small red and one green chilli finely chopped. Chop up 1 green and 1 red pepper, 1 courgette 2 large handfuls of butternut squash ( frozen in bags from Iceland)now add two teaspoons of grated ginger this must fresh or frozen not powder. Add 2 drained tins of chick peas and 2 tins of quality tomatoes and a desert spoon of coriander. Simmer in pan for 20 mins.
This can be ladled out into freezer bags when cool. You can serve with cous cous, rice or crusty bread. It will make around 8 large portions. Always taste as you go and don’t be afraid of adding what you think it needs. Remember to always simmer gently once the liquid has been added and fry on a medium heat and keep the pan contents moving to stop them catching.

shysal Fri 08-Feb-19 10:32:43

I make turkey mince cottage pie, chicken, leek and ham in cheese sauce, and fish pie (lots of recipes on line). If you line the baking/serving dish you will be using with cling film then build your cooked and cooled layers they can be frozen and the dish removed. Bag or cling film them like bricks and store in freezer, where they take up less room When you want to use them unwrap before thawing and or cooking in the original dish.
Sometimes I just freeze the base layer and add freshly mashed or sliced (bought if you wish) potato or cheese and breadcrumb topping.
I never throw away stale bread but make it into crumbs for the freezer. Some I mix with grated onion and/or cheese which makes a nice topping for bacon steaks or macaroni cheese baked in the oven, so easy to grab a handful as needed.
Good luck with your efforts, get ideas from the internet and you will build up your confidence and be fine!

Entirelyfading Fri 08-Feb-19 10:37:00

Try The I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken. 50th anniversary edition of an old classic.

shysal Fri 08-Feb-19 10:38:11

Meant to say that these dishes when thawed take about 20-30 minutes in a 200C oven. Microwave is quicker but you won't get a crispy top unless finished under a grill. Probably OK to cook from frozen I would think, as long as you give longer and make sure food is piping hot.

FountainPen Fri 08-Feb-19 10:50:18

Another reluctant cook who has the occasional one pot batch cooking blitz. I eat a plant-based diet of seasonal vegetables and discovered that Goodfish sauces (in paste form) are brilliant for adding different flavours to quite ordinary leek/potato/carrot-based stews. I add rice into the stew so that it absorbs the flavour of the sauce. Less washing-up.

Some nice recipes on the site for meat and fish eaters.

MawBroon Fri 08-Feb-19 11:13:14

Try The I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken. 50th anniversary edition of an old classic
Thank you for reminding me of a favourite of the early years of my marriage!
I do love cooking, really, but find it tiring and less rewarding than in the days when there were many more mouths to feed.
Must go and look this up on that long river website smile.

Urmstongran Fri 08-Feb-19 11:15:58

Ha! That comment really amused me Maw.
Very clever. 👩‍🎓

Auntieflo Fri 08-Feb-19 11:25:23

Apologies. Imm6 that I didn’t tead your post properly. I was in a bit of a tizz this morning, before taking DH for a fasting blood test.
And thankyou ninathenana

Lily65 Fri 08-Feb-19 11:40:41

Buy about 10 of those containers that look like take away ones. They are really cheap.

Make a chicken stew, chicken thighs and a packet of casserole veg and a stock cube. That should fill about 5 containers.

Make this stew/soup......carrots , celery, onions lightly fried. Add preserved lemons ( easy to find in supermarket) some spices, tins of chickpeas and tins of tomatoes. So easy, so tasty!
That fills your other 5 containers.

Fennel Fri 08-Feb-19 11:45:46

Not everyone's cup of tea - or gravy - but I've recently re-discovered ox liver. Our butcher sells it ready sliced. I buy a lot, enough for 4-5 meals for the 2 of us.
1) make about 2 pints meat stock with 2 stock cubes and some tomato paste, dissolved in boiling water.
2) In a bowl mix 1tbsp flour , s&p. coat the liver slices in this.
3) Heat some oil in a large stovetop to oven pot and fry gently lots of thinly sliced onins, various kinds (white, red, shallots etc.)
4) brown off the liver slices, pushing the onions to one side.
5) Add the stock, scraping the tasty bits from the bottom of pot. Then bake in a med. oven for about an hour.
Not too long or the liver will be dry and grainy.
Let it cool then freeze in separate plastic bags or containers,

Gonegirl Fri 08-Feb-19 12:08:40

Ugh! Don't do it! Cook quick microwave meals. Or buy ready meals (God's sweetest gift to the old and tottery)

Gonegirl Fri 08-Feb-19 12:10:27

Hmm. Lily65 's chicken stew does sound good.

Mut get off this thread fast!

Gonegirl Fri 08-Feb-19 12:12:57

Who knew you can get preserved lemons!¶m=preserved%20lemons

Other supermarkets etc.

Gonegirl Fri 08-Feb-19 12:14:00

How long do you cook that for Lily?

Jalima1108 Fri 08-Feb-19 12:40:25

What about buying a large slow cooker? It would hold quite a lot - one meal to eat that day and a couple of others to freeze.
I make the basics, casseroles with vegetables which can be frozen, you can cook large quantities of veggie mince which can then have other ingredients added when defrosted to make chilli con carne, spaghetti bolognaise, other ingredients for pies etc and keep the pasty separate in the freezer so that the pie filling can be defrosted and the pastry added before going into the oven.
Serve these meals with pasta, rice or a jacket potato which are quick and easy. We have always had fresh veg but recently, needing to fill up a new freezer, I bought frozen veg and it is fine.

I wouldn't pre-cook fish as it is so quick and easy.

Lily65 Fri 08-Feb-19 12:41:32

I'd cook my chicken for about one have to be a bit more fussy with meat. The veg thing, it doesn't really matter.

For the totally desperate chicken and a can of condensed celery soup is nice, with a few mushrooms and peppers.

I find decent seasoning and a handful of parsley makes most efforts acceptable.

Elegran Fri 08-Feb-19 12:51:41

Potao dauphinois - slice as many potatoes as you have in the vegetable rack, plus about half as much onion, butter a wide dish and layer up sliced potato and onion slices, seasoning in between each layer, anding with potato. Pour over a carton of cream and help it to go down between the layers more or less evenly. Bake in a moderate oven (160 - 180C) for between 30 minutes and an hour - sample a bit of potato from the middle and give it longer if that isn't cooked. If you are feeling adventurous, add some dried herbs (thyme? oregano? mint?) to the seasoning between the layers, or cover the top with grated cheese.
When it is cooked and golden brown, let it cool then share it out into smaller containers with one meal's worth in each. It can be reheated in the oven or microwave.

Elegran Fri 08-Feb-19 12:55:07

Typos! It should be potato, not potao, and ending not anding.

Gonegirl Fri 08-Feb-19 13:01:41

Thank you Lily. Have written that down.

Lily65 Fri 08-Feb-19 13:09:05

BTW, use skinned chicken, or it can be greasy. A can of butter beans and some chorizo is good too.

Gonegirl Fri 08-Feb-19 13:10:34

Yes! Will skin chicken.

Gonegirl Fri 08-Feb-19 13:11:58

I'm going to do Elegran's potato recipe too.

Gonegirl Fri 08-Feb-19 13:13:02

Good thread this.

seacliff Fri 08-Feb-19 14:26:21

I totally sympathise as I can't stand cooking either. I'm not sure if you can read this attachment, but it's a very tasty veg shepherds pie, with either red or green pesto.

I make a huge batch of the veg bottom part, and when it's cool, just freeze in small polythene bags (Ikea are great) . Then take a bag out, nuke it, add to jacket spud or pasta, or crumble feta cheese on.

You can also make it as a full shepherds pie and freeze, or use cauli mash.

Jalima1108 Fri 08-Feb-19 14:27:33

I do love potato dauphinoise
but they tend to land on my hips.

However, it's so long since we had any that it might be on tomorrow's night's menu
Calories be damned!

Tangerine Fri 08-Feb-19 14:56:37

Put the mince in a saucepan with a few minced carrots or onions (or both). Season with salt and pepper. Cook until brown. Leave to cool. Put in containers. Freeze and use "as and when" with different sauces.

seacliff Fri 08-Feb-19 15:07:07

Jens Veggie Shepherds Pie

2 table sp olive oil
2 onions chopped
2 celery sticks chopped
3 carrots chopped
400 can chopped tomatoes
425/ three quarters pint vegetable stock
2 table sp tomato puree
100g/ 4oz red lentils
3 table sp pesto preferably fresh red or green

1 kg / 2 lb 4oz floury potatoes
Bunch spring onions
125ml / 4 fl oz milk
Freshly grated nutmeg
25g/ 1oz Butter
100g/ 4oz grated cheddar or gruyere

Heat oil in a large pan and cook onions 10 ins until softened
Add celery and carrots for 5 mins
Stir in veg stock, tinned tomatoes, puree and lentils
Bring to boil, cover and simmer 20 mins until lentils are tender
Season well, stir in pesto, tip into 1.7 litre/3 pint pie dish
Peel potatoes in small chunks and cook until tender in salted water
Chop spring onions and cook in a small pan with the milk and good sprinkling of nutmeg
Bring it to boil, then simmer 5 mins and remove from heat
Drain potatoes, mash, then add milk/onion mix, the butter and 2/3 of the cheese + lots of seasoning
Spoon over the base mix, sealing it in
Pre heat over Gas 6 Elec 200 or 180 fan
Sprinkle over remaining cheese and cook for 30 mins

sodapop Fri 08-Feb-19 15:33:28

Oh just go to Waitrose or M&S, I hate cooking too. In France ready meals are limited and of poor quality and we have very few take away outlets. Good job my husband cooks or I would starve grin

lmm6 Fri 08-Feb-19 16:52:19

Thanks so much, everyone. Some really great ideas here which I'm going to copy, paste and print off. This'll make you laugh. I've had a slow cooker for over 2 years (still in the box!). I'll get it out now I promise.

NotTooOld Fri 08-Feb-19 17:13:45

Stir-fries are easy (well, they must be because I can make them) and you can stir fry almost anything, veggie or meat. Then all you need is some rice to go with it which is easiest bought as boil-in-bag. Not sure if you can freeze stir fry but they are quick and easy so you don't really need to. You can buy sauces in bottles to add to a stir-fry or you can make your own very easily (and with less sugar than the bottled sort.) Try sweet and sour - 1 tsp cornflour, 6 tbsp of water, 2 tbsps ketchup, 2 tbsp vinegar and the same of soy sauce and a small half tsp of sugar, adjust to taste.

Day6 Fri 08-Feb-19 17:28:06

You can buy portion sized bags of frozen rice and vegetables which 'steam' in their bags when you microwave them for a few minutes. I had to resort to the veg bags when we had lots of snow one year. They are not the cheapest way to have veg but they save faffing about with peeling cooking and pots and pans if you really hate cooking.

There are also bags of sofrito mix in the supermarkets now but I make large quantities to freeze and throw a portion into soups, stews, meat/chicken/fish dishes, pies and sauces for bolognaise, etc.

"Sofrito is a basic tomato sauce that is made all over Spain. It's easy to put together—simply sauté tomatoes, onions, garlic, and green peppers in olive oil in a frying pan." I add finely chopped carrots and celery too - in fact anything left over in the veg drawer will do.

phoenix Fri 08-Feb-19 17:40:57

Might be able to help with quantities, but if course it does depend on your appetite!

After a bit of trial and error, we now have a stack of Tupperware type containers that hold a pint (I know this because I've just poured water into one of them!) They measure around 4.5" square, by 3 .5" deep.

These will hold 2 portions of spag bol or chilli (as an example) or 2 portions of mashed potato.

Mashed potato freezes really well! Plus if you do a batch of it, you only have 1 starchy pan to wash up. Just take it out of the freezer in plenty of time, pop it in the microwave, or use it to top a shepherd's pie. Saves a lot of time and faff.

Hope this helps!

Elegran Fri 08-Feb-19 17:47:49

Basic Stir-fry for two
quantities are approximate and optional

Pans - I medium/largish with lid
1 wok or large frying pan

Cut up -
I chicken breast per person (3cm cubes)
1 onion (8 to 16 pieces)
2 cloves garlic chopped small (or crush them)
1 red or green pepper (8 to 16 pieces)
4 large mushrooms (or if small leave whole) peel them or not, as preferred.

Weigh out 4 oz dry basmati rice, rinse it in a sieve, put it into a pan with a half teaspoon salt and about a pint of water. Stir and put it to boil up.

Add 2 table-spoons oil to wok or frying pan, put it onto highish heat.

While they heat up, get ready in a small bowl -
1 teaspoon cornflour or potato flour
I teaspoon flavouring of your choice - ras al hanoult spice is good, or curry powder, or whatever you prefer
2-3 tablespoons sherry, green ginger, whisky, orange juice or, if you can't lay your hands on anything else, water
Mix all these together.

When the water boils, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, turn down heat, stir well. set kitchen timer for 10 minutes. Put on lid.

Add chicken to wok/frying pan, brown it briefly and push it out to the edges of the pan. Add vegetables and mushrooms. Fry them gently for a few minutes, stirring in the chicken. Turn down heat a little.

Get out plates and cutlery. Stir frying pan occasionally.

When 10 minute timer rings, add flour/liquid mix to wok/frying pan plus a little extra water (about as much again) and stir well. Drain rice in sieve, stand sieve over empty rice pan with lid over it to keep warm. Stir fryingpan until the sauce thickens, adding more water if it gets too dry.

Serve up and eat.

quizqueen Sat 09-Feb-19 09:36:25

Buy yourself a cookbook or buy ready made.

Lily65 Sat 09-Feb-19 09:41:29

OP, using a slow cooker requires no talent, enthusiasm or skill.

Get it out of the cupboard, put things in it, plug in switch on a leave.

Things to put in are vegetables, pulses , chicken and some liquid.

So easy!

Lily65 Sat 09-Feb-19 09:42:26

Gammon joint plus can of coke.

Hm999 Sat 09-Feb-19 09:44:21

We keep a bag of dried nut roast in the freezer. Grated carrot, broken nuts, cooked rice, chopped mushroom, herbs, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs etc.

Prior to cooking, take out a suitable amount, add an egg and maybe a little oil, place in loaf tin, cover with foil. Bake.

Pippa22 Sat 09-Feb-19 09:56:04

The problem with eating ready meals regularly Gonegirl is that they are often high in salt and sugar and don’t have much fibre. Much healthier and tasty to make your own if you can and much cheaper too than even the cheapest ready meals.
I find a slow cooker really good, everything goes in and you can just switch it on and leave it slowly getting on with turning ingredients into a delicious meal for the evening.

sweetcakes Sat 09-Feb-19 10:29:41

And if all else fails Wiltshire farm foods or Oakhouse foods!!

Gonegirl Sat 09-Feb-19 10:38:42

Pippa22 We always have a veg such as as (unpeeled) carrots or peas with a ready meal. Or Birds Eye frozen veg in the little microwaveable sachets. 4 minutes and they're done! grin

cassandra264 Sat 09-Feb-19 10:40:26

Being a carer means I often get too tired to cook at the end of the day - but not too much time to cook earlier on either!

I make lots of one pot, main course vegetable soups to freeze when I can. I use one large saucepan and cook (on the hob) 4-6 oz. of red lentils (which cook more quickly) with root and other vegetables of my choice - or whatever veg is left over! If desperate, I don't even bother frying, just chop up the onions, leeks, carrots, celery, potatoes etc (whatever is to hand, fairly small pieces), add a tin or two of chopped tomatoes, two cans full of water and a Knorr chicken or vegetable 'stockpot' (available in most supermarkets). I also add some dried herbs and a couple of crushed garlic cloves, bring the mixture to the boil, turn the heat down and let the whole thing simmer gently with the lid on until all the vegetables and lentils are soft, keeping an eye on it and adding water if the mixture becomes too thick. Then I season with rock salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. If I want something more substantial, I will add a tin of cooked chickpeas at the end, and sometimes a small tin of sweetcorn, sprinkling the whole thing with fresh parsley before serving.

This makes one decent meal for two and one meal to freeze. Possibly more if you serve it with some decent wholemeal bread and some cheese (assuming you don't have to have a wheat and dairy free diet.

My mother was not a confident cook either. I (and my friends who also now like cooking) only learned how to be after buying Delia Smith's books. She doesn't assume you know anything!

Good luck! smile

Gonegirl Sat 09-Feb-19 10:40:46

Have you tried Charlie Bighams ones? Nothing not tasty about them!

Gonegirl Sat 09-Feb-19 10:41:32

Ooh heck! GN will think I'm advertising. shock

Gonegirl Sat 09-Feb-19 10:42:28

I have got a slow cooker. I make the occasional stew.

Carolpaint Sat 09-Feb-19 10:47:16

Do you have a warm hearted friend who you find cooks delicious food? Ask them to show you how. My late mother in law showed me a few things and it flowed from there. Even war time dishes that you cooked without meat that tasted meaty and spicy. She cooked for millionaires later so her range was good. I do not use a slow cooker as do not find the taste umami enough, but we have different palates. Enjoy a morsel of praise goes a long way. If you have a glut of milk try celeriac, butternut, or courgette soup.

Pagzy Sat 09-Feb-19 11:03:10

Help please. I like the sound of that recipe. How do you reheat from frozen?

Pagzy Sat 09-Feb-19 11:05:31

Missfoodloves veg stew was the subject of my query but applies to any recipe on this thread.

M0nica Sat 09-Feb-19 11:07:43

Make large pots of any casserole or stew recipe you see that you like, dump the ingredients in a casserole, put in the oven for 4 hours at R4 and then, using a soup ladle as a portion measurer, put one ladle of casserole on each plate and add veg for an immediate meal and then measure ladles into plastic containers depending on how many portions you want per container and freeze.

M0nica Sat 09-Feb-19 11:11:08

For most homemade and frozen meals, you put them into the microwave and heat until defrosted and piping hot. How long that takes depends on how many portions are in the frozen container. I find 6 - 8 minutes satisfactorily defrosts and brings to bubbling a portion for two.

Elegran Sat 09-Feb-19 11:24:17

Your microwave instruction book may have instructions for how to defrost in that model.

Without a microwave, you would have to take the food out of the freezer the morning of the day you are going to eat it, or the evening before, and either keep it in the fridge for at least 12 hours or stand it out in the kitchen for as long as it takes. Single portions defrost faster than large amounts, and some things are OK to heat in the over directly from frozen.

For soup, I have successfully defrosted it by running the sealed container under the hot tap for a few minutes to loosen it round the edges, then emptying the frozen lump into a large pan and heating it slowly on the hob while it defrosts from the outside in, stirring it frequently, and then brought it to the boil. You do need patience to do it that way, it can stick and burn if some of it is defrosted while some is still an iceberg..

grabba Sat 09-Feb-19 11:41:54

Check out blogs for loads of ideas on batch cooking. You Tube too. amybeingmum is a favourite of mine

Hm999 Sat 09-Feb-19 12:07:48

Was given a soupmaker one Christmas. Best present ever. Especially if you don't like cooking.

Helen2806 Sat 09-Feb-19 12:09:22

Try the website. Full of amazing easy ideas and free to join. I have tried loads of recipes from here and not had a fail yet.

Pagzy Sat 09-Feb-19 12:11:30

Thank you Monica and Elegran

Sheilasue Sat 09-Feb-19 12:21:39

Mince, Turkey,beef or lamb whatever you prefer, cook a big batch and freeze. Cook chicken pieces and freeze.Fish doesn’t take long to cook 15 at the most you can buy salmon frozen pop in microwave for 4 minutes.
Vegetables are all prepared in most supermarkets but can b3 a bu5 more expensive. But if you really want to splash out if you have a COOKs shop near you they cook it and freeze it
For you my brother buys a few meals from them. Google and see they do single double and dinner party sizes.

Sheilasue Sat 09-Feb-19 12:22:55

Sorry messed up a bit.

grandtanteJE65 Sat 09-Feb-19 12:48:15

Boil four cupfuls of red lentils in sufficient water to cover them with a finely chopped onion, one or two chopped cloves of garlic (if liked), two large bay leaves, salt and pepper. Turn the heat down as soon as the lentils come to the boil, as the boil over very easily.

When the lentils are soft, remove the bay leaves, add more water or stock if needed, season with ground cumin and serve.

This soup should be fairly thick. It can be frozen and stay in the freezer for a couple of months. This portion serves four if you are serving another dish after it, two if it is the entire meal.

If you like spicy food, you can add paprika, cayenne pepper or a pinch of garam masala before serving.

Jan51 Sat 09-Feb-19 13:05:09

I'm going away next weekend for a week so this week everything I cook for dinner I will cook enough for 4, 2 portions to eat and 2 put into individual takeaway type containers to freeze. DH will then have a meal for every day. If I'm adding rice e.g. for curry or chilli I use a packet of microwave rice, straight from the packet, between 2 meals and it is cooked perfectly when the meal is microwaved.

Blinko Sat 09-Feb-19 13:43:27

Has anyone tried potato dauphinoise with creme fresh instead of full cream?

NanKate Sat 09-Feb-19 14:05:52

I’m glad I’m not the only one who hates cooking. On the rare occasions DH goes away I live on poached eggs on toast, microwave meals from M and S. Buy veg in a bag to put with cold meat. Bake an odd potato and that’s about it. Plus plenty of fresh fruit and plain Greek yogurt. Sheer bliss. 🥳

Lottie53 Sat 09-Feb-19 14:36:43

Make a big casserole in slow cooker. Just chuck in any meat or chicken chopped onion carrots something green (peas or beans, ) stock made rom a couple of cubes. Maybe a squirt of tomato paste and anything else you fancy. No cooking required! Just turn it on and let it cook itself.
For portions why not serve a portion into a bowl using a ladle and then you will know how much you need. Pop portions in plastic containers. (Poundland sell them) don’t forget to label and date the tubs !!
You can always jazz up the portions when you take them out ie chilli paste or curry powder or Worcester sauce etc.
Once you have started there will be no stopping you. Good luck.

sodapop Sat 09-Feb-19 15:12:37

Oh NanKate You need to get him organised, if my husband is going away he leaves meals ready for me, cottage pie, stew etc. Not so difficult in the warmer weather as I can have salads. Spoiled - moi ?

Jalima1108 Sat 09-Feb-19 15:14:23

Has anyone tried potato dauphinoise with creme fresh instead of full cream?
No, that sounds nice though.

I bought some single cream today and will be making potato dauphinoise tonight or tomorrow, with added garlic.
We'll just have to go for a longer walk to use up the calories!

breeze Sat 09-Feb-19 15:34:39

I make my dauphinoise with low fat crème fraiche and no cheese. It's very edible and so much better for you.

Until recently, when I had a houseful of 8 (some full, some part time) I couldn't batch cook at all as I was standing over a cauldron every day. Now most have moved out, when I cook a meal, I cook enough to freeze half. So I'm building up a few meals for the days we want to go and do something (bet the freezer breaks!). Just get a meal out the night before and put in the fridge. Lasagne, stew, chilli and so on. I do batch cook vegetarian for my son though. I usually allocate a day and I make his nut roasts, burgers, veg chilli, curries. And I make cakes for my husband, cut them in half and freeze them. Carrot/apple/fruit/ginger cakes.

If you hate cooking though, why do it. Cook do good meals (I'm not a fan as I find them a bit salty but I am a salt hater). Or M&S ready meals. Or don't worry too much and find some recipes for healthy easy meals that take barely any cooking. Big salads, wraps. If you stir fry chicken with a bit of 5 spice and put in a wrap with spring onions, cucumber and a splodge of hoisin sauce, delicious. Serve with some rice, maybe some prawn crackers if you're not watching your waistline.

Experiment with salads. I love to put apples in my soy sauce salads, and oranges in my balsamic ones. You can keep tubs of low fat greek yoghurt in the fridge, chop up some apricots, mint, lemon juice, toast some pine nuts and you have a delicious dip you could have with fried halloumi and pitta, or lamb steaks.

I enjoy cooking so I love to experiment but if you hate it. avoid it as much as possible and keep it healthy and simple.

Mary Berry's Harissa lamb is a favourite in this house if you want to make a batch of that. It has beans you put in at the end but you could add those when you are reheating after defrosting.

Lovely with couscous with spring onions/preserved lemons/fresh chilli/coriander stirred in.

I'm drooling! Must go!

breeze Sat 09-Feb-19 16:01:00

ps - if you do decide to go ahead with batch cooking, supermarkets sell foil containers with cardboard lids. Depending on your appetite, they do small ones (like the ones they do/did in Indian takeaways) or the slightly longer ones which is better for 2 portions. You can even assemble lasagnes in those. I use them for my sons nut roasts. That will save you having to work out portion sizes into Tupperware type containers.

Blinko Sat 09-Feb-19 16:30:38

Thanks, Jalima and breeze. Garlic sounds good, too.

willa45 Sat 09-Feb-19 16:34:28

My most practical approach is to freeze for a variety of options. A good two hours of make ahead effort, can save you endless hours of time and money going forward.

Single portions such as halved chicken breasts, cod fillets or chops can be individually wrapped in clingfilm, then bagged in the freezer. 2 " slices of beef or chicken for stir fry can be frozen uncovered on a cookie sheet for about an hour (so they don't stick to each other when you bag them), then double bagged and frozen. My other 'go to' items are frozen cooked beans, soups, stews and broths stored in plastic containers. Add store bought frozen (uncooked) shrimp and frozen vegetables and you're ready to go. Similarly, a bag of meatballs has numerous possibilities.

When I am short on time, I go to the freezer and presto! I can make a meal in about a half an hour or less. Spaghetti and meatballs, Swedish meatballs with cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, Italian meatball sandwiches with (store bought) spaghetti sauce and grated Parmesan cheese (salad on the side), White bean soup (defrosted in a saucepan) becomes 'Tuscan Bean Soup' when you add frozen spinach and meatballs. I can offer you chicken or shrimp stir fry with vegetables or beef stir fry with broccoli, onions and mushrooms (bowl of rice on the side). Larger cuts of beef or chicken make great stews combined with carrots, onions and potatoes (Slow cooked for 8 hours or about 15 minutes in a pressure cooker). Sliced beef strips also make a great Beef Stroganoff.

Fish can be baked, broiled or steamed straight from the freezer or can be breaded and fried. Cocktail or Tartar sauce can be store bought or prepared at home. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper

debbiemon123 Sat 09-Feb-19 16:44:54

I use Tesco soya mince for chilli or spaghetti Bol , it's brilliant and cheap .

Caro57 Sat 09-Feb-19 16:54:36

Fish pies;, chicken, sweet potato and squash tagines; ham and leek pie; chicken casseroles (with ham); pea and ham soup;......,,,,

notgoneyet Sat 09-Feb-19 18:03:11

Batch cooking recipes free online - as someone else said, for the mince recipes you can substitute soy mince or chicken/turkey mince, but there are lots of other recipes as well:

GabriellaG54 Sat 09-Feb-19 18:07:16

Look on YouTube.

lmm6 Sat 09-Feb-19 19:52:38

Mmmmm...all these suggestions sound delicious and must say I am inspired. I'll get some containers next week and give it a go. Thanks, everyone, you have all made my mouth water. And the slow cooker (brand new some months back) will come out of its box! Just not sure how to do it but I'm sure there are instructions in there somewhere.

Lily65 Sat 09-Feb-19 20:20:34

If you are not careful, you can end up with everything having a similar texture so nice to introduce some flavoured oil and croutons.

Nannyfrance Sun 10-Feb-19 16:35:35

I save butter and margarine containers which contain just the right amount for two of chilli,bolognese, chicken curry, chicken supreme, Coca Cola chicken, all kinds of soup and anything else I batch cook. Every time I cook I make enough for eight so I can often have a cook free week. Good luck.

Fennel Sun 10-Feb-19 16:48:31

As for containers for freezing, I mentioned earlier that I use plastic bags.
Open the bag and put it into a small jug or large beaker. Ladle the food into it, tie the top. Then you can put 6-8 of those into a plastic container. Cool and freeze.

1974cookie Sun 10-Feb-19 17:58:14

A large slow cooker would help you enormously I think.
Cheap to buy, Cheap to run, no standing over a hot stove. Perfect solution.
Best of all, timing is not crucial, as in other methods of cooking.
The best piece of kitchen equipment ever invented as far as I am concerned.
Hope that this helps.

Elegran Sun 10-Feb-19 18:20:15

Charity shops often have slow cookers that people bought but didn't use.

bikergran Sun 10-Feb-19 18:44:30

I have used the "zip lock " bags for freezing chilli etc if you lay the bag flat and gently pat the bag flat you can layer them in the freezer, they take very little room up and also they thaw out very quick, quicker than solid blocks.

lmm6 Sun 10-Feb-19 20:11:15

My slow cooker is still brand new in its box. Can you do meat-free meals in one? I’ve never tried using it but would love to. What put me off was I’ve been told it’s really for meat.

Elegran Sun 10-Feb-19 20:25:09

You can do anything you want to in it! I don't suppose you think that your oven or your microwave only cooks meat?

Get out the instruction book that came with it and see what recipes it has. When you have done that, Google slow cooker recipes vegetables. You will be amazed at how many there are.

Yes, it is a very good way to cook the tougher cheaper cuts of meat, but it also cooks other things.

MissAdventure Sun 10-Feb-19 20:58:14

I'm the laziest cook ever, and have no interest whatsoever, but did used to use my slow cooker.
I just put anything and everything that was lurking in the cupboard into it, with some meat or soya, and then went out for the day. smile

JoyBloggs Sun 10-Feb-19 21:18:32

I've really enjoyed this thread... discovering that I'm not the only person in the world who doesn't enjoy cooking! Phew! I can always think of something I'd rather be doing.

MissAdventure Sun 10-Feb-19 21:22:00

I even complained about having to make grandson a sandwich last week. blush

lmm6 Sun 10-Feb-19 21:44:20

Me too Joybloggs and MissAdventure. I moan and complain every day about cooking. I’d rather be gardening or anything out of doors. If I plant something I may get pleasure from it for years. If I cook something it’s gone in about 10 minutes!

MissAdventure Sun 10-Feb-19 21:49:41

Have you looked in the thread about peoples 3 'go to' meals?
There are some good suggestions there for simple stuff.

JoyBloggs Sun 10-Feb-19 22:14:58

MissA I hope your grandson appreciated your efforts!

Imm6 that's so true! Like you I'd much rather spend time on pursuits with a lasting end-product. I feel the 10 minutes pleasure eating a meal is very poor reward for the time spent shopping, chopping, stirring, prodding, poking, peering in the oven and clearing up afterwards! Thank goodness for my DH who has taken over much of the cooking now.

JoyBloggs Sun 10-Feb-19 22:16:48

Thanks, MissA, will take a look (but not making any promises grin)

MissAdventure Sun 10-Feb-19 22:19:26

Well, I haven't actually done any of them, but...

sassy1686 Tue 16-Apr-19 03:25:15

Here are our favourite batch cooking recipes to inspire you.
Kid-friendly fishcakes. ...
Veggie bean stew. ...
Good old Spaghetti Bol.
Hearty sausage & lentil stew. ...
Family-favourite fish pie. ...
Vegan chickpea & coconut curry. ...
One-pot lamb & squash stew. ...
Slow-cooked beef shin.

detail recipes from

phoenix Tue 19-Nov-19 06:38:59