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

(101 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.

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.