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Batch cooking - ideas please

(75 Posts)
Skydancer Tue 14-Feb-23 11:48:37

Many posters have mentioned that they batch cook. What sort of thing? Ideas please - I haven't a clue. Presumably cook a large amount of something and then freeze some of it? I am a very unimaginative cook.

Ellet Thu 16-Feb-23 13:38:04

I found that I was throwing away too many sausages. I don’t eat them but cook for husband on Saturdays. I now open the pack, separate sausages, wrap in twos (cling film or grease proof), put back into pack and freeze. I have no waste now. Also buy large joints and as soon as I get home with shopping cut into pieces for the two of us and freeze the ones not being used that week.

Norah Thu 16-Feb-23 13:46:36

Dickens

Is there anything that doesn't freeze well - in terms of ingredients?

Or can you really just freeze anything?

Most anything - yes.

We no longer eat dairy products. We do use dairy/ cheese for our children. The texture of some cheese isn't perfect when thawed. When texture becomes an issue the frozen cheese can always be used in cooking.

Some herbs don't freeze well, have to be used in soups. I'm not particularly fond of frozen rice, but will use it up in soup or curry.

In my opinion lettuce doesn't freeze well, I'm sure others know differently. Spinach, chard, other greens freeze well.

Dickens Thu 16-Feb-23 14:15:11

Norah

Dickens

Is there anything that doesn't freeze well - in terms of ingredients?

Or can you really just freeze anything?

Most anything - yes.

We no longer eat dairy products. We do use dairy/ cheese for our children. The texture of some cheese isn't perfect when thawed. When texture becomes an issue the frozen cheese can always be used in cooking.

Some herbs don't freeze well, have to be used in soups. I'm not particularly fond of frozen rice, but will use it up in soup or curry.

In my opinion lettuce doesn't freeze well, I'm sure others know differently. Spinach, chard, other greens freeze well.

Thank you Norah.

Useful information!

Fernbergien Thu 16-Feb-23 14:27:58

I make a basic mince dish In the slow cooker. Mince onion garlic tin of tomatoes herbs stock cube. Portioned up. Used one to make a mince casserole. Others can be a curry chilli con carne or spaghetti bowl sauce by adding a few extras. This way not all of one thing.
Scones freeze well and can be zapped in microwave for a few seconds.

mousemac Thu 16-Feb-23 15:08:31

Apart from stuff that takes a long time to cook, one of the best batch things I keep in my freezer is curry paste.

If you enjoy curry, it's far easier to make a big batch of the starter paste and freeze it up in single-serving quantities that can be used to liven up almost anything, from vegetables to fish and meat.

karmalady Thu 16-Feb-23 15:11:49

I started off cooking for 9, then 5, then 2 and now just for me

I thought I would share how I have batch prepped and cooked today. I am too busy to prep meals one at a time and anyway I don`t overuse energy

Soup, in my soupmaker, enough for 3-4 days. Veg and green lentils. Lovely too and now in the fridge

XL granary loaf in my panasonic bm. Finished and I will slice fairly thin and keep in the freezer

Salad stuff all washed and ready in the fridge, to dip into for days

Keto vegan waffles, almond and coconut flour. Twice the ricipe, will freeze

Tomorrow I will make a delicious tasty stew in the pressure cooker. 500g of shin beef and nice veg. 6 meals and 5 will go into the freezer. No other addition needed

Tomorrow a minestrone soup without the pasta, 20 minutes. 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, 1 tin of beans, veg. Substantial meals all in soup bags for the freezer, maybe 5 meals

Two days ago I did rice. Full amount in my rice cooker. Quickly cooled and portioned and individual portions frozen in bags. 10 portions

I also used some of my bottled fruit and crumble topping which I had already prepped and frozen. 5 small pyrex dishes of gooseberry crumble in the freezer

I have bags of frozen blueberries and small pots of home grown strawberry and rhubarb compote in the freezer. Buy some pouring cream and grab one of those, yummy

PerkyPiggy Thu 16-Feb-23 15:32:25

I batch cook and freeze food in clear plastic tubs which you can buy in shops like Wilko. I then write on them with a black permanent marker. After use the ink can be easily wiped off with cotton wool and nail varnish remover.

Cabbie21 Thu 16-Feb-23 15:36:09

Mostly I batch cook mince and use for spag bol, or cottage pie.
Fish pie freezes well.
If I make a lasagne I freeze several portions - my favourite thing to find and eat when time is short.

Not batch cooking as such.
My pear tree had an abundance of fruit this year, so Ipeeled, cut up, blanched and froze some portions, just in the water in which I had blanched them, or you can add sugar.
A friend gave me some cheese scones which I froze - defrost one at a time in a few seconds.
i buy a sliced loaf and divide it into portions of 4 slices, which I bag and freeze. the packs fill up any spaces in the freezer, better than freezing a whole loaf.

hilz Thu 16-Feb-23 15:54:18

Go to a thrift store and buy either foil or plastic containers with lids . Buy a dish of similar size if you wish to tranfer it to be reheated to serve at the table. Don't use foil dishes in a microwave.
Once frozen those meals can be removed from containers and stacked to save a bit of room. Generally freeze any meals as many have suggested. I'm a lazy cook and batch do cooked mince for dishes that need it. I slice cake and portion that for us too. A particular favourite is noodles blackbean sauce from a jar and mince,chicken or pork.and extra vegetables. Reheated with a bit of extra water in the microwave. So atm my freezer has that. Some lasagne, shephards pie, fish pies, chicken in a red wine sauce, pasta bol amongst other things. My daughter and grandaughter have a meal plan and batch cook for 2 weeks. Planning Chopping, prepping and cooking together. They make pastry pies. Bread rolls, pittzas, pasta sauces with fresh ingredients. Etc. Tap on You Tube for some great batch cooking ideas. I find it best to microwave food once thawed and get it out of the freezer before going out for work. Many will cook from frozen. There have been some great suggestions here that I will try too so thankyou. Dont forget to label things well..

Gundy Thu 16-Feb-23 16:58:37

We’re in the middle of a snow storm- 5 to 8 inches of flakes expected, high winds, drifting… yuck! Things are closing down.
When I know this is coming, I’m off to the grocer for provisions. Here’s our meal today: my famous Beef Vegetable Ice Storm Soup! Garlic bread!

Stew meat, carrot/celery/onion/garlic, potatoes, diced tomato (canned), corn, green beans, peas, cabbage, oregano/thyme, beef stock/broth/bullion cubes. Improvise. Add barley, etc.

Make a BIG pot, better the next day, can freeze. Best thing ever. Hearty and satisfying. Don’t forget the wine.
Cheers!
USA Gundy
(Do not drain any of canned veggie liquid - use all)

Bijou Thu 16-Feb-23 16:58:50

When freezers first came out I got books and studied the dos and donts. When I gave my yeast cookery talks the questions were more about freezing !
Now I cannot stand and am alone I don’t bother with batch cooking. I used to cook a meat joint, slice and freeze in gravy. Batter puds. Roast potatoes.
When the price of butter was escalating I bought several packs of Lurpak unsalted.
I do now freeze sliced bread as I only need a couple of slices.
Most cooked meat dishes are not so good if kept frozen more than a month as garlic or spices become more pronounced.
Rice., pasta, is best not frozen.
Fresh veg like runner beans, carrots, broccoli need to be blanched for long term freezing. Chou pastry for eclairs and profiteroles freezes well. Freeze the sauce separately. Pancakes the same.
Sandwiches can be frozen but not those filled with lettuce, salad , tomato or egg or mayonnaise.

Witzend Thu 16-Feb-23 17:09:15

I make a big batch of semi-veggie mince (red lentils and a lot of veg, chopped very small, added.) I use both a chicken and a beef stock cube for this.

Some will then make what we call School Dinner Mince (dh loves it) to have with mash or boiled spuds and a green veg) - probably just some Worcester Sauce added, maybe baked beans if it’s going to be shepherd’s pie.

A 2nd lot, lots of tomato purée and Italian herbs or fresh basil added, so bolognese sauce.

3rd lot, tomato purée again, plus chilli powder, paprika, and red kidney beans - chilli con carne - either with rice or in tortillas.

cc Fri 17-Feb-23 12:16:00

Ellet

I found that I was throwing away too many sausages. I don’t eat them but cook for husband on Saturdays. I now open the pack, separate sausages, wrap in twos (cling film or grease proof), put back into pack and freeze. I have no waste now. Also buy large joints and as soon as I get home with shopping cut into pieces for the two of us and freeze the ones not being used that week.

It's hard to imagine having too many sausages! My husband is happy to have them for supper and then any "spares" for breakfast the next day.
I also buy large joints, usually pork loin, then cut into nice thick chops and freeze. Now that Tesco are closing their butchers' counters I don't know how else I will get a thick chop in future. All the local butchers were forced out of business by the supermarkets and now they are closing those that are instore.

cc Fri 17-Feb-23 12:25:41

I usually use small square plastic boxes for freezing meals as they fit better in the freezer and waste less space than lots of differently shaped bags. I've found the ones from Lakeland, though initially more expensive, last the longest. There is one size which is just right for two portions of pasta sauce or casserole.

cc Fri 17-Feb-23 12:28:57

JackyB
"Most recipes are for 4 portions anyway, so if there are 2 of you that's 2 meals right there with no arithmetic involved in working out the weights of the ingredients. Just eat half (I sometimes have to hold DH back and tell him to leave enough for next time!) and freeze the rest".

Your DH is obviously more self-restrained than mine. I find that the only way to keep half a meal for freezing is to only put half on the table!

Madgran77 Fri 17-Feb-23 12:43:34

Not really batch cooking but something I find useful is buying a load of fresh vegetables...mushrooms, peppers, onions, leeks, courgettes, okra, sweet potato, anything else I fancy really. Chop the lot, mix together well and fill a couple of zip lock bags to freeze. I can take out as many handfuls as I want to chuck into variations such as curry, bolognese, make soup, or whatever, adding extras fresh as required - chicken, mince,lentils, beans, etc, depending on what you are making. It's great for mixing with any left over stuff in the fridge for one of our "using up" meals, when there is not enough to "use up" without additions.

Re batch cooking I do curries, bolognese, cup cakes, icing, stews, macaroni cheese as some examples.

JackK Fri 17-Feb-23 12:54:27

I live alone and always batch cook; usually chilli, stew etc. But last week I bought a medium sized chicken and made 3 x roast dinners, 2 x portions of coronation chicken, 2 x portions of stew and 2 x portions of curry. All frozen for future use - I will definitely buy another chicken soon!

Dinahmo Fri 17-Feb-23 13:04:53

I freeze the carcases from roast chicken in batches. I wait until I've go enough to fill my large stock pot, add veg and bay leaves and simmer for a long time. I then strain the liquid into a large bowl, remove the fat once the stock has cooled and then freeze in small boxes - enough for one batch of soup for two or for risotto. Once the stock has frozen I decant it into freezer bags. Takes up less room.

Dinahmo Fri 17-Feb-23 13:10:57

Norah Chefs recommend freezing fresh herbs in ice cube trays. Chop the herbs, add water to the tray and then freeze. You can then use as necessary.

Skydancer Fri 17-Feb-23 21:42:46

I also like the masking tape idea. Such a lot of excellent suggestions. It would make sense to devote a whole morning to batch cooking and I will definitely buy some foil freezer dishes. Presumably they can be reused? You all sound wonderful cooks with such good ideas. I really am inspired. Thank you.

Skydancer Fri 17-Feb-23 21:47:15

Madgran I like your idea of chopping and freezing veg. How long would the veg last before you needed to use it please? Also do you have to blanch anything first? It seems an easy and good suggestion. JackK do you freeze a whole dinner on a plate with veg and gravy? Is that what you meant?

Madgran77 Sun 19-Feb-23 18:01:35

Skydancer

Madgran I like your idea of chopping and freezing veg. How long would the veg last before you needed to use it please? Also do you have to blanch anything first? It seems an easy and good suggestion. JackK do you freeze a whole dinner on a plate with veg and gravy? Is that what you meant?

Lasts for months, but I gthrow handfuls into all sorts of things so rarely has to! I don't blanch anything, just chop, wash in colander, dab over with kitchen towel to get off excess water and chuck into plastic bags, all mixed together. It is SO useful

Chardy Sun 19-Feb-23 19:34:58

I'm veggie. Pasta covered in cheese sauce type foods, lasagne, moussaka, shepherd's pie, veggie mince-based dishes.
Oh and vegetable soup with anything in the fridge that's about to go off plus a stock cube (my soup maker usually makes 3 or 4 servings) and potato or cauliflower to thicken it up.

Norah Sun 19-Feb-23 20:14:21

Dinahmo

Norah Chefs recommend freezing fresh herbs in ice cube trays. Chop the herbs, add water to the tray and then freeze. You can then use as necessary.

Thank you.

I freeze chopped herbs in small cups of water, pop out of cup to zip bags. Some herbs are better frozen than others, imo.