How to batch cook.(15 Posts)
Im attempting to batch cook in an attempt to get some food on the table for the family after working long hours.
Has anyone frozen these dishes after cooking and had good results - if so tips appreciated!
Also when doing Lasagne do you cook it first then freeze or prepare it ready for cooking then freeze. When taking out of freezer do you defrost first or not? If not what temp do you cook it at/duration please.
Currently have a big batch of chilli on the hob too.
Any other ideas for batch cooking appreciated.
Yes, you can freeze them all, I do it all the time. I find that chicken can disintegrate if you stir it while you heat it up on the hob after defrosting, so go gently when you stir it. Obviously take care with regard to food hygiene.
I make lasagne and freeze before cooking it (the filling is cooked, then assembled with lasagne sheets and cheese sauce), then cook either from frozen or after defrosting. It takes a while to cook from frozen. I make it in foil trays so I can pop it straight in the oven. If you are short on containers for casseroles etc, line your container with a freezer bag, freeze then remove the container to use again while the original meal is still in the freezer.
My freezer currently contains:
Beef in ale
Chicken basque (careful how you freeze and defrost to avoid the rice sitting at room temperature)
Chicken in white wine
and lots of variations on casseroles etc.
...and soups. Bacon and lentil soup is gorgeous and comes out lovely from frozen.
Anything casserole-y will freeze well, I just think 'wet' food freezes better than dry iyswim. Mad is right about bags - it's cheaper to buy bags than loads of tupperware, you'll fit more in your freezer and you will get less air around the food, which you don't want as it can change the food's texture.
casseroles and stews
basic bolagnase sauce (which can then have chilli flakes or fresh chillies added to turn it into chillie)
Tomato sauce for pasta or whatever - I never just make what I need of that, a big huge batch then portion up.
pasta - cooked with a sauce then portioned up for when DS just can't wait for it to boil, then micro from frozen, tea on the table in four minutes.
Lasagne I cook a huge one then portion and freeze the left overs.
Anything with big chunks of meat I defrost then heat. Anything with small bits of meat I cook from frozen (not hugely scientific but I haven't killed anyone yet!).
You can also freeze a lot of fruit when it's in season, apples, berries etc all freeze well. As does bacon if you see a 2 4 1 in the shop.
Easiest is soup. I've just made a pot of courgette and Parmesan soup and frozen half. I also have sweet potato, butternut squash and chilli, wild mushroom, broccoli and Stilton soup in the freezer.
Whenever I am making ANYTHING I freeze a pot. Cheese sauce - then macaroni cheese is easy after work. Tomato and basil sauce for pasta, bolognaise. Even cookie dough, rolled into a tube - then you can slice it while frozen and bake cookies in 10 minutes
Thai curries freeze well too then you can just cook rice quickly. The only thing that doesn't freeze well IMO is risotto.
You can also buy foil containers with lids (like in a takeaway) which makes things easier as you can stack them easily in the freezer, and reheat them in the same container (in oven, not microwave!). I get mine cheap from eBay.
make one dish each day for dinner - but make for 4x the people then freeze the other portions for the next three weeks, do this each night for a week and then you don't have to cook for three weeks
take the casserole, curry, chilli out of the freezer in the evening and in the morning place in the slow cooker - the food is ready when you walk in the house, you just need to make rice, mash or cous cous to go with the dinner.
Curry meals I keep pitta bread in freezer and toast to go with the curry, they are lighter than naan and much easier and cheaper to make/buy
Ivykaty, so you've cooked it once and then again all day in the slow cooker? Is that ok, it doesn't get all tough?
gosh no curry and casserole are always better the second or third day cooking
Thanks for all the tips so far.
Should have said im catering for between 4 and 6 each day.
I cant quite visualize the freezer bag lining the container though.
Interesting tip about slow cooker. Ive been making casseroles in mine but its not the same as oven.
Our favourite batch cooking recipes.
fry a finely chopped red onion and pepper in some oil until beginning to soften, add in turkey mince
(approximately 100g per person) and cook until done (around 8-10minutes). Add some frozen peas or
sweetcorn and cook for 2 minutes more. Spoon in 2 heaped tbsp red pesto and 1tbsp tomato puree. You
can add 25g grated cheese if liked here (we don't as DH hates cheese). Spoon into tortillas and roll up.
Slice in half and put into baking tin. Top with HM tomato sauce and/or grated cheese. Bake until golden
on top at 180degrees (approx 10-15mins).
I do two batches of the turkey mince and use one batch for the enchiladas and the other batch I serve on top of salad and nachos.
finely chop 1 onion, grate a peeled apple, crush a clove of garlic, crumble a chicken stock cube and add
to a bowl with 500g lean beef mince (or mixture of beef and pork mince) and 2 tbsp tomato puree. Use
your fingers to combine ingredients and then roll into small balls. Coat with flour and fry in a large pan
until all sides are brown and they are cooked through (approx 15mins). Serve with HM tomato sauce
and pasta (in our house it's crusty bread as DH hates pasta).
When I batch cook soup, I put silicone cases into a muffin tray, fill the cases with soup and freeze. When they are frozen solid I take the soup out of the cases and put the little muffins of frozen soup in a bag in the freezer. That way I don't have to decide on portion size before freezing and can either shove a couple of them in s mug in the microwave for a quick lunch for one or empty the bag into a saucepan for a quick family meal.
Freezer bags: get a freezer bag and stick it in a cup (for soup or stock) or a pudding bowl (for stew, chilli, casserole). Scoop, spoon or pour the food into the bag. Let it cool, then squeeze air out of the bag and seal, either by knotting the top of the bag or using a klippit. Chuck it in the freezer. Done.
I batch cook similar to what has been posted, using foil containers. It makes life so much easier after 'one of those days' and sometimes I get fed up cooking, or ideas for what to make.
Slow cooker is great for batch cooking casseroles/curries/chilli, but I dont like it for bolognaise, unless you brown the mince and onion first.
Im going to make some chilli/bolognaise and get it portioned up so that we have some easy food for christmas holidays for the days we are out and about and home late. Eating out for my family is approx £70 for lunch and dinner or just dinner, depending on where you are, so it is worth batch cooking to save on takeaways/ready meals when you have ran out of steam.
I also keep some ready made pasta tortellini/ravioli in the freezer - its such an easy meal for the kids and filling too. I can have that on the table in 5 minutes with some frozen veg, grated cheese.
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