I have always loved the fall…the crisp cool air, the changing colors of the leaves and the smells in the kitchen. For me, that means all the comfort foods I crave…soups, breads and anything pumpkin. It also happens to be the time of year when I first got turned on to batch cooking, which I only experienced as making a big pot of anything and eating it until tired of leftovers. In reality though, it was often about forgetting about those soup containers at the back of the refrigerator only to discover a layer of white, fuzzy mold floating atop what was once a delicious lentil stew.
I am in awe of people who have the “Martha Stewart touch.” I worked with a woman like this many years ago and was impressed at how much she cooked and gardened for herself. She was a big fan of batch cooking and had several favorite meals she would cook up, package and freeze to enjoy for weeks.
One October day, she invited me and a few other co-workers over to her home to spend the day in kitchen mass production of twice baked potatoes. Looking back, I think she took some pity on us since dinner (for me anyway) was usually whatever could be thrown on a tortilla and microwaved for 30 seconds.
I actually found batch cooking with friends to be a blast and not at all the chore that had become my mother’s mantra in our house while growing up. At the end of it all, we had loads of foil-wrapped potatoes to take home and freeze and a renewed inspiration to cook more for ourselves.
Consider one of these ideas, portioned out and frozen in single servings:
- Tomato Based Sauces (great with any quick-cook, dry pasta)
- Baked Mac and Cheese
If you haven’t tried hosting a batch cooking party with friends, grab a bottle of wine (or 2), a fun playlist and a couple of great recipes. Here’s how:
- Agree upon a couple of recipes everyone enjoys.
- Create a list of needed ingredients and divvy the shopping list amongst your friends.
- Provide plenty of freezer-friendly containers.
- Assign a recipe lead for each dish and divide the prep work.
- Assemble and cook or bake.
- Divvy the meals into single-sized portions for all to take home and freeze.
- Reheat on a night you just don’t feel like cooking.