I’ve spoken before about how we meal plan at Casa Be Loverly (well when I say “we” I mean “I” of course) but in the last six months or so I’ve taken this to a new level and I now try as often as possible to do what I’ve termed “batch” cooking.
What I mean is that I try to set aside a good chunk of time on a weekend once a month to make up a number of different meals. As Little Lion is not much of a sleeper doing it more than once a month isn’t that realistic for me though I do try to think about cooking a double batch of meals during the week too. We also find this quite economical which is super important for us at the moment.
Last month, I stocked the freezer with a bunch of Amy’s zucchini recipes and a bunch of bread, rolls and pizza bases. This weekend, Mr found pork on special at our great local butcher so he bought a kilo of mince and I made two meals from it – Asian style sausage rolls and pot stickers that are actually four meals in total.
Here’s how I did it….
1kg pork mince (or a mixture of pork/chicken/veal/whatever you like really!)
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small bunch coriander, chopped (you can use any herbs you like)
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons kecap manis
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup water chestnuts, chopped (if you’re not a fan you could substitute with
For pot stickers:
Use a little under half the above mix to make the pot stickers – a little goes a long way with these
Fill and use this method to cook them which I’ve previously blogged
Filling the wonton wrappers is the time consuming part with this but they do stay in the fridge ok until needed (though I wouldn’t leave them longer than maybe 3 or 4 hours) and they freeze well and cook quickly when prepared. I now make mine into little “envelope” shapes because it’s 1. less time consuming 2. fits better in the frypan and container for freezing too.
We usually serve with some steamed Asian greens for us and some fresh chopped salad veg for Bebito who isn’t keen on Asian greens.
To make sausage rolls:
I like to make sure there are loads of veg in our sausage rolls so to the mixture above I added:
2 carrots, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
an oversized handful button mushrooms, chopped
a good handful of breadcrumbs
Get some good puff pastry and shape mix into a sausage shape a little in from one edge. Roll it up and brush with an egg wash. I like adding some sesame seeds too but it’s up to you. If I’m keeping costs down, which I do a lot lately, then I don’t worry about this. Chop them up into the size you’d like to eat. At this stage you can freeze them or cook them. If cooking, do so in a pre-heated oven of around 180 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
I like freezing my sausage rolls uncooked and I made two batches to go in the freezer with this mixture.
We serve these with sweet potato chips that have been sprinkled with a dash of cumin powder and sesame oil or a medley of steamed veg…or in all honesty, just on their own cos we can’t be bothered doing much more!
I PROMISE you this only took me an hour all up to prepare and it’s so worth it (for me) to take the guess work out of our meals. I’m all about streamlining effort and this little bit of hard work makes things more efficient for me at least.
My best tips for batch cooking:
- Cook different meals that rely on similar ingredients (on the same day I also made burgers from beef mince without the Asian sauces and spices) that went in the freezer.
- Use seasonal veggies as much as possible to keep costs down
- Look at the supermarket catalogues for when meats are on special or learn when you’re local shops mark down their prices – Mr picked up a kilo of chicken breasts for $5 on Saturday that needed to be used by Monday.
- I also use the food processor to chop and prepare a lot of these meals as when I’m making a lot of them. I often don’t use my food processor when I’m cooking a little something because the hassle of washing it isn’t worth it to me BUT when you’re cooking up a storm it’s well worth it and makes things so much quicker and easier
- Ensure you’ve got someone on hand to help manage the small people when you need!
- Make sure you’ve got room in your freezer for all these goodies before you start! (I haven’t had room in the freezer for all that I’ve cooked).
- When making things like cupcakes or biccies think about doubling the recipe and putting a lot in the freezer