Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Beauty of Batch Cooking

When I gave birth to Jalen, some of the nicest and most thoughtful gifts I received were foods for my freezer. My cousin Jenny brought over stacks of containers with stews, curries and chilli's and my Aunt Les stocked our freezer with lasagna (she makes the best ever!), pizza and muffins. I have never forgotten that. It seemed like months went by and between the sleepless nights and troubles with breastfeeding it was so wonderful to not even have to shop or cook because our freezer was packed.

On that note, with a new baby on its way in no time I have been inspired lately to save time, save money and live more frugally on a whole. As the chef in our family I also want to serve my family healthier meals each day. With the kids away for the afternoon with Uncle Chris and Aunt Lindsay, I decided today was my day to try out batch cooking. In order to try and save time and money, I found I was too frequently reaching for quick and processed foods to make for dinner at night. Once bbq season is upon us, we usually spend the summer grilling which is usually quick and healthy. I might have made this discovery a season too late but with some chilly, not grilling days still ahead I picked out some of our families favourite inexpensive and easy meals that would be easy to freeze and spent my Saturday afternoon cooking away. Now I don't want to fool you into believing that I was humming show tunes the whole afternoon. There was a point when I was mopping my brow, I had 3 pots bubbling and dishes piled and I exclaimed aloud "I hate batch cooking!" Truth be told, It was exhausting. I decided to start with a hearty chilli, sheppards pie and curry chicken today. So I started my prep with lots of onions for each dish plenty of fresh parsley, potatoes and onions. That's the hardest part, afterthat, assembling each dish was simple. I don't have the recipes to share because these are all my recipes that I make with a little bit of this and a dash of that. I cooked from about 12 noon till about 3:00 p.m. and I am amazed at how much I was able to accomplish in that short time.

And when I saw the fruits of my labour with all of these nice freezable bpa free containers stacked up on my counter I no longer "hate batch cooking." I'm happy that at least for a couple of weeks it's just as easy to reach for one of thes containers...

Instead of this....

(Note: There will always be a box of kd in my cupboard just in case ;)

Next I will tackle some sweet treats for the week, banana muffins, chocolate chip cookies, apple sauce and rice krispie squares. Blog to follow...

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