7 Tips for Beginners to Start Batch Cooking

Batch Cooking for Beginners: 7 Tips to Get Started

If you’ve been around for a while, you know meal prepping is all the rage nowadays. But we must ask, what took us so long to appreciate this genius idea?

Whether you’re prepping for guests or simply want to make your mid-week dinners a little easier, batch cooking can save you tons of time and money. The idea is to pre-cook meals on the weekend or a slow weeknight for the days ahead. It frees up kitchen time, lets you follow other pursuits., and helps you eat better.

That said, how exactly do you batch-cook your meals? We’re here to help you get started.

7 Great Tips to Master Batch Cooking

Spending an entire Sunday afternoon in the kitchen might seem like an investment, but we can tell you it’s worth the effort. And we have a few tips and tricks to make the process even more enjoyable for first timers. Let’s get started!

1. Pick Cuisine-Neutral Ingredients

A good way to approach batch cooking is to ignore recipes and rely on ingredient ratios. For example, you could work with one part protein, one part carb, and one part fresh vegetable. Top those ingredients with a few seasonings and sauces, and you’re golden.

One place you can let your culinary creativity shine is the toppings. Turn a basic chicken, potato, and quinoa dish into a Mexican salad with fresh salsa, cotija, and a lime wedge. For something more Mediterranean, whip up a balsamic vinaigrette and sprinkle some feta cheese. The options are endless, and it only requires prepping three ingredients.

2. Choose Foods that Freeze Well

Meal prep isn’t just setting aside one day of the week to cook. It’s also about carefully choosing foods that do well in the freezer. You don’t want to batch-cook ingredients that go bad in a couple of days- that beats the whole purpose of the project!

Here’s a quick rundown on some foods that can be stored in the freezer:

  • Most fruits freeze well- provided you peel and chop them into individual servings.
  • Most vegetables survive the freezer, except cabbage, celery, cucumber, and potatoes.
  • When it comes to household staples, you can freeze milk, bread, and butter with ease.
  • Meat and fish can be frozen. We recommend freezing them in portions, so you can defrost nly what you need.
  • Fresh herbs, cooked grains, and even whole meals can be frozen and defrosted as required.

A quick tip. Be sure to cool your meals completely before freezing portions. Freezing hot dishes might raise your refrigerator’s temperature and cause other foods to start defrosting.

3. Marinate Your Meats in Advance

Marinating is an easy and tasty way to enhance flavor, add extra moisture, and tenderize meat before cooking. What’s more, a good marinade can help make leaner cuts less dry and tougher pieces of meat more succulent.

A good marinade can elevate your dish to the next level. However, if you’re pressed for time and cannot make a grocery run, you need to stock up on Mekhala! Our range of organic Asian cooking pastes makes for a fantastic marinade. Plus, all our products are vegan and gluten-free, so you can look forward to some guilt-free deliciousness!

Now, the USDA advises to always marinate in the refrigerator– and it’s easy to see why. Leaving your meat to stand in the marinade on the kitchen counter or outdoors can encourage the growth of bacteria and make you sick.

4. Make Single Servings When You Can

Even if you’re cooking for a small family, making single servings does have its benefits. On busy days when you don’t have time to cook, your family can pull something from the freezer, heat it, and dig in.

Find recipes made in smaller casserole dishes, so you can shrink the serving to your liking. Examples include oatmeal, soups, and meatloaf.

Again, this is by no means a sign to forego big batch-cooked meals. They’re great for when you know you’ll have the whole family at the table and will need a big meal for everyone.

5. Don’t Give Up on Convenience Foods

Let’s make one thing clear, you don’t have to make every element of your meal prep from scratch. It’s labor-intensive, time-consuming, and will quickly take the fun out of the process. Instead, use convenience foods where you can and where they make the most sense. You’ll save yourself a bunch of labor and likely get more meals made because you were wise about how you shopped.

6. Keep Your Plans Simple

We’ve seen meal prep menus with color coding, elaborate calendars, and even bulletin boards. And while everyone rolls differently, this might be taking things too far.

Ideally, batch cooking should be simple.

  • Find a few recipes
  • Make and store the recipes
  • Use non-recipe dishes throughout the week
  • Repeat the cycle

But wait, what are non-recipe dishes?

Well, if we’re to summarize, we’d call them leftover-friendly meals. These dishes let you use leftovers like rice, grains, and chicken (among other things) from the rest of your weekly meals.

For batch cooking, all you need to do is mix a few recipes and non-recipe dishes. This can help you go strong in the future and sharpen your skills as a new cook.

7. Serve Your Carbs Fresh

You’ll want to batch-cook the main component of a meal, like the chicken or chili. But leave out the carbs before freezing. Rice or pasta doesn’t take long to cook. And they’ll taste much better if you serve them fresh!>

The Bottom Line

Many people are coming around to the benefits of batch cooking, and how it can set you on the path to wholesome, nutritious meals every day. Although the idea of meal prepping may sound intimidating on paper, it’s easy once you get used to it. And you can always follow our tips to get started on the right foot!

What’s an Asian dish without some authentic cooking pastes? At Mekhala, our 100% organic, gluten-free, and vegan cooking pastes are perfect for home cooks with a taste for culinary arts. Get in touch with us to order from our range of products today!

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