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Batch Cooking 101: Cook Once, Eat All Week

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Batch Cooking 101: Cook Once, Eat All Week

Cooking Smarter, Not Harder

You know the drill – it’s 7 pm, everyone’s hangry, and you’ve got nothing planned for dinner. Sound familiar? It certainly used to be my story, until I discovered the life-changing power of batch cooking. Sure, spending a couple hours in the kitchen on a weekend may seem daunting, but trust me, it will revolutionize the way you approach mealtime forever.

As Pamela Salzman says, “You don’t need to spend more time in the kitchen to create a satisfying dinner—you just need to cook smarter.” That’s exactly what batch cooking is all about. By dedicating a single chunk of time to prepping and cooking multiple meals at once, you can enjoy the benefits of homemade, nutritious dinners all week long with hardly any weeknight effort.

It might sound too good to be true, but I’m living proof that batch cooking is a total game-changer. As a busy parent of two little ones, I used to dread the daily dinnertime scramble. But ever since I started dedicating a few hours on the weekend to batch cooking, getting a wholesome meal on the table has become virtually effortless. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s become one of the most enjoyable parts of my weekly routine.

Why Batch Cooking Works

The beauty of batch cooking lies in its sheer efficiency. As McKel Hill, RD, explains, “Basically, batch cooking is preparing most or all of your meals and snacks for the entire week on just one day of the week.” So instead of scrambling to cook something from scratch every single night, you’ll have your dinners (and maybe even lunches!) ready to go.

Sure, it might feel like a big time investment upfront. But when you crunch the numbers, it actually saves you a ton of time in the long run. As Tessa, the plant-based food blogger behind Natural Comfort Kitchen, points out, “If you’re currently coming home from work every night and cooking on the spot, it could easily add up to 30-60 minutes every evening. Add that up and that’s over 7 hours a week spent cooking!” Yikes.

By dedicating just 1-2 hours a week to batch cooking, you can claw back those precious hours and spend them doing literally anything else – quality time with loved ones, self-care, or just plain old relaxation. And let’s not forget the money-saving benefits of eating in instead of relying on takeout or dining out. It’s a total win-win.

Getting Started with Batch Cooking

The thought of batch cooking an entire week’s worth of meals might feel overwhelming at first. But I promise, it’s a lot simpler than it seems. The key is to start small and work your way up.

Tessa recommends identifying the meal that’s giving you the most trouble – maybe it’s breakfast, or maybe it’s dinner – and focusing on that first. “Start with that meal and gradually build upon the days/weeks when you’re feeling more comfortable or jump right in full force!” she suggests.

Personally, I find that dinner is the trickiest time for my family, so that’s where I start. I’ll pick 2-3 simple, versatile dinner recipes and make double or triple batches of each one. That way, I’ve got 6 servings of 3 different meals ready to go for the week ahead. I like to keep the recipes pretty pared-down at this stage – think roasted veggies, grain bowls, and easy plant-based protein dishes. That way, I can easily customize them with different sauces, toppings, and sides when it’s time to serve them.

As the team at Autoimmune Wellness explains, “The focus of my batch cook meal plans is the ‘3 by 2’ strategy, making three different dinners, each eaten twice during the week.” This approach gives you plenty of variety without getting overly ambitious.

Of course, the specific recipes and meal plan will depend on your family’s tastes and dietary needs. But the general principles of batch cooking remain the same: cook in bulk, store smartly, and enjoy the fruits of your labor all week long. Oh, and don’t forget to crank up the tunes and pour yourself a glass of wine – batch cooking can actually be pretty fun and therapeutic once you get the hang of it!

Mastering the Batch Cooking Mindset

The key to successful batch cooking isn’t just about the mechanics – it’s also about shifting your mindset. Instead of seeing it as a chore, try to embrace it as an opportunity to get creative and find joy in the process.

As Ethan Chlebowski, the cooking expert behind Ethan’s Kitchen Reports, suggests, “Batch cooking is a bit of a therapeutic time for me. It’s a time when I can get in what my family and friends call ‘the zone’. I turn on some tunes and cook, blend, and bake as much as my little heart desires.”

I couldn’t agree more. For me, batch cooking has become a sacred self-care ritual that I look forward to each week. I crank up my favorite playlist, pour a glass of wine, and lose myself in the rhythmic chopping, stirring, and baking. By the time I’m done, my kitchen looks like a bomb went off – but I feel energized, accomplished, and ready to take on the week ahead.

And the best part? All that hard work means I can essentially coast through the weeknights, enjoying wholesome, homemade meals without the usual dinnertime stress. It’s a small price to pay for the gift of time and sanity. Plus, Home Cooking Rocks has tons of delicious, easy-to-batch recipes to help you get started.

So if you’re tired of the nightly dinner grind, I urge you to give batch cooking a try. It might feel like a big commitment at first, but I promise it will pay off in spades. Who knows – you might even come to love it as much as I do.

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