Time is precious, which is why batch cooking and one-pan dishes are absolute lifesavers for busy cooks. Try these simple strategies for getting ahead in your food prep, making meals you can freeze and enjoy later and creating the easiest ever weeknight dinners.
Brilliant Batch Cooking Ideas
Cooking en masse is an undeniable time and energy saver.
Slow-cooked casseroles are perfect for batch cooking.
A pre-prepared curry sauce simply needs chicken, beef or veggies to make it a meal.
Savoury mince can be transformed into everything from chilli con carne to lasagne and can even be the star of ‘Taco Tuesdays’.
Muffins, whether sweet or savoury, are a lunchbox lifesaver. Bake a double batch and freeze the second batch – pop into a lunchbox the night before and it will defrost by break time.
Tips to make it easier: Freeze your batches in both larger and smaller portions (for dinners or desktop lunches) and slightly undercook vegetables so they aren’t soggy when you reheat them.
One Pot Wonders
The perfect solution for time-strapped cooks, one pot (or pan) meals generally only need a little prep and best of all, require very little clean up.
One-pot meals are a great way to cook a delicious meal using an ordinarily tougher cut of meat
If you’re cooking beef or lamb, don’t forget to brown the meat before.
Roast fish steaks and spring veggies in a pan as an easy and healthy all-in-one meal.
Tips to make it easier: A generous casserole or a roasting pan is all you need to make a delicious family-friendly meal.
Cook Once, Eat Twice
Easy weeknight dinners – with enough for leftovers for lunch al desko, or even another dinner!
Ratatouille is the classic French combination of tomatoes, aubergines, peppers and courgettes. All you need is a baguette and some Parmesan and you’re good to go – and the leftovers are amazing with penne pasta or on bruschetta.
Cook two roast chickens at a time. Enjoy one for supper, shred the leftovers and the second chicken and use the meat over a few days for chicken quesadillas, in chicken mayo sandwiches or tasty wraps.
Total timesaver: Fill a lunchbox as you serve supper, and fill up another with chopped veggies – you’ll have a tasty meal ready to go for lunch the following day.
Prep Made Easy
Here are a few ideas for getting ahead in your cooking schedule:
Meal planning is every organised cook’s secret power. If you know what you’ll be cooking for at least three night’s of the week, your shopping will become more streamlined and you can prepare different elements of various meals when you have a chance.
A once or twice weekly chopping session is an excellent way to get veggies ready for that quick and easy stir fry, a crunchy salad or the roasted veggies everybody loves. Simply store in an airtight container and use as needed.
Know you’re planning on cooking roast chicken tomorrow night? Fill the roasting dish with all the ingredients (chicken, veggies and potatoes) the night before, leave in the fridge and it’s ready to be popped into the oven at any time.
Total timesaver: Roast excess tomatoes and onions and freeze into portions for tossing over one pan bakes or as a pasta sauce base.
Try these mouthwatering ideas for prep-ahead meals and batch cooking. For more inspiring recipes, ideas and cookware to help you get the most out of cooking, shop online at www.lecreuset.co.za.