When you batch cook, you are setting aside a special day and time to make most, or sometimes all, of your meals. The benefit here is that you can easily reheat everything when you are ready to eat it, allowing you to have a delicious meal even when you arrive home from work exhausted from your day. So let’s say that you do your batch cooking on Sunday and you are working late on Tuesday. Simply store the foods that you batch cooked in the freezer or fridge and heat it up when you need it.
Another great part about batch cooking is that you will have everything you need at your disposal. You will not just know what you want to cook, you will also know when you are going to eat it. In other words, you won’t be eating mindlessly anymore.
You won’t need to hit the drive thru because you are starving and exhausted and don’t know what you will fix, there will be no more grabbing snacks because there doesn’t seem to be anything else in the house, and most importantly you won’t be wandering aimlessly around the grocery store for hours – allowing foods that aren’t healthy to sneak into your cart. When you know what you are going to make, you know what you will be shopping for, allowing you to get in and out of the store quickly.
So what kinds of foods can you make in advance? Believe it or not there are plenty. Everything from burgers and casseroles to muffins and pies can be cooked and then frozen to eat when you are ready. Just find some paleo recipes that you love and add them to your batch cooking schedule. If you are ever in doubt about how something will freeze, the internet is a great place to discover what other people have experienced when cooking those same foods.
What’s a good day to batch cook? Any day that works best for you. Depending on your kitchen tools it could take anywhere from a few to several hours to make all of your meals, so you may want to pick a day when you are completely free. But there is also a nice side to bath cooking, it can help you find a bit of ‘you’ time – believe it or not. Spending so much time in the kitchen is the perfect excuse to indulge in some of your favorite guilty pleasures. Whether you want to snack on wine and chocolate or binge on lifetime movies, you can do it all while you are batching.
What kind of tools will you need to get started? While nothing is set in stone, it’s best to have some basic kitchen tools on hand to streamline your batch cooking day.
Pressure cooker – This is a must to have in the kitchen to cook up meats and root veggies in a fraction of the time it would take on the stove while retaining nutritional value. Modern pressure cookers have come a long way from your mother’s pressure cooker and are simple and safe to operate.
Crock pot – Throw some meat and root vegetables in the mornings before you leave for the day and come home to dinner ready and waiting. If you have leftovers, just freeze them for an easy meal base on a different day.
Cast iron cookware – Frying pans are wonderful for vegetable sautees (they will quickly caramelize) and quickly cooking individual portions of meat or fish.
Food processor – Quickly cut up veggies such as onion, garlic, carrots and peppers for use in other recipes.
It’s also useful to have a variety of storage containers and freezer bags so that you can quickly freeze small portions of meals for later use. Be sure to mark them and date them so that you won’t wind up with mystery meals in your freezer.
By investing a couple of hours of time on your designated cooking day, you’ll find it easier to stay with the paleo lifestyle on the days when life is rushed.