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Batch cooking: one large batch, many small meals. Share your ideas!


Marlene
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32 minutes ago, Smithy said:

Then there's the problem of labels that stay on.

Although I was dissed when I suggested it on another thread I now swear by micropore tape and a marker. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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7 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Although I was dissed when I suggested it on another thread I now swear by micropore tape and a marker. 

 

 

I've never used it but I don't see why not,  and probably a lot cheaper than the bernardin labels!

Marlene

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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4 minutes ago, Marlene said:

 

 

I've never used it but I don't see why not,  and probably a lot cheaper than the bernardin labels!

I am not sure how cheap it is although I see it is available on amazon.ca. The thing is it has to be the 3M micropore and there are a whole bunch of tapes that have similar names that don’t work worth a damn. 
 

to be fair the other person suggested green or perhaps blue painters’ tape but I never found it very durable in the freezer. 

Edited by Anna N (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

I am not sure how cheap it is although I see it is available on amazon.ca. The thing is it has to be the 3M micropore and there are a whole bunch of tapes that have similar names that don’t work worth a damn. 
 

to be fair the other person suggested green or perhaps blue painters’ tape but I never found it very durable in the freezer. 

I swear by micropore tape and a sharpie. I have found that masking tapes or writing on the bag are no nearly as long lasting as the micropore

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Just now, MaryIsobel said:

I swear by micropore tape and a sharpie. I have found that masking tapes or writing on the bag are no nearly as long lasting as the micropore

 

I'll get some from Amazon and give it a try!

Marlene

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I have been batch cooking in recent weeks because my Mom is in the hospital and my Dad is mobility and memory impaired and cannot really cook for himself.  I am expecting this to continue for a while longer--until my Mom gets discharged, out of inpatient physical therapy rehab, and is strong enough to start cooking again.  My brother is living with them and working from home, but he does not have time to cook from scratch during the day when my Dad likes to eat dinner, so I've been making meals in batches and bringing them over for my brother to heat up when my Dad is ready to eat.  

 

This week I made batches of Guinness beef stew, chicken enchiladas, homemade pizza sliced and stored in individual portions, and chicken pot pie.  I generally bring two servings of each meal over to my Dad's house and then keep the remaining servings in my garage freezer to rotate back into later weeks.  I bring over more food if I am going to be away for some reason, but try not to clog up their freezer too much since I have the space to store stuff here.  Other popular meals so far have been saag paneer with rice and naan, chicken curry, beef stroganoff with egg noodles, mustard glazed pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes and green beans, penne with homemade meatballs and marinara sauce, chicken and vegetable stew, and vegetable lasagna.  My Dad also eats a salad every weeknight, so I make a couple of different ones of those for him and package them in five containers with dressing on the side for Monday delivery to his refrigerator.

 

This has been going on for seven weeks now with no end in sight.  My brother cooks for him on the weekends (and he makes his own food for the week then too, as is his preference due to his dietary restrictions, which are too many to list).  I'll be watching this thread for new ideas, and will post some pictures of my packing materials and completed meals once I do the next batch of food.  

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26 minutes ago, liamsaunt said:

This has been going on for seven weeks now with no end in sight.

Wow. I am so impressed with the variety of meals you’re providing. I hope things start to turn around for you soon. 
I would love to hear more about the salads. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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10 hours ago, liamsaunt said:

 I'll be watching this thread for new ideas,

 

I made up some frozen meals for us when our kitchen was gutted along with other ongoing renos. You've already mentioned some but I also did a made-up spicy chicken dish (boneless, skinless thighs with onions, garlic, sweet and hot peppers and some heirloom Chimayo chile) along with Spanish rice and some beans. Both my husband and I really enjoyed that one. I thought about chicken cacciatore but didn't get around to it. Did some butter chicken and basmati rice with peas. Cottage pie. Meatloaf. 

 

That mustard-glazed pork tenderloin sounds good. I was also thinking of a honey-garlic glaze/sauce for pork tenderloin. 

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@FauxPas and @liamsaunt, I'm interested to know how your meals are packaged. For instance, the spicy chicken with Spanish rice and beans - all parts in one container or several containers? Ditto, beef stroganoff with egg noodles, or mustard pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes and green beans?

 

 

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14 minutes ago, TdeV said:

I'm interested to know how your meals are packaged. For instance, the spicy chicken with Spanish rice and beans - all parts in one container or several containers?

 

I found some plastic containers that had three different sections in them that were reusable. I can't remember where I got them. They were perfect for the chicken/rice/beans and for any protein/starch/veggie combo that would freeze well. Here's a photo I just found (I see I called it Mexican Chicken). Although they were said to be reusable, I didn't really test that much. They stayed in good shape after freezing and microwave heating, so I think they could probably be used a few times. But I don't know, would people here feel safe re-using plastic many times? Maybe I'm paranoid. At the same time, I felt bad putting them into recycling after only one use! But this was a limited-time situation for us, not sure what I would use if I wanted to do the same thing again. I'd also love to know what other people use! 

 

120096241_PXL_20220320_182012214(2).thumb.jpg.bb9674d828898973f140469d9140bcaa.jpg

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Figured out where I bought them - at Canadian Tire store here in BC. I imagine the same or similar are available in other areas. If you do a search on Amazon for "Meal Prep Containers" you'll see some for 2 or 3-compartment ones. 

 

These are the ones I had, I think. 

 

Meal Prep 3-Section Container Set, 40-pc Front_Elevated

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12 hours ago, TdeV said:

@FauxPas and @liamsaunt, I'm interested to know how your meals are packaged. For instance, the spicy chicken with Spanish rice and beans - all parts in one container or several containers? Ditto, beef stroganoff with egg noodles, or mustard pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes and green beans?

 

 

 

I have different containers for different types of meals.  Like FauxPas, I have some of those three-section containers with lids.  I use those for meals that have separate components that can be entirely microwaved.  For meals that taste best reheated in the oven/toaster oven, I have individual serving-size ceramic dishes that are freezer and ovenproof, as well as foil containers with disposable foil-lined paper lids that can have their contents written on them (lids discarded before reheating of course).  Finally, I have different sizes of leakproof plastic containers with lids for saucy stuff.  

 

For noodle dishes like the stroganoff, I usually cook and package the noodles separately, and then my brother puts them on a plate, tops them with the saucy element, and reheats the meal in the microwave.  The pork was sent over in a three-section container, and I assume microwaved like that.  My brother does replate everything on regular dishes with real silverware to make it seem like a "normal "meal for my Dad.

 

For the salads, I have two sets of different sizes of lidded round plastic bowls and a set of small Tupperware containers for their dressings.  My brother washes all of the Tupperware and ceramic and returns them to me once a week.  I should mention that we only live 15-20 minutes away from each other, so frequent drop-offs of food and dishes are feasible for us.

 

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I really love the idea of the compartment containers.   Not something I'd thought of before!

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Marlene

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Batch cooking is how we live. How we have lived for many years now.  How I missed this topic I cannot say.   We are the proud owners of an incredible 1976 chest freezer in the cellar which still runs beautifully, plus a large chest 'dog' freezer in the garage (where things go for their primary freeze-up), plus two full fridges (we had a son live with us for a few years) each with a freezer and thus, although I hate the 'chest freezers' with a passion, we have LOTS of freezer space and trust me it is well used. 

 

I started to make a list of all the dishes I batch cook and those which Ed batch cooks and how we pack things and freeze them and mark them and thaw them and reheat them and how I keep track of them.  But I probably don't have anything useful to add to the posts already up.  We are neither of us accomplished cooks and are probably satisfied with meals which fall short of the mark.  So, many thanks Marlene for starting this topic and I'll gladly follow it now.  And check our Canadian Tire for those meal prep containers (thanks Faux Pas).

 

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

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Here is this week's delivery.  In the front, the short ribs and mashed potatoes are in a large container because my brother and father both plan to eat this meal together tomorrow.  The middle left is basically the same chicken meal I posted in the dinner thread on Friday.  The middle center is another serving (frozen) of the Guinness beef stew I made last week.  He'll have that with some more of the bread I made and sent over last week.  The right middle is the bratwurst meal I made for us last night, but with spaetzle and spinach instead of potato pancakes.  He already has some of my applesauce in his fridge.  

 

The back row is a bag of spicy turkey meatballs portioned, vacuum sealed, and frozen (no sauce, because there is still some sauce my Mom made in his freezer, and he prefers her recipe to mine), plus purchased ciabatta rolls (for meatball sandwiches) and cranberry bread (for breakfast) from a local bakery that he likes.  The salads for this week did not make it into the picture, other than the Greek salad that goes with the chicken meal.

 

menu.thumb.jpg.c208362c0279a18a035ebf1af5243e2c.jpg

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20 minutes ago, liamsaunt said:

Here is this week's delivery.

Like others, I am in awe. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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6 hours ago, Darienne said:

And check our Canadian Tire for those meal prep containers (thanks Faux Pas).

 

Check around a bit and check sales. I bought mine on sale as regular price seemed a bit high to me. 

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Made up a batch of burgers for freezing.  I'll flash freeze these first then vacuum seal in a few hours.  I will keep one out for dinner tonight though!

 

 

burgers.jpg

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Marlene

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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1 minute ago, rotuts said:

@Marlene 

 

excellent

 

how do you flash freeze ?

 

 

I have a small chest freezer that is really cold.  I put these on the baking sheet uncovered, lay it in the freezer and in about 2 - 3 hours they will be hard enough to vacuum seal without getting squished.  

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Marlene

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Nice thread! I’d love more ideas and pointers on batch cooking, I’ve lost motivation to cook after work right now and I’ve made a few batches of things and enjoyed the ease of food after work but kinda struggle with ideas and a lot of searching brings up very Americanised heavy on the cheese creams and other things that isn’t good for the waistline and the lactose intolerant like my partner. 

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