Approx 800 words.
From saving time and money in the long run to reducing the amount of food you throw away, batch-cooking has a bounty of benefits. Senior content manager Ellie Donnell shares some of her favourite recipes to cook in bulk, from midweek staples to breakfast and baking ideas
There is so much joy to be had in knowing there’s something already cooked in your fridge or freezer at the end of a long day. A little bit of forward planning pays off, big time, and there are lots of ways to make batch-cooking work for you. It could mean prepping lunch for the first few days of the week, or doubling up the quantities of today’s dinner so you have something ready to eat midweek. It could even mean making a huge pot of tomato sauce to eat with pasta on Monday, then transforming it into shakshuka on Tuesday and a curry on Wednesday…
A little extra work can mean days of eating well in the long run. But that’s not all! It’s a fantastic way of saving money, whether it stops you relying on ready-meals and takeaways or allows you to get more out of the ingredients in your weekly shop.
Batch-cooked meals are my midweek heroes. So, I’ve listed some of the top recipes that have saved me time and money again and again. Give them a go and get ahead – your future self will thank you.
Chillies are one of the ultimate meals to cook in bulk. They’re made in one pot using easily available ingredients and freeze nicely too. While rice might seem like the obvious serving choice, baked potatoes, couscous or flatbreads also make great accompaniments. Change up the sides each time you serve it for a revamped meal in minutes.
Or, if you prefer, try this meaty version using just three ingredients!
For a meal that will see you through dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow, double up the quantities for this enchilada soup. The tortilla crisps only take five minutes to make and add a wonderful crunch to the dish!
You can’t beat a trusty curry to deliver comfort, flavour and satisfaction in one dish. Plus, this creamy coconut version only takes 30 minutes to make. That’s very little work for multiple meals!
A slow-cooked beef stew makes fine fare on a Sunday when you have a little more time on your hands. If you’re going to spend an hour or two making a dish, you may as well make it go as far as possible! Double the ingredients and enjoy this beauty again in the week. Call it a Wednesday night treat…
Traybakes are ace at producing big flavour for very little effort, as the roasting process intensifies the flavour of the ingredients. I like cooking huge trays of veggies, which can be served as they are, or alongside, meat, fish, cheese or tofu to make them go further. Take this curried mushroom bake – it would go well with chicken thighs on day one and crispy fried tofu on day two.
6. Tomato sauce
A really good tomato sauce has got to be one of my secret weapons when it comes to cooking up an array of dishes. There’s little it can’t do! Stir through pasta for a dinner everyone will love, spread on top of pizza bases or pour over veggie-filled wraps for easy enchiladas… the list goes on!
Struggling to find quick and easy vegan recipes to make during the week? Make a big batch of this sweet potato and spinach curry for a meal that keeps on giving. It’s gluten- and dairy-free too.
If you’re one of those people who tends to skip breakfast in the morning, for lack of time or appetite, make something that’s too delicious to ignore! You’ll bounce out of bed knowing this mocha granola is waiting for you. Bake a big batch at the weekend and enjoy all week. Serve with milk or yogurt, plus 80g of fresh fruit to get in one of your five a day.
Did you know you can freeze cake? Yep, it’s a thing. This piña colada traybake feeds 24 people, so enjoy half now and stick the other half in your freezer for any last-minute guests (or just when you fancy a sweet treat).
Note: the icing doesn’t freeze so you’ll need to make this separately. Simply follow steps 10, 11 and 12 when you’re ready to serve.
Senior content manager