Can batch cooking solve the weeknight dinner dilemma?


Any busy family can attest to the weeknight dinner dilemma. But, can batch cooking solve that nightly cooking issue?

After a long day, cooking a healthy, satisfying meal can be the last thing that anyone wants to accomplish. For the busy family, the weeknight dinner dilemma can become frustrating. Sometimes that overwhelming cooking issue can lead families to head to the drive-thru. Instead of dinner from a bag, batch cooking can simplify the weeknight dinner.

Batch cooking, solving weeknight dinner dilemma, photo from PRNewswire

is batch cooking?

Batch cooking is a simple concept. Basically, a person cooks multiple portions in a single cooking session. For example, a home cook can cook 50 meatballs on an afternoon versus the typical 10 meatballs for a weeknight dinner. The extra meatballs would be frozen and used at a later date. While this version of batch cooking is great, it does require ample freezer space. But, it isn’t the only way to use batch cooking.

Sometimes a particular protein leans itself to larger scale cooking but also a variety of meals. This type of batch cooking incorporates the “planned leftover” scenario. For example, Monday’s dinner could be a skirt steak with corn on the cob. Instead of cooking 4 ears of corn, you cook 10 ears of corn and 2 steaks versus one. The extra food can be the family’s taco Tuesday dinner. Simply cut up the skirt steak and corn. Add some salsa from the refrigerator and tortillas from the pantry. Another weeknight dinner is on the table without another stop at the store or standing over the stove.

Planned overs, photo from PRNewswire

What are the benefits of batch cooking?

The benefits of batch cooking, either large quantities of one particular meal or a larger quantity of particular ingredients, are many. First, families can easily plan dinners during the week. No one wants the back seat battle of “what’s for dinner” or “what do you want for dinner” scenario. These occurrences add stress to an already stressful week. Taking the time to plan eliminates the “unknown” factor. Just like the over-scheduled family calendar, dinner has a schedule too.

Second, batch cooking can be an easy way to add healthier ingredients to a dish. Some kids, and adults, may not be reaching for the bag of kale for dinner. But, cooking in batches can easily add vegetables to many weeknight meals. From extra veggies in a red sauce to chopped veggies in a side dish, a little early prep work can ensure everyone has a healthy option at dinner.

Third, batch cooking can save money. Buying ingredients in bulk can be very cost effective. Whether buying in a warehouse store or maximizing a grocery store sale, stocking up can keep your wallet full. The key item to remember is to vary the recipes. While you can cook a dozen chicken breasts, you don’t want to serve plain chicken breast 12 days in a row. Flavor variety, like Tuscan chicken on Wednesday and Thai chicken on Friday, can avoid ingredient boredom.

Batch cooking recipes

From recipe bloggers to food magazines, batch cooking recipes are everywhere. Recently, the Beef Checkoff shared some batch cooking recipes for beef. Looking at the majority of these recipes, the dishes are easy to follow. No one needs to be intimidated to cook any of these recipes. The techniques are simple. But, if you want to add new spices or flavors, you can customize the recipes as well.

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Are you ready to avoid the weeknight dinner dilemma? Try batch cooking for a week. It might make your weeknight dinners a little less stressful.