There are plenty of cook books, YouTube videos and blogs dedicated to cooking lots of meals in one day. Have you watched / read them ? Although I love a good bulk cooking video I feel exhausted just watching them.
I have to ask though, who has time to set aside a whole day or weekend to cook meal after meal ? Then there's all the dirty dishes to clean up.
There is lots and lots of planning, shopping and food prep that goes into a bulk cooking day. Not forgetting you need to have a decent amount of freezer space available to store all these meals at the same time. .
Bulk cooking really does sound like a good idea but might not be practical for many people.
I've been bulk cooking for many years but my way is much different to the usual method. My method takes far less time, uses less gas / electricity and still provides a dinner to eat that night as well as meals for the freezer.
Here's how I bulk cook -
* Each night that I'm cooking a meal, I cook double, triple or quadruple the amount of food at the same time.
* We eat some of the food for dinner that night.
* After eating dinner, the rest of the food is portioned out into single, double or family sized portions.
* The food is cooled for a few hours in the fridge, the lids are put on and labelled with names, dates and serves.
* The food is then frozen.
It's really is that simple. Yes it takes a few extra minutes to cut more veggies. . It might take an extra 10 minutes to cook the larger meal, It takes about 5 minutes to portion out the extra food. That's it.
REPEAT this process a few times a week and over time you collect a variety of meals in the freezer.
I have a small 120 litre freezer dedicated to prepared meals that are rotated on a regular basis. Because I have a good stockpile of meals, there are some weeks I don't need to cook from scratch at all. Then perhaps the next week I bulk cook one or two meals to keep the supply going.
Here are a list of meals I've successfully bulk cooked / prepared and frozen -
* Spag bol meat sauce. I only need to cook the pasta when we eat this.
* Lasagne - I cook a large lasagne and portion out. We add steamed veggies to round out the meal when I pull the frozen lasagne portions out of the freezer.
* Chicken curry - This is cooked in the slow cooker and portioned out into takeaway containers. If I have too much rice from dinner that night I portion the curry and rice into complete single serve meals.
* Chop suey - I portion out the chop suey and freeze. I cook mashed potato or rice on the night we eat it.
* Beef stew ( or any stew ) - Is cooked, portioned and frozen as is. I cook mashed potato on the night we eat it.
* Massaman beef curry - I portion the curry and any leftover rice into individual meals. If there is no leftover rice the curry is frozen by itself. Rice and poppadums are served with the curry.
* Salmon patties - These can be quite messy and time consuming to make. I open 3 - 4 tins of salmon at a time, add mash and veggies to stretch the salmon out. This can make about 60 patties at a time. If I'm making a mess, I do it once and make many meals. The patties are frozen into meal sized packages and any odd patties are frozen for lunches or single serves.
* Hamburger patties - I season bulk amounts of fresh beef mince and use a hamburger press to portion the patties out. Some are eaten that night and the rest of the raw patties are frozen with plastic cereal packet squares in between to make them easy to separate.
* Tuna pasta bake - I cook up all the ingredients and assemble it in casserole dishes. Add the cheese on top. One is baked in the oven to eat that night and the others are frozen to be baked at a later date.
* Sausage casserole - I cook it in bulk in 1 or 2 slow cookers ( at a time ). It is portioned into casserole dishes and frozen. When we eat it I cook mash or rice to serve on the side.
* Soups - This is an easy one to bulk cook. Just keep adding lots of veggies to the pot. We eat it for dinner that night and freeze the rest into family and single sized portions.
* Zucchini slice - Just cook large slabs of it and cut into squares to freeze. This is great to add to salad in Summer or meat and veg in Winter.
* Meatloaf - Prepare the raw mince as per recipe and portion into meal sized tins and cook. Cool the meatloaf and take out of the tin. Slice and double wrap in plastic / foil and freeze
|Chunky chicken and veg soup|
|Beef stew and soup|
|Sausage casserole portioned to freeze|
|Slabs of zucchini slice|
|Cooking sausage casserole in bulk|
|Chicken curry meals|