Cooking in Bulk
Although this may sound like something your granny would do it actually makes very good financial sense and is the ideal option if you're on a tight budget. Ignore any remarks from your housemates and, instead, watch with a smug grin on your face when they scrape around for the makings of a meal as you tuck into delicious homemade food night after night.
Easy MealsCooking in bulk is really nothing more than making a bit extra and then storing the surplus food in the fridge or freezer until it's required. No extra cooking skills are required but you will need to have a little food knowledge as it's not always as simple as doubling the amounts in a recipe. For example, certain spices and seasonings are calculated to work exactly with the other ingredients - chucking in twice as much chilli powder might ruin the dish. However, with relatively straightforward recipes and dishes, you should be able to just increase the amounts. It's always a good idea to taste the food as you go along (obviously not while meat or chicken is still uncooked), to ensure the flavours are working and you'll soon get a feel for the amounts of ingredients you need to double or treble the dish.
Money MattersCooking in bulk allows you to work out your food budget more accurately. You can do a big shop at the beginning of the month, or whenever your bank account is looking most healthy, and then you can plan meals around that. That way you can use up all your fresh vegetables soon after purchase and ensure you have healthy meals to hand, even when the money has run out. One large lasagne or shepherd's pie can be divided into single servings and could make as many as eight meals. Do think about variety though - however good your lasagne tastes, you might want it every night for a week. So, unless you're particularly keen on one meal, then it's probably best to have a couple of options to choose from. If you don't have a microwave and your meals are frozen, don't forget to transfer them to the fridge so they have time to properly defrost before cooking.
Ideas for Bulk CookingCertain recipes are just perfect for bulk cooking, as they won't really take any longer to prepare whether you're cooking enough for two servings or ten. Soup is ideal for using up odd vegetables before they go past their best, while casseroles can help you take advantage of any special offers on meat in the supermarket. Make sure you have plenty of freezer-proof containers so you can store your meals in single servings. If the containers are microwave and/or ovenproof as well, all the better! Here are some of the best ideas to try out first:
- Fish Pie
- Cottage Pie
- Chicken Casserole
- Bolognese Sauce
- Chicken Curry (without the rice)