Bulk Cooking to Save Time and Money

Last week I shared with you my Healthy Banana bread recipe that my son and I just LOVED!! Well, that recipe makes more than 2 people need to eat in a week. So, being the smart, frugal and health conscious woman that I am, I used my mini loaf pans and made 5 mini banana breads. We kept 2 of the loaves out for breakfast/snacks last week and I froze the rest.  Over the weekend, I also made a crockpot full of Chicken and Sweet Potato chili. And again, this recipe made more than my little family could/should eat in a week. So once again, I froze a good chunk of it.

Now I would love to give credit where credit is due, but I honestly can’t remember where I read about bulk cooking for the first time. I’m sure it was somewhere on Pinterest. However, I also remember my mom freezing a few things. Most of the freezing I remember her doing was meat. She is the queen of sale shopping. Seriously. I’m talking ground beef by the 10 lb. tube (sometimes by the case) bags of frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts and if ground pork was on sale for $1 or less a roll, she would buy 10 of them. I didn’t quite understand this when I was younger, but fast forward to my single momma life on a budget, and I get it now!  I always try to pad my grocery budget with a little extra for this type of shopping, but that’s a whole other post I’ll get to soon.

Back to bulk cooking…I started doing this a few years ago when I was doing ALL THE THINGS. Mikah was 5 and had just started Kindergarten. I had just bought our house and we were remodeling. Also during this time I was training for a ½ marathon and taking 6 credit hours at my local community college. I was an idiot. Or just a glutton for punishment. Either way, I didn’t have time to cook every night. I also didn’t have the money for us to eat out every meal, nor would that promote the healthy lifestyle I try to live. So, I bulk cooked. I would menu plan and grocery shop on Saturday afternoons and then cook extras of a few meals over the rest of the weekend. Enough meals for my lunches and dinners for 2 for the week would go in the refrigerator and the rest would go to the freezer. This meant that I not only cooked once for multiple meals, I also only had to CLEAN once.  It was magical. Home cooked meals just as quick as I could microwave them. And extra time during the week that I could spend with Mikah, and not cooking and cleaning.

My favorite meal to bulk cook is chili. It’s so simple, and I have 2 crockpots so I make one pot for Mikah (without green peppers and large onion chunks) and one pot for me (with extra veggies) Lately, I’ve been cooking extras of random ingredients that I use often as well. Ground beef, brown rice and dry beans are all staples in my house and you can pretty much always find 1 pound packages of these in my freezer ready to grab and thaw quick for a recipe.

A few things to remember when bulk cooking as I’ve described above:

  • portion each meal into single serving containers for a quick lunch; or
  • portion a double serving of the recipe if you plan to reheat for dinner for multiple people.
  • once the recipe has been divided into it’s container, let cool on the counter before sealing the lid. This will help prevent condensation in the container and freezer burn.

If you find yourself eating out more often than you’d like because you just didn’t have time to cook dinner that night, give these suggestions a try!  And I’d love for you to share some of your recipes if you’re into bulk cooking like I am!

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