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Too often, we sometimes wonder what we’ll be eating in the evening to finish off an industrial dish like lasagna or pizza or even a takeaway. Which can be enjoyable from time to time, but burdensome in terms of health and wallet. Batch cooking is a trend that is rapidly gaining popularity on the web because it responds to a truly global desire: to eat better, cheaper and easier. The principle is very simple: you come up with a menu for the next week (the menu should be determined for Thursday or Friday), list the necessary ingredients (preferably from more economical and much higher quality seasonal products) and shop. All you have to do is sit quietly on a day off, a priori Sunday afternoon, and cook food for the entire week in a row before refrigeration and freezing. It’s a real cooking moment, a habit, an organization that needs to be established, but it frees up the entire week ahead of making sure you eat homemade food without having to go back to the supermarket and give in to temptation. things that would be redundant. The time savings are significant because instead of wasting time preparing dishes every day, you cook them all at once, the key is to use the cooking time of one recipe to cook another. Washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen are also concentrated on the same day, which saves energy and resources. Plus, by preparing all the ingredients at once, you no longer store raw food in the refrigerator, reducing the risk of food going bad or past its expiration date. You are starting the week right. At first glance, this may seem agonizing, as it requires setting a new weekend benchmark, but if you think about it, it makes the next 5 or 6 days a lot easier (depending on whether you decide to include Saturday in your kitchen plan or not). leaving a day off). This is very practical: every evening of the week everything will be ready, you don’t have to think about what you are going to cook, and especially you don’t need to prepare for too long. Simply assemble and reheat prepared meals.
First of all, you need storage boxes for your fridge and freezer. If you’re cooking on a Sunday, the first two or three meals a week, depending on their content, can simply be refrigerated. Weekend meals should be frozen and taken out the day before or the morning of consumption. Place only fully chilled foods in the freezer and label them with the name of the food and the date of freezing. For economic and environmental reasons, favor washable and reusable containers. They should close tightly to prevent food from oxidizing and drying out. Buy a notebook that lists the different menus you have prepared so you can choose from tried and tested recipes.
Many batch cookers have invested in a slow cooker (Crock-Pot or Cookeo). It saves time (and taste) with a device that will cook one meal a week while you do everything else, in quantities that will allow you to freeze two to three servings for the next two or three weeks. This will free the oven or stovetop. Feel free to consider this option, it’s insane.
To make your life easier, imagine repetition on your menu. This season, nothing stops you from acting like this: your 5 meals a week could include a savory pie, meat or fish with vegetables and starch, a vegetarian dish, a casserole or soup with a slice of bread and a stew of your choice.
If this is your first batch, the first thing to do is take an inventory of the contents of your cabinets, freezer, and refrigerator. The goal of the first sessions is to empty the entire stock as much as possible. Savings start by cutting down on initial launches by leveraging what you already have. Write down all of these ingredients and consider using them on your first menu. After that, you will only buy what you need for your menu.
Then list the 5 meals you cook most often (roll, sausages, meatballs, thawed dish, pasta, soup, etc.) and analyze what vegetables and protein types you buy (meat and fish). Then list what you would like to add to your daily preparations, it’s time to rethink your meal plan (vegetables you don’t normally buy, canned legumes, various cereals like quinoa or black rice, curry pastes, etc.). We then come together to change our habits without any limits. Add a jar of legumes in bolo (which can cook on their own in a slow cooker and make 5-6 servings at once), a serving of oats instead of an egg in meatloafs and derivatives, a jar of coconut milk for sauce that you can use for two days for chicken, then slices of pumpkin for a vegetarian dish, etc. See what fruits and vegetables are currently available, you will find tables of Belgian seasonal products on the web. Choose a few main ingredients for the menu. One of the kneading principles is to use the same ingredient or the same preparation in several dishes to make the job easier. Check off the seasonal ingredients that you like, you can make a list that will allow you to use them every week. Finally, look for current promotions where you usually shop to take advantage of the extra savings.
In addition to reusing the same ingredient in multiple recipes, overall cooking saves even more time. For example, bolo sauce can be served with pasta and then used as a base for chili con carne. Vegetable puree can be served as a side dish and then used to make shepherd’s pie or croquettes. Ratatouille makes an easy accompaniment to savory pie fillings and/or stuffed tomatoes or peppers mixed with minced meat or rice. Instead of cutting 3 zucchini, cut 6 or 7, it only takes a few minutes.
Menu idea for the week
The key ingredients of this menu offer are used in several recipes to combine purchases, save money and significantly reduce cooking time. When you begin kneading, place all ingredients on a work surface. Cut and/or cook ingredients for two recipes at the same time before shipping. To use here as a common denominator: chicken, green beans, green cabbage of your choice, chinese cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, red onion, garlic, coral lentils, cheddar, cajun spices, coriander, heavy cream.
Monday: chicken noodles with peanuts
500g chicken breast + 200g halved green beans + 300g noodles of your choice + 80g Chinese cabbage leaves + fresh coriander + shop-bought hoisin sauce (+peanuts) or 75g toasted sesame seeds + 75g unsalted roasted peanuts + 125ml mirin + 80 ml soy sauce.
- Boil the chicken for 10 minutes in boiling water, then let cool for 10 minutes before carving.
- Boil or steam beans.
- Boil the noodles as directed on the package.
- Prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients.
- Mix chicken, beans, noodles, cabbage leaves, cilantro and sauce in a salad bowl.
Tuesday: Sweet potato and pumpkin soup with nuts, coral lentils and Cajun spices.
1 sweet potato + 2/3 butternut squash + 1 minced red onion + 1 minced garlic clove + 100 g green or coral lentils + 1 stock cube + 600 ml water + 1 tbsp. in with. Cajun Spice Blend + 2 tbsp. in with. heavy cream + coriander.
- Clean the vegetables and cut them.
- Fry the onion and garlic in a small amount of oil in a saucepan, cover with water, add the cube, cajun spices and cook for 20 minutes.
- Stir, add fresh cream and lentils washed with water, heat for 1 minute and mix.
- Sprinkle with cilantro.
Wednesday: Chinese cabbage savory pie with green beans, green cabbage and parmesan.
1 shortcrust pastry + 200 g green beans, 200 g chinese and cauliflower mixture + 200 g smoked bacon pieces + 10 basil leaves + 5 rosemary sprigs or 1 tbsp. in with. dry rosemary + 4 eggs + 100 g grated parmesan + 100 ml milk + 300 ml fresh cream + salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 200° (hours 6-7).
- Dip the shortbread dough (together with parchment) into a baking dish, prick the bottom with a fork, bake blindly with a load for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 180° (step 6).
- Boil the beans and cauliflower in boiling water (add the Chinese cabbage 1 minute after the end of cooking to make it blanched). Brown the bacon in a skillet.
- Put vegetables, basil, rosemary, 2 tbsp. in with. cream and season. Mix in mashed potatoes, put on the bottom of the pie. Sprinkle with cooked bacon.
- Whip remaining cream with whole eggs, parmesan and milk. Pepper. Pour this Parmesan cream over the pie and bake for 25-30 minutes.
8 corn tortillas + 2 chicken fillets + leftover 1/3 butternut + 100g red lentils + 400g canned chopped tomatoes + 125g canned red beans + 1 small can of corn + 100g cheddar cheese + 1 chopped red onion + 1 garlic clove + 1 st. in with. level Cajun spices + 1 tbsp. in with. English level sauce + salt and pepper.
- Cut a piece of pumpkin as small as possible. Fry it in oil with onions and garlic, then add chopped tomatoes, minced chicken and spices. Let simmer for 15 minutes before adding red beans, lentils and corn. Continue cooking for 2 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Fill the tortillas with this generous filling and roll them up before placing on a platter.
- Sprinkle with grated cheddar and brown for 15 minutes in the oven.
Friday: Cheddar Pasta
300 g pasta + 1 part cauliflower + 1 part green cabbage + 2 sprigs thyme + 50 g butter + 50 g flour + 600 ml whole milk + 140 g grated cheddar cheese + 2 garlic cloves, crushed + nutmeg + 50 g breadcrumbs breadcrumbs + salt and ground pepper.
- Boil pasta in salted boiling water. 8 minutes after the end of cooking, add detailed cauliflower and green cabbage. Drain and reserve.
- Meanwhile, cook bechamel in a skillet. Melt butter before adding flour. Continue cooking 1 min. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking, and simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce. Nutmeg, salt, pepper. Remove from heat, add cheddar and stir.
- Pour the sauce over the reserved pasta and cauliflower and stir to combine. Transfer to a gratin dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs garnished with garlic and thyme.
- Place under the roaster for 3 minutes.