A Week in the Life: Batch cooking (sort of)

by Melody on May 1, 2013

Welcome to a Week in the Life.  Each week I will be sharing a round-up of all the different ways I saved our family money or time.  Or both.  The purpose of this series is to highlight the fact that there are SO many different methods you can use to lower your overall budget that don’t involve mad-crazy coupon shopping.

I have been really struggling to stick with menu planning at the beginning of each week.  On one hand, it saves me a ton of time and SO much anxiety.  Like the “I have this meat defrosted, what in the heavens am I supposed to do with it?  We had chicken last night, are we bored of it?  I have NO VEGGIES to put alongside the chicken” kind of anxiety.  And this is all happening about 5:15 PM when we get home from the gym.  Blah.

I know it saves time and I know I need to do it, but can’t get my act in gear.  I was doing so good for several months, but as soon as the sun came out, I fell off the wagon.  Why do I do this?  Do you do this?  Please tell me you do.

One thing I have been doing a pretty good job at is some semi-batch cooking.  Instead of just cooking for one meal, I try to cook enough for at least one meal and one lunch or two dinners.  I also try to have some make ahead snacks to make prepping my husband’s lunch easier.  While this may not be complete menu planning, it is at least sort of planning ahead.

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We ate a ginormous lunch on Sunday, so didn’t eat much for dinner.  While I was putting away dishes that evening, I decided to cook a half-meal so my husband would have some lunch eats.  I cooked up a package of turkey sausage, a tray of sweet potato fries and a dozen hard boiled eggs.  The sausage and fries gave me enough to send two full lunches for him, without a whole lot of extra effort.

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After I prep my hard boiled eggs, I peel them all at once and keep them in an empty egg carton in the fridge.  If I have clean Tupperware (not always the case), I pack a few snacks ahead of time.  Each day, my husband gets two eggs and 2-3 ounces of deli turkey or ham as part of his snack, so it’s easy to do this in advance.

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Our breakfasts generally consist of scrambled or fried eggs and fruit, but every so often I get all wild and make waffles for the boys.  We had our neighbors over for breakfast a few days ago, so I decided to make a double batch.  It may take longer to make two full batches of waffles, but dirtying dishes, beating egg whites and heating up the waffle iron just once is well worth it.  We ate almost a full batch and I froze the rest of the waffles.  Now we just pop a few out and throw them in the toaster.  Super easy breakfast!

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I always have a batch of these Homemade Larabars on hand, except I roll mine into smaller balls.  I love to have one of these and a few pieces of deli turkey as a snack and my boys request them non-stop.  They are a semi-sweet treat that helps to satisfy my cravings and is super easy to grab and go.  We have zero crackers, chips, pretzels or other convenience snacks in the house, so these are a must.

Question of the Week: What are your favorite things to prep ahead of time in the kitchen?

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