Batch cooking is a clever way to get a head start on the week, guaranteeing wholesome midweek meals without having to spend that precious after-work time in the kitchen. What’s more, bulk-buying and cooking can help you shave a few extra pennies off your grocery and gas bills in the process.
All of these recipes can be frozen or made on a Sunday and reheated over the following days. If freezing them, think about portioning them out into clearly labelled Tupperware with the date and a note on what it contains – a good way to avoid playing freezer roulette! Here are our favourite batch cooking recipes to inspire you.
1. Kid-friendly fishcakes
This fishcake recipe makes enough for two people, but triple or quadruple the recipe, and you can easily pop the extras in the freezer. Place them in the freezer once you’ve moulded them into patties, preferably between sheets of greaseproof paper so they don’t stick together. When you’re ready to cook, bung them straight from frozen into the oven. 200ºC for about 30 minutes should do it, making sure they’re piping hot through before serving. Delicious with a squeeze of lemon and a green salad.
2. Veggie bean stew
For a veggie option the whole family will love, try Georgina Hayden’s Cowboy bean stew. “The beauty of serving these cowboy beans is that they can be taken a variety of ways”, she says. “Make a huge batch and serve it straight up like a stew. Then the next day, serve leftovers on a bed of rice with grated Cheddar, just like a chilli. Or you could reduce it down over a medium heat and use it to fill tortillas, along with chopped avocado and a little yoghurt. It also works well for very little ones in the form of a purée”. A proper one-pot family meal.
3. Good old Spaghetti Bol
You can’t go wrong with a good spaghetti Bolognese recipe. A classic kitchen staple, we swear by keeping a proper spaghetti bolognese recipe super simple to let the quality meat do the talking. Grated carrot adds a lovely crunch and also helps to thicken the rich, herby tomato sauce. This recipe serves four so make a double batch and freeze the leftovers, or serve it up over the following evenings on a jacket potato with extra grated cheese.
4. Hearty sausage & lentil stew
This sausage and lentil one-pot wonder will warm you through on a winter’s night. Revive leftovers with creamy mash, on a jacket potato or with lovely steamed or buttered greens.
5. Family-favourite fish pie
A well-made fish pie is a thing of dreams – big chunks of freshly caught fish, a herby cream sauce and a generous layer of golden mash. Make a double batch of this fish pie recipe, divide between two baking dishes, then cover with foil and pop directly in the freezer before cooking. To cook from frozen, place in a 160ºC preheated oven, covered with tin foil, for about 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours, or until piping hot throughout. To get it lovely and browned on top, remove the foil for the last 30 minutes.
6. Vegan chickpea & coconut curry
A healthy, vegan mid-week meal, this chickpea curry recipe is just as comforting in a bowl on its own or served with rice for something more substantial.
7. One-pot lamb & squash stew
Food writer, Gill Meller’s lamb stew recipe is the perfect one-pot supper, championing hearty winter ingredients; squash, kale and melt-in-your-mouth lamb.
8. Slow-cooked beef shin
For a sumptuous Sunday dinner, slow-cook this melting beef shin and transform the leftovers on Monday night. Combine any leftover mash and beef with chopped greens to form bubble and squeak-style patties. Serve with the sticky sauce and a fried egg on top.
Want to cook more from scratch, save cash and feel healthier too? Here are six simple ways you can kick-start a healthier year.