Batch Cooking

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Batch cooking can refer to the popular once-a-month cooking method or simply doubling a recipe every time you cook. Once-a-month cooking eliminates the need to cook most days, but it can be cumbersome: a lot of planning is necessary, an entire day must be devoted to cooking and food preparation, and purchasing a month’s worth of food at once does not allow you to take advantage of sales. It also eliminates most fresh food.

A simpler method for beginners is three-day cooking. This limits cooking to two days per week, but allows for fresh food and ingredients. Look for recipes that use the same ingredients. Purchasing meat is usually less expensive if you purchase a larger cut or package of meat. Make three meals out of each purchase, thus cutting down on the energy used to prepare the meal and the time required for you to cook. Freezing the extra dinners is unnecessary because most prepared foods last safely for three days when refrigerated. This method usually requires that you shop two days per week which may seem excessive, but purchasing fewer items at a time means they can easily be transported by walking or bicycling.

Sample three-day meal: Cook one whole chicken in large pot with carrots, celery, onions and enough water to cover chicken on low for several hours. Remove chicken and half of vegetables. (chicken can be wrapped in cheese cloth prior to cooking to make removal easier) Add a starch to broth and vegetables to make a chicken-flavored soup without any chicken. Use dark meat from chicken, half of the cooked vegetables, noodles or pie crust, and a little broth mixed with flour to make a chicken pot pie, and the white meat from the chicken to make any traditional chicken dish you prefer.