Hands down, batch cooking is one of the best ways for a large family to save money on a small budget.
I fell in love with batch cooking the first time I made a big batch of chili for my family that fed us for about a week and only cost about $16 to make. Not only was the chili healthy, but it was a low-cost dinner option that was convenient for our busy schedules.
Batch cooking has been a wonderful way for our family to enjoy more time together while saving money. That’s why today I wanted to write about saving money through batch cooking!
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How to start batch cooking for a large family on a small budget
What is batch cooking?
Batch cooking is all about cooking large meals with the intent of having leftovers to either eat during the remainder of the week or freeze for an easy meal. Cooking large meals in batches is perfect for feeding large families without spending a ton of money.
Batch cooking is perfect for weekend meal prep so you can go into the week prepared with food! I usually spend an hour or two prepping my wife’s and my lunch, snacks, and some dinners so the week goes smoothly.
Let’s face it. Who wants to come home after a long day of work and cook dinner for themselves? Not many people, which is why it’s so easy to get into the habit of eating fast food for dinner, lunch, and sometimes breakfast!
Who should consider batch cooking?
While I highly recommend that everyone try batch cooking, it isn’t for everyone. You should consider batch cooking if you:
- Want to eat healthily and stay consistent with your health goals
- Are low on time and need quick and easy meals
- Have a large family to feed
- Are interested in saving money on food
- Don’t mind eating leftovers
There are so many benefits to batch cooking! It is worth spending a few hours each Sunday to get ready for the week.
Batch cooking items that you’ll absolutely love
When you start batch cooking for the first time, there are a few items you’re going to need. The first thing you’re going to need is something to cook your large meals in. The three things I highly recommend batch cookers have are:
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
I thought my wife was crazy when she said she wanted an Instant Pot! I’ve heard stories of older pressure cookers that would explode and I didn’t want to scrape dinner off of the ceiling!
However, the instant pot ended up being one of my favorite cooking tools. This thing cooks dinner fast and it’s easy to clean. Not to mention, there are a ton of pressure cooker accessories you can get!
It hasn’t exploded yet, but it has made delicious hard-boiled eggs.
I need to start trusting my wife’s purchases more! She’s the inspiration behind the best purchases that save you money.
Slow Cooker/Crock Pot
See it on Amazon.
Slow cookers are another great kitchen item for batch cooking because you can set it and forget it. I love being able to dump food in and come back 8 hours later to a dinner already cooked.
I don’t know what it is, but something about slow cooking food makes it taste absolutely delicious. That’s why the Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker is perfect for your family.
Everyone needs a large pot when batch cooking. The larger the pot, the larger the meal and more money savings!
Seriously, I love cooking a huge meal and eating leftovers. I don’t have to cook for a while and most batch cooking meals are inexpensive.
I get that not everyone wants to eat the same meals over and over again. You’ll want to store your meals to either eat the following week or to freeze for convenient meals months down the road. To help keep your food you’ll need:
A good set of glass Tupperware will help save food for leftovers. I prefer glass Tupperware because glass is microwave safe for easy reheating.
Batch cooking is going to provide you with a lot of leftovers. As much as I might like a certain meal, I don’t want to eat only that one meal for a week.
Vacuum sealers are great for storing meals for a lengthy period of time. Your food will last longer and be more protected from freezer burn while using a vacuum sealer.
My favorite part about vacuum sealers is I have a ready-made meal when I don’t feel like cooking. I just pull it out of the freezer and reheat in a pot of water. Having ready-made meals helps me cut down on trips to fast food places.
Freezer meals help me save money when I have a bad financial month. I can eat freezer meals if I accidentally start spending more than I should from my grocery budget.
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Simple meal planning strategy for batch cooking
There is no doubt that batch cooking does take some effort and can be overwhelming if you try and make all your meals at one time. That’s why it’s best to start out small and work your way up to a full weeks worth of meals.
For example, I started out my batch cooking journey by simply prepping my lunches for the week. I would fill my nut container, wash fresh berries, peal my cuties (mini oranges), cut my bell peppers, and store them in Tupperware. In the morning before work, I would make my sandwich, grab the items I prepped, and grab simple items that don’t need prep such as an apple or banana.
Next, my wife wanted meals for the week. I found a great recipe on Pinterest for a delicious pasta dish that doesn’t take too long to make. I’ll cook the pasta dish and store it in five containers for her to pull out of the fridge and reheat. If she gets tired of the pasta (she loves pasta too much to get tired of it), we look on Pinterest for another recipe to try.
After I got a handle on making my wife and I lunch, we decided that we wanted more easy to grab snacks throughout the week. So after I finish making her pasta, I start to make banana chocolate chip muffins.
The next step for us was prepping dinners so they would be easy for us to make when we get home. You’ll need a lot of glass Tupperware, but it was worth the cost for all the time we are saving.
To get started batch cooking, start by deciding what meal takes the most amount of your time or would give you the biggest relief if prepped. Start with that meal and increase your batch cooking efforts as you feel more ambitious.
Easy batch cooking recipes for beginners
In order to get you off to a great batch cooking start, here are a few recipes to try! The first recipe is from Fit Couple Cooks. This recipe is awesome for a healthy balance of protein, carbs, and vegetables.
Next recipe is a healthy high protein vegan recipe by Gaz Oakley. This video was so amazing, I couldn’t help but share it with you! Meatatarians will love this recipe too!
The last recipe is from Tastey, and I absolutely love watching this video! You’ll find a lot of great recipes to start your batch cooking adventures!
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