My Experiment With Batch Cooking and The Happy Herbivore Meal Plans…Batch Cooking

MealPlanSeriesBatch Cooking

I recently wrote about what shopping for these meal plans is like and what happened to my grocery bill the first time we went out.  If you recall it shot up about $100!  You can read all about that here.  I’m happy to report that after a few more weeks we are now saving money!  Before we began the meal plans, even though we ate a plant based whole foods diet, we struggled to keep our grocery bill under $200 a week.  Now we are averaging about $150 a week.  What is amazing too is we are now actually cooking for one extra adult and still our grocery bill is lower than it was.  So for 3 adults, 3 children and an infant we now spend just $150 most weeks.  We shop at Trader Joe’s.  Most of our produce is fresh and much, though not all, is organic.  Can I tell you I love the savings?

On to this week’s topic!  The actual batch cooking!  The beautiful thing about these meal plans is that they come with a set of directions to help you organize yourself to cook up everything in one day.  This is making me actually enjoy cooking.  I’m not much of a cook.  I just don’t enjoy making the mess, cleaning it up, or all of the hassle.  However, I LOVE batch cooking!  All of the kitchen craziness happens all in one day for just a couple of hours.  I heat the oven just once.  I clean up as I go along.  I can really get into cooking like this!  It is FUN!  Plus the directions for each recipe are so easy to follow.  I feel like I could grow into becoming a real chef!  Ok, I won’t get crazy but you get the idea.

What is really nice is all week long I just pull food from the fridge, eat it up, and set it on the table.  It makes every day a lot less stressful.  We have more time to eat and enjoy each other as a family before we race off to some crazy activity.  I love it.

So how does the batch cooking work?  The batch cooking instructions are laid out so that as you cook things make sense.  You are putting things into the oven relatively at the same time.  You’ve go some things simmering while you are blending something else.  It is a lot to juggle at once but it works.

It does take me about 3 hours to cook for the week.  If I were able to do the chopping of vegetables and that sort of thing ahead of time the actual cooking would take probably an hour.  I’m a slow chopper.  My knife skills are poor.  So I’m slow.  But I’d rather be slow on Sunday then stressing about being slow on Monday when I’ve got to get my kids to karate.

We invested in some extra glass storage.  After batch cooking my fridge is FULL!  Ok, both of my fridges are FULL!  It is a lot of food to put away.  I use blue painter’s tape as I call it, the stuff that doesn’t permanently adhere to anything, to write labels on everything.  Sometimes I have 3 or 4 containers for one meal.  The labels help me keep it all straight.

I’m a fan of batch cooking!  I hope I can get faster at it some day.  I would never batch cook without the directions from the meal plans.  I’d be too overwhelmed.  This system works!

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