Cook once, eat twice: batch cooking

Chicken cacciatore HERO

On busy days, batch cook recipes are your best friend. Cook on the day’s you have time and you’ll have tasty meals ready for hectic days.

Life is busy and if you’re juggling work commitments with the school run and a multitude of social and after school activities there’s some evening when you just want to slump in front of the TV and not bother cooking. If you make double or extra of your favourite recipes and pop into the freezer you’ve a failsafe meal on hand to feed the family.

By cooking extra you’ll also find less food ends up in the bin. You can use up leftover ingredients in the fridge as well as store portions of the finished recipe for the following week.

Multi buys are a temptation when out shopping and come sometimes backfire, leaving us swamped with too much of one ingredient. This is when they come in handy for batch cooking. Extra potatoes can double up on shepherd’s pie topping and twice the amount of fresh mince gives you extra chilli, lasagne or bolognaise ready to stash for another meal. 

Our favourite batch cook meals:

Our chicken and pepper cacciatore is packed with big flavours and freezes well for another night. Use up leftover onions, peppers and olives to create this sumptuous stew.

Double up and freeze portions of our Moroccan lamb tagine, perfect for chilly nights. Serve with a portion of couscous - a brilliant no cook staple that takes just minutes to prepare.

Indian curry sauce is great to keep in the freezer ready to be stirred into meat or veg. Serve with steaming rice and you’ve a flavour-packed meal in minutes.

Batch cook and save a simple tomato sauce for busy days. Keep a stash in the freezer for when you want to throw together a quick meal: from meatballs, to baked cod and quick pasta bakes, a tomato sauce is versatile base to so many of our favourite meals.

Keep a mouth-watering pudding to hand. Crumblesare easy to freeze. Use up leftover apples, pears and blackberries

Soups are simple to make and great to cook in large batches.  If you have spare fish, whip up a batch of our fish chowder and freeze one for a busy day. Veggies will love ourcreamy fennel or parsnip soups. 

Tri-colour lasagne – this glorious, more-ish lasagne will feed a family or impress when entertaining. Cook two and save one for a rainy day.  

Our savvy readers share their best batch cook and money-saving dinners

When you make a big batch of chilli, instead of having it two nights in a row, turn it into an entirely different meal by popping it into some wraps with cheese, lettuce, rice, guacamole, salsa, sour-cream etc. It makes an interesting change from the basic burrito or enchilada recipes and small amounts of leftovers can go a long way. It's a fun meal for kids and a great way to get them to eat more veg.” Donated by Gavan to Love Food Hate Waste

“Make your bolognaise sauce go much further by serving it the Italian way.  Cook the pasta drain and return to the pan with a couple of spoons of Bolognaise sauce.  Stir until the pasta is coated, and serve immediately.  I can easily make one pound of mince serve 16 people this way, and it's very tasty.” Donated by Lynda to Love Food Hate Waste

“A brilliant way to use up basically every kind of leftover veggie, meat and or fish is a risotto. No matter what you throw in, as long as you add some white wine, some garlic it will taste great.” Donated by Dunja to Love Food Hate Waste

“To use up veg that I know I won’t get around to eating I make my own ready meals. I’ll boil up a few potatoes to make mash and freeze it in portions, so next time I am in a rush I know I have them on standby. They’re much cheaper than bought ready meals and there’s something quite nice about knowing you’ve cooked them yourself.” Donated by Sarah to Love Food Hate Waste

“My mother-in-law always encouraged me to use leftovers for meals and one of her favourites was fried rice. She adds anything and everything that is leftover. Mushrooms, courgettes, carrots, bacon, ham, chicken, egg, you name it she throws it in. Stir fry it with a bit of low sodium soy sauce. I get rave reviews whenever I make it and you can cook extra rice the night before with your dinner if you think ahead then you only have to fry it and cook up the meat and veg.” Donated by Breanna to Love Food Hate Waste

What’s your favourite batch cook or leftover based dinner? Share your best recipes and ideas on@TescoFood #eatwell

Thanks to Love Food Hate Waste

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