Batching & Automation Challenge, Day 6: Batch Cooking

[Introduction to the Challenge] [Day 1] [Day 2] [Day 3] [Day 4] [Day 5]

Since we’re apparently on the subject of domestic chores, I figured I would round it out with discussing how batching your cooking could save you tons of time (and probably money).

One of the biggest excuses people make for not cooking on a regular basis is that they don’t have the time to do it.  You get home from work at 6 already starving, and if no one else is cooking for you, you probably aren’t going to cook for yourself.  So, you go out to eat or you microwave a lousy frozen dinner.  It’s far from ideal for your time, your health, and your money.

The same goes for lunch.  You get bored of sandwiches and you find yourself eating out more than once or twice a week.  Sometimes you get lucky and have leftovers from when you ate out the night before.  You get the picture.

To get out of this routine, batching your cooking is a great way to save time and money while still eating good food (if you can cook, it helps).  This is really something I’ve been meaning to do for lunch, so starting in the next couple of weeks, I am going to implement this.  Right now, it’s irrelevant, because I’ve mostly had my meals for free during this busy time at work.

On Sunday nights, I will cook for the entire week.  This will allow me to have a good lunch to bring to work each day, and if I’m motivated, I’ll cook enough to last for dinner as well.  I think it makes sense to freeze anything that you can’t eat within a few days.

It’s probably easier said than done though, so let’s take a look at food/meals that are best suited for batch-cooking.  I’m taking ideas from this article, which gives some good detail about preparing meals in batches and freezing them:

  • Casseroles
  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Chili
  • Stir-fry (my personal favorite to cook in a large quantity – I wouldn’t recommend freezing this)
  • Grilled chicken

Since I am by no means an expert cook, here are some other good articles about batch cooking:

Batch cooking and freezing
The Five-Day Freeze: Batch Cooking for the Rest of Us (I really like this article)
Batch Cooking Recipes

Time Savings

  • Estimated time spent cooking dinner and making lunch during a “normal” week: 3-5 hours/week (15-20 hours/month)
  • Estimated time with batch cooking implemented: 2-3 hours/week, on a Sunday (8-12 hours/month)
  • Monthly time savings: 5-10 hours

This isn’t a food blog, but once I start doing some batch cooking, maybe I’ll share what I’ve been making (and only if it turns out tasting good).  

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    2 Responses to “Batching & Automation Challenge, Day 6: Batch Cooking”

    1. Eric, I was looking for a site on my bookmarks and stumbled (again) across your site, so I thought I'd check in and see how you're doing.

      First, congrats on the 30-day challenge. Well done. Bravo!

      I also like this batching thing, though you must realize that many people simply call this "cooking for a family." As a couple of single guys, we could probably learn quite a bit from people with kids who have to eat every day, and, as I recall, can have voracious appetites. My sister has three teenaged girls, who, despite their desire to keep their figures, etc., still consume lots of food. I've picked up some good cooking tips from her.

      Anyhow, a couple of my favorites are hams and whole chickens. Pretty easy to prepare, plus, you can use large pans you can buy for $1 at a dollar store. They can actually be reused a couple of times, cutting that expanse to the bone (no pun intended).

      So, here's my challenge to you: cook a ham (buy a bone-in shank, shoulder or butt; they're each roughly the same cut) or a whole ROASTING chicken, and amaze yourself at how many meals you can get out of them.

      A good roasting chicken is about 7-8 pounds, a ham about the same. There are great tips on or other recipe sites. Just be sure you follow the cooking instructions.

      As a single guy, I've found a ham lasts me well over a week, a chicken a little less, and can provide up to 7-8 meals when you use them to make sandwiches, and soups. Making chicken soup from a whole chicken is really easy, same with outstanding pea soup with diced up ham.

      Glad to see you're keeping the blog going and still learning. Good luck.


    2. Awesome tips, Rick. You are correct in that this post (and many others of mine) seem to target twenty or thirty-somethings who are relatively new to the adult world and don't have families.

      I think the best way that I can add value to anyone reading this blog is to write from my own experience, which tends to be more relevant to people who are roughly at the same place as me (in life).

      With that said, I'm hoping I can still come up with a few things that could help out anyone – or at the very least, remind more experienced people some things they may have forgotten over the years.

      I like the idea of cooking a whole ham or chicken – I'm a much bigger fan of chicken (vs. ham), so I will give this a try!


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