How I save time and money with batch cooking for My family of 5


Chili batch cooking for a family
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs.

After a hectic day, who wants to think about what’s for dinner? Especially when the kids are cranky and hungry but craving your time more than what you put in their mouths. The choices swirl through your head, and that fast food lacking in healthy nutrition is tempting.

Don’t do it!

A little preparation goes a long way. Some clever cooks have learned the secret of how to batch cook for a family to save loads of time and money.

It may sound easy to start batch cooking. Just cook a bunch of food at once, right? How hard could that be? But, there are a few helpful tips that you’ll be happy you learned. The ultimate benefits of batch cooking are that you save a ton of money, and you always know there is a meal waiting for the family to eat, even if you’ve got special dietary needs to consider. 

How do I start batch cooking for my family

Let’s start with a clear explanation as to what batch cooking is. Batch cooking, as the name implies, is cooking large meals or a variety of foods all at the same time. Some refer to the food as freezer meals.

Save time and money

The idea is to save time and money by setting aside one day or a few hours each week, every other week, or once a month, where you prepare several meals at once. Many ingredients are shared with other meal recipes as you batch cook, so you only cook them once in bulk. Put some in the fridge or freeze them in easy-to-heat containers.

Start simple

If the idea of batch cooking to freeze tons of meals sounds overwhelming, start simple. Get started by making a few days’ worths of lunches. Fill sealed containers with easy-to-pack items like nuts, mandarin oranges, fresh berries, or celery sticks with almond butter. Once you see how much time it saves every day packing a lunch, you’ll probably want to dive in and prep dinners or even breakfasts as well.

Many batch cookers set aside a weekend or even a few hours of one weekend day to prepare meals for the rest of the week. This preparation may sound like you’re giving up your weekend, but the truth of it is the time spent preparing healthy meals is really more of an investment into freeing up time throughout the week. 

Get the kids involved

Some even get their kids involved in the batch meal prep. Now, that’s a double win for making good use of your family time.

Start with a list of meals your family enjoys and the ingredients needed, and make sure you have a few helpful appliances and cooking tools on hand to make things go smoothly.

Batch cooking containers

What is the most helpful kitchen equipment for batch cooking for a family

In addition to saving money through batch cooking, you will also save time. That is, provided you are equipped with the necessary appliances to make prep time go smoother.

To get the most out of your batch cooking time, there are a few appliances and gadgets you’ll want to have. Some of them you may already own. Others are going to be worth the initial cost to save money and time in the long run.

Appliances

Slow Cooker – Some call this appliance a crock pot. The terms are often interchangeable and refer to an appliance that is an excellent choice for batch cooking because it holds a lot of ingredients all in one pot and does the cooking part for you. Just set it up in the morning, and food is ready when you get home. When you use a slow cooker, food cooks while you’re going about your day. Make large batches of soups, chili, whole chickens, or a thick, juicy roast to feed a houseful or have leftovers for meals the next day.

Sale
Crock Pot Slow Cooker|8 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker with Digital Countdown Timer, Black Stainless Steel - SCCPVFC800-DS
  • 8-quart slow cooker capable of preparing food for 10+ people
  • Digital timer counts down cook time up to 20 hours
  • Automatically keeps food Warm after cooking is done
  • Removable, dishwasher-safe lid and stoneware pot
  • Recipes included

Last update on 2021-09-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Instant Pot pressure cooker – No doubt, we all have that one friend who swears by their Instant Pot while others are terrified they will explode. All in all, most people end up finding the appliance to be their best friend in the kitchen. It cooks fast, and it’s not a mess to clean up. Save time by cooking multiple foods at once in record time. If you forget to put ingredients in your slow cooker, no worries. Cook them in your Instant Pot pressure cooker in a hurry. Meal prep with your Instant Pot using shredded chicken, hard-boiled eggs, cooked beans, or oats. There are a lot of foods that cook fast in a pressure cooker.

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker, Warmer & Sterilizer, 6 Quart, Stainless Steel/Black
  • 7-IN-1 FUNCTIONALITY: Pressure cook, slow cook, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, sauté pan and food warmer.
  • QUICK ONE-TOUCH COOKING: 13 customizable Smart Programs for pressure cooking ribs, soups, beans, rice, poultry, yogurt, desserts and more.
  • COOK FAST OR SLOW: Pressure cook delicious one-pot meals up to 70% faster than traditional cooking methods or slow cook your favorite traditional recipes – just like grandma used to make.
  • QUICK AND EASY CLEAN UP: Finger-print resistant, stainless-steel sides and dishwasher-safe lid, inner pot, and accessories.
  • GREAT FOR GROWING PROVEN SAFETY FEATURES: Includes over 10 safety features, plus overheat protection and safe-locking lid.

Last update on 2021-09-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Food processor – Easily handle all chopping, kneading, precision slicing, puréeing, or shredding tasks with ease. A food processor quickly works with a powerful motor and sharp and durable blades to tackle processing salsa, sauces, dough, vegetables, and cheeses. Find a food processor that allows neat and nestled storage. Cut down on the tedious time spent chopping and preparing food by throwing the ingredients into the food processor to chop foods like veggies in bulk.

KitchenAid KFP1318WH 13-Cup Food Processor
  • All-in-one storage solution to store all blades and discs directly in the in-bowl storage caddy.
  • Easily adjust slicing thickness with the externally adjustable Exact Slice disc, from thick to thin.
  • Snap and Go, easy clean work bowl for easy set up with the twist-free, one-click bowl assembly and latched lid. Add warm water and 1-2 drops of dish soap in the leak-resistant bowl to quickly clean bowl and blades.
  • Reduce prep time with the 3-in-1 Feed Tube to process a variety of ingredient shapes and sizes - tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes and more.
  • Chop, shred, precision slice, knead and mix everything from fresh veggies to cheeses, doughs, sauces, salsa and so much more.

Last update on 2021-09-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Blender – While a food processor does a lot of what a blender can handle plus more, sometimes it’s nice to have both. If all you can get is one appliance, at least get a blender. A blender consists of one rotating metal blade at the bottom and is powered by an electric motor. Easily prepare batches for soups and purées, or blend ingredients for sauces. Anything you want to mix, crush, purée, emulsify, or turn to liquid can be put in the blender.

Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender, Professional-Grade, 64 oz. Low-Profile Container, Black, Self-Cleaning - 1957
  • Automated Blending: Five pre-programmed settings ensure simple cleaning, walk-away convenience, and consistent results for smoothie, frozen dessert, soup, and purée recipes.
  • You're in Control: Variable Speed Control and Pulse feature let you manually fine-tune the texture of any recipe;Cord: 6 ft
  • Low-Profile 64-ounce Container: Perfect for family meals and entertaining, while fitting comfortably under most kitchen cabinets. Electrical Ratings - 120 V, 50-60 Hz, 12 Amps
  • Hardened Stainless-Steel Blades: Our aircraft-grade stainless steel blades are designed to handle the toughest ingredients, so from the first blend to the last, you get the same quality results.
  • Self-Cleaning: With a drop of dish soap and warm water, your Vitamix machine can clean itself in 30 to 60 seconds. What's in the Box: motor base, low-profile 64 oz. container, cookbook, low-profile tamper.HP: 2.2-peak

Last update on 2021-09-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Immersion Blender – Sometimes called a hand blender, this tool makes blending and whipping easy. It is a lightweight, hand-held blender. It is quicker and easier than lugging around a food processor or traditional blender. This immersion blender will cut prep time in half and is so much easier to store and clean than bulky appliances. Find one that allows you to go deep into pots and pans and has several speeds for whipping and blending. Also, get one that has a non-scratch base, so it is safe for nonstick cookware. Make quick dips, hummus, blend soups, or mix in veggies. A hand blender also helps to transfer food to a food processor or larger blender.

Sale
Mueller Austria Ultra-Stick 500 Watt 9-Speed Immersion Multi-Purpose Hand Blender Heavy Duty Copper Motor Brushed 304 Stainless Steel With Whisk, Milk Frother Attachments
  • Sophisticated Design - The ergonomic grip offers a non-slip and comfortable grip when continuously blending ingredients.
  • Exceptional Quality - The full copper motor withstands continuous use and will last 3X longer than competitor's motors.
  • Versatility - The removable blending arm with fixed blade locks into the motor body for easy operation. The stainless steel S-shaped fixed blade quickly blends ingredients for smoothies, milk shakes, soups or baby food and the quality Whisk attachment is a perfect addition.
  • European Engineered – American Guarantee - 1 Year Warranty so you can buy with confidence and blend happily ever after.
  • Included Items - Hand Blender, Whisk & Milk Frother Attachments, Manual.

Last update on 2021-09-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Stand mixer with attachments – Mix hands-free. There are many mixers to choose from, but KitchenAid is one of the most reliable mixers able to handle large batches of ingredients ready to mix. For batch cooking, make sure you choose a large mixer as opposed to the mini version. A mixer that offers several attachments will help with many mixing jobs. A tilt-head stand mixer has the capacity to handle just about any mixing work, from grinding food to making pasta. Find one that features several speeds and has the ability to gently knead, thoroughly mix, and whip ingredients. A good stand mixer will help prepare ground meat for meatballs or meatloaf, shred chicken, and mix up large batches of batter.

KitchenAid KSM150PSMA Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, Matcha
  • Built to Take It All On, with the durable and built-to-last metal construction, with 59 touchpoints around the mixer bowl for great mixing results.
  • 5 Quart Stainless Steel Bowl with comfortable handle for small or large batches, to mix up 9 dozen cookies* in a single batch. Dishwasher safe. *Using the flat beater; 28g dough each.
  • Easily add ingredients with the tilt-head design, because you'll have better access to the bowl. Lock the head in place while mixing.
  • 10 Speeds for Nearly any Task or Recipe. From mixing ingredients together on the stir speed, to whipping cream at speed 8, you'll get thorough ingredient incorporation every time.
  • Match your style with over 20 colors available. Choose from a full palette of color options to best match your style and personality.

Last update on 2021-09-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Air fryer – Make foods crisp quickly without frying in oil. Quickly fry frozen or fresh foods like chicken wings, chicken breasts, sweet potatoes, steak, or French fries. Find one that offers fast cleanup and is dishwasher safe. Get one with a separator, so you can cook and prepare multiple ingredients at the same time. Divide ingredients in the basket or pan, and cook both foods at once to save time. Roast chicken or pork in an air fryer and save time. A whole chicken takes only about a half-hour to fry. Or, grill burgers, salmon, and fish or steak.

Sale
COSORI Air Fryer Max XL(100 Recipes) Digital Hot Oven Cooker, One Touch Screen with 13 Cooking Functions, Preheat and Shake Reminder, 5.8 QT, Black
  • Critically Acclaimed: COSORI Premium Air fryer (Red Dot Award, 2019) features 13 one-touch cooking functions and rapid 360° air circulation to provide crispy results using less oil
  • Less Oil: The air fryer uses up to 85% less oil than traditional deep frying methods while maintaining the same delicious taste, making it the perfect gift for family members and friends
  • Large Capacity: The air fryer's spacious 5.8-quart square baskets can fit a whole 5-pound chicken. Additionally, the corner spaces provide more cooking footprint and flexibility than round designs. Cook the perfect amount of food for 3–5 people in one go
  • 13 Cooking Functions: 11 presets, Preheat, and Keep Warm help you cook meat, veggies, desserts, and more to perfection. Just choose your preset with 1 easy tap and you're ready to cook. You can also set temperature and cook time for personal recipes
  • Safe Materials: The removable, nonstick baskets are dishwasher safe, PFOA free, and BPA free. To find additional and replacement accessories for your air fryer, search for C158-6AC and C158-FB

Last update on 2021-09-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Vacuum Sealer – A food vacuum sealer comes in handy for batch meal storage. Seal foods in an air-tight pouch quickly to make them ready to freeze. A vacuum sealer makes your batch-cooked food last longer. With the food sealed tightly with no air inside, the food will stay fresher for longer. The vacuum sealers preserve food by preventing the growth of mold or bacteria and keeps foods from drying out or becoming freezer burnt.

FoodSaver Bonus Vacuum Sealer Machine, Black/Silver
  • Stretch your dollar: Meat preserved with the foodsaver system in the freezer can last upto 3 years and still taste fresh, flavorful, and freezer-burn free. Prep-ahead meals, leftovers, and produce stored in the fridge will stay fresh upto weeks later instead of spoiling in days
  • Built-in roll storage & cutter: Create custom-sized bags without using scissors; Led light indicators then guide you through the vacuum sealing process—just press the vacuum and seal button to remove the air that causes freezer burn and spoilage
  • Even more consistent sealing: guaranteed to reach an optimal vacuum level and perform an airtight seal for upto 60 consecutive seals before needing to cool down. The fm2435 is durable, high quality, and backed by a 5-year limited warranty
  • Easy lock and latch: One-handed operation lets you easily lock the lid with a simple turn compared to other competitive units that require considerable force with two hands to close and lock the lid.Wattage: 120 W
  • Seal Wet and Dry Items: For Optimal Vacuuming and Sealing of Moist or Juicy Foods, Press the Moist Food Setting Button. the Patented Removable Drip Tray Will Catch Any Overflow Liquid and Is Dishwasher Safe, Making This Kitchen Appliance Easy to Clean and Maintain

Last update on 2021-09-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Cookware and tools

In addition to the right appliances, you will want to make sure you have the following gadgets and tools:

  • Additionally, an anti-fatigue mat to help keep your feet and back from getting sore on the days you spend cooking will be a lifesaver. You wouldn’t think, but this one is a life saver or should I say feet saver:

Healthy batch cooking for families

One great thing about batch cooking is that you control the ingredients and how it is prepared. So, it’s easy to make tons of healthy meals ahead of time. Knowing that there is a healthy meal waiting for you when you get home or ready to be eaten in the amount of time it takes to reheat, it takes a lot of pressure off when you’re driving past those easy-to-grab fast-food restaurants.

Preparing your own food ahead of time is also a great way to accommodate special diets, including vegetarian meals that are hard to find in a hurry at a restaurant unless you like eating only salads in a crunch.

Vegetarian batch cooking

Don’t settle for only raw fruits and veggies all the time. Vegetarian or Vegan cooking can be very delicious and easy to prepare in batch. One main consideration with vegetarian cooking is making sure it is packed with protein but without using meat. 

Cook with beans, chickpeas, broccoli, and other favorites. Vegetarian chili and even protein-packed quinoa or oatmeal recipes start days off right. Prepare your family’s favorites in batch, and freeze them. Or, look for recipe ideas on YouTube or Pinterest. Search for batch cooking, or freezer meal planning recipes.

Batch cooking meal plan for a family of 5

Enjoy freeing up time to spend with your family while saving money by cooking in bulk and freezing ready-to-heat and eat meals for the hungry crew. Put batch cooking to the test by cooking meal plans for a family of 5 or more with these batch cooking meal plan ideas.

What meals are good for batch cooking

Depending on whether you freeze or prepare a large meal for a one-time gathering or for lunches throughout the week, there are many great meals for batch cooking. Some that freeze well include:

Some batch cooking that works well for weekly lunches that require no reheating include:

Is batch cooking cheaper for my families budget

Batch cooking is definitely cheaper for families on a budget or not. Especially if you have fallen into the trap of grabbing fast food when there’s nothing in the fridge that can be thawed and cooked in a hurry. 

Even if you’re not prone to any bad food-buying habits, batch cooking saves money and will help you stick to a tight budget. Think about it! If buying or cooking in bulk wasn’t a money-saver, stores that sell in bulk, like Costco or Sams, would not be thriving.

How much can I save if I batch cook for my family?

Here are just some of the ways families save money through batch cooking:

Fast Food Savings

Consider a family of four who runs through the drive-through just once a week. Unless you’re finding a special family or kids’ night discount, you are easily spending about $40 a pop every week. Add that up, and it’s a $160 monthly expense. 

For some, that’s a car payment or an electric bill that you now have the funds to pay. And, if your weekly restaurant trip includes a sit-down restaurant, you will also need to factor in a tip.

Stop throwing money away

Even if you’re super disciplined and never stop at a fast-food restaurant to supplement your family’s meals, you will save money by batch cooking. Think about your average weekly grocery trip. How many times do you fill up your cart with ingredients with the intention of making healthy meals, but then the week gets away from you. 

You end up tossing food items that have gone bad. Every time you do that, you throw away at least $10 or $20 worth of food that you didn’t even eat. That just makes me cringe thinking about all that money I’ve tossed out in rotten veggies.

Buy in bulk on sale

Another way batch cooking saves money is that you can work the recipes around what ingredients are on sale. When you find a fantastic deal on meat or Vegan items, buy enough to make meal prep cheaper.

Save in the long run

Keep in mind that the first time you buy a bunch of ingredients and appliances or gadgets to start batch cooking will be your most upfront cost. After that, you will start to see the savings week by week.

Conclusion

Ultimately, batch cooking is going to save time and money that you can turn back around to invest in your family’s future. The initial outlay of money and time spent preparing meals for the week is going to add up to a ton of savings in the long run in both time and money.

Image sources:

“Batch #cooking #Catte cooks up a storm #NOMS” by Dr Stephen Dann is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

“Massive Scale Chili (5 pots)” by cogdogblog is marked with CC0 1.0

Rok Jurca

I am a kind of person that would sneak a taste out of grandma’s pot when I was barely tall enough to reach it. I grew up in kitchens full of love and liveliness and have spent my whole live learning, experimenting and succeeding in the art of cooking. At Pro Family Chef, every day is an opportunity for a new meal and a brand new flavor. I created this website to connect people that love to cook, with the products designed to make their cooking easier, hassle-free and rewarding every time.

Recent Posts