Cook Smarter Not Harder

Cook Smarter Not Harder

Cooking double batches at dinner to use as leftovers or to re-purpose some for another meal is a great way to save time and work more efficiently in the kitchen. This meal planning strategy really works at cutting time spent on prepping, cooking, and the dreaded cleanup.

First consider what you are going to cook and what you would like to do with the leftover portions. Essentially, there are a few things you can do with the extra food:
• Purpose for Leftovers
• Plan a Freezer Meal
• Batch Cooking

Purposing for Leftovers
Casseroles, stews, soups, roast beef/pork and pasta dishes make for excellent leftovers. You can easily just serve them 2 nights in a row and cut down on one major meal prep. The other approach is to re-purpose the meal for a second night. For example, you could eat tacos one night and make a taco soup (use the Epicure Aztec Soup Seasoning for a new flavour depth in your soup) with the leftovers the next night.

Freezing a Meal
Sometimes it is an efficient method to prepare and cook 2 or more of the same meal in one session. In this method you can freeze a meal to use on a night when you have nothing planned or are time starved and don’t have time to cook. I often cook a couple of Shepherd’s Pies at once and freeze one for later.

Batch Cooking
One of my favourite batch cooking ideas is to simply double or triple a main ingredient in a meal (such as meat, poultry or beans) and save half to create a future meal that uses the same main ingredient. Left over protein is fabulous for creating nourishment bowls, salads, fajitas or wraps and a new meal with fresh veggies. This option can take you through a week of meal planning or you can freeze it and have it last longer and allow you more variety.

Batch cooking can be a really efficient and time saving way to cook. I like to create pasta sauces, apple sauce, muffins & loafs, lasagnes and casseroles on a weekend to have ready for easy weeknight meals when we seem to be so busy. A little more planning is involved but wow, you can set your family up for plenty of go to meals.

With busy family life, sports, art and school, you need some time saving methods to keep you sane in the kitchen. Working more efficiently with double batches and cooking once methods allows you to still provide healthy balanced meals for your family without spending a fortune on take out.

In the photo, I made lemon chicken the first night using the Epicure Sweet & Sour Stir-Fry seasoning and fresh squeezed lemons. The next night, I used the leftover chicken to create a beautiful chicken noodle soup and grilled sandwiches. I enjoyed my night off from cooking and think you will too!