A lot of January for me is allowing myself to find and set a good routine for 2015. One thing I’ve been needing to do is bulk cook some lunches for work so that I don’t eat out – a drain on the wallet and usually not that great for the waistline either.
This is the first time I’ve bulk cooked in this way – usually I make every bag the same (kind of cooking a double batch & freezing half) but I didn’t want them all the same this time because I have a short attention span and will get bored with eating the same thing. This way definitely takes longer, but not too much longer.
I don’t cook to recipes and rarely measure (other than by sight/feel) so this is highly adaptable to your tastes, budget and desires. I’ve done my best to explain the way I cooked it – but I really do change things every time I cook. I hope this is a useful starter point for you if you want to do some bulk cooking.
- 500g lean beef strips
- 1 skinless chicken breast
- 7 jumbo eggs (many of mine have been double yolk in this batch & are truly jumbo so I knew I could use less and cut them in half if need be)
- baby corn
- 1 tin corn kernels
- frozen peas
- tinned sliced mushrooms
- 2 carrots
- 1 large broccoli
- 1.5 medium red onions
- half a tin of water chestnuts
- penne pasta
- pad Thai noodles
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- 1 tin of coconut cream
- a little peanut butter (roughly a heaped tablespoon)
- Chop all veggies into desired sizes (I go for bite sized because I often eat as I work, then walk during my actual lunch break)
- Steam broccoli
- Steam carrots
- Lightly pan fry all small veggies individually
- Cook eggs in muffin pan in oven (this is only the second time I’ve done this after seeing it all over Pinterest – I go with 180c for 20min and then play it by ear after that).
- Pan fry beef strips
- Add tin of tomatoes to beef strips, mix, simmer.
- Remove beef and let cool.
- Chop and pan fry chicken breast until lightly browned.
- Add tin of coconut cream and peanut butter. Mix and let thicken.
- Remove chicken.
- Cook penne pasta, drain.
- Cook pad Thai noodles, drain.
You can double up on boiling, steaming, frying as much as you’re able to multitask/pans you have/hotplates you have.
I allow all of my food to cool a fair bit before adding it to the zip lock bags. I find some of them heat up so much they look like they will melt. But I do have a great imagination so just use your own judgement here.
To combine them, I use a rough ratio of 50% veggies, 25% meat, 25% pasta. Keeping all the ingredients in separate bowls after cooking them means you can mix and match so that no two bags are the same. I made 6 beef and 6 chicken meals. There’s 3 beef with pad Thai noodles, 3 beef with penne pasta. Ditto on the chicken. Each has a different mix of veggies – some I went chunky (eg broccoli & carrot) primarily, others I did with peas and corn…you get the drift!
That’s enough for a fortnight of work food for me & a lazy “I don’t wanna cook” dinner for the both of us.
TIP: I put my bags into a bowl (Tupperware marinating dish, actually) as I fill them because it helps them to stay standing up.
Do you bulk cook meals? Any tips to keep them from alway being the same?