Batch cooking while physical distancing
We have all found ourselves spending a lot of time at home recently which means more at-home cooking. It can be a great distraction and time-filler for your days, but are you finding you are cooking too much for what you and your family can eat? Why not cook a big batch of your favourite casserole and give some to your elderly neighbours in the street, parents or relatives? Have kids and looking for some new ways to keep them busy? Get them to help in the kitchen by making a batch of biscuits and leave some at your neighbours door - not only is it a nice gesture but means you have less bikkies in the house to mindlessly munch on when working from home.
Batch cooking is also a great way to ensure you’ve got healthy options on hand when you need. The logistics of preparing multiple meals in one go can be a little overwhelming at first. Our simple guide to batch cooking will help you become a meal-prepping pro.
How to batch cook
Batch cooking involves preparing dishes in larger quantities and freezing the additional portions so that you have several meals ready to go. It doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated. Essentially, you’re cooking what you would normally cook—just more of it.
Foods that work best for batch cooking
- Curries, stews, and soups
- Rice dishes
- Pasta sauces and bakes
- Patties and meatballs
Scaling recipes up and down for batch cooking
The key to batch cooking success is knowing how to scale your recipes for the number of serves you are wanting to make. Batch cooking generally involves doubling, tripling or even quadrupling a recipe, however if you’re cooking for one or two and don’t plan on freezing extra serves, you may want to halve a recipe.
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Five tips for scaling recipes
1. Get it in writing first
Write down your adjusted ingredient quantities before you start cooking to help you stay on track.
2. Eggs can be messy
If you end up needing only half an egg after halving a recipe, crack it into a bowl, whisk to combine the yolk and white and then measure out half.
3. Not all foods are equal
When scaling recipes, the same conversion factor can’t be applied to all ingredients. If you’re doubling a recipe:
• Increase seasoning by 1.5 rather than 2, then adjust to taste.
• When sautéing, you only need enough oil or butter to cover the base of the pan.
4. Cooking times can differ
Cooking times may need to be adjusted when scaling recipes up and down. If scaling a recipe up, check the recipe at the time specified, then continue checking every few minutes until it’s ready. If reducing the quantity, begin checking before the specified cooking time.
5. Temperatures may vary
As a general rule, if halving a recipe, reduce oven temperature by 10°C and if doubling, increase by 10°C. The same rule applies for stove-top recipes; you will need to go up or down a little depending on the quantities.