5 Big Batch Recipes To Save You From Cooking Every Night

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Sometimes, you just want a nice, home-cooked meal [ without all the fuss of prepping, cooking and cleaning up]. Given that, I've got some tips about what I've learned about successfully cooking in batches, and five big batch recipes to last you a long time.
Truth be told, I love to cook. Typically, my brain is a whirring train, perpetually in motion. Thinking. Stressing. Aspiring. Worrying. When I'm cooking, all that goes out the window. I'm focused and present, totally mindful of the task at hand. In order for my meals to come out the way I want them, I need to be dialed in so there's no time to let my mind wander. It takes energy, but it's energy spent in the moment, so [ it's a form of active relaxation for me]. 

Still, there are some days when I'm so physically and/or mentally exhausted that I just need a break. I'm zoned out and cannot fathom another task to complete -- even cooking! On those days, I [ order out]. My waistline and wallet might take a hit, but it beats the alternatives of expending more energy or not eating at all (the horror!). Oh, if only there were another way!

The thing is, there is. Something that allows me to eat home-cooked meals without the work of actually cooking that night: big batch cooking. It just takes some (a little) planning ahead and a bit of space in the fridge or [ freezer].

Big batch cooking has been such a clutch move as a husband and father of two [ kids] under five, and not just at dinner time. It's a great way to stave off the $10-$15 (or sometimes even $20) fast food lunch run for both me and my wife, thereby cutting our midday meal time costs by about 50%. That amounts to big bucks each month. 

Read more: [ 21 easy family meals from the slow cooker]
Six tips and tricks

When I'm big batch cooking, I like to keep a few things in mind. Some are tips, others are helpful reminders.

First, the term "big" is relative. So, what makes a batch big? Simply put, the batch is big if it yields results that can be used beyond a single meal. In that way, much of my dinner cooking is big batch in nature. Most of the time, I make enough for that night and a few days of lunch beyond. Sometimes, I'll make double or triple batches of a meal, then [ pop the remaining items in the freezer for a full dinner in the future]. Big batch cooking is great because it allows one to set aside individual portions or four-person meals. Either way, it's got me covered.

Second, and relatedly, if I have a recipe with serving sizes, I'll adjust up. If I'm cooking for four that night, I'll make at least six servings. This means adjusting ingredient quantities and cooking times appropriately. For instance, if I'm making a roast, this means increasing the size by about a half pound per person and increasing cooking time.

Third, big batch cooking might involve a slight sacrifice of time on the day everything is prepared and cooked, but the payoff is less work in the future. Instead of spending time making full meals every day, you spend a little bit more time making larger/more meals on one day and simply reheat on other days. Note: there will be a small amount of cleanup whenever the food is consumed (I can't solve every problem).

Fourth, I don't fret over how much [ pasta] or rice to cook. Ever. When I cook pasta, I cook it by the box. If I only need eight ounces, I'll sort it out after it's cooked, and I'll refrigerate the rest. Pro tip: When reheating, place a little oil or butter in with the pasta to keep it from becoming gummy.


When I [ cook rice], I'm cooking at least three cups (dry) worth. Only need one cup (cooked)? That's fine. Your rice will keep in the fridge. And when you're ready to reheat it, put a dash of water in the dish along with the rice. This will keep your rice from drying out. By the way, I highly recommend pasta and rice for big batch cooking. They heat up well, and can be used to accompany many a main dish.

Fifth, [ sauces] and spices are my friend. You ever make a casserole and discover the leftovers taste better? Sometimes, with certain dishes, time is on your side. When you cook big batches, allowing the flavors to set in can be a real benefit. Additionally, those sauces keep things flavorful and moist. What does that mean? Well, when making meat, save the drippings. Trust me.

Sixth, [ raw veggies and fruits] -- really, most raw stuff -- is not my friend. Why? It won't last. And if it does, it might be wilty or slimy or mushy or brown. When I'm big batch cooking, I stick to cooked items. Cooked keeps!

Simply put, when I'm cooking, I try to maximize my labor. Sure, I really enjoy cooking, but I also enjoy enhancing overall efficiency and optimizing my productivity. If you find that appealing, big batch cooking might be for you.
Big batch recipes
If you're intrigued, here are five big batch recipes you might want to try:
Baked ziti

[ View this post on Instagram] [ Homemade Baked Ziti is surprisingly easy to make and doesn't require a lot of ingredients, so add this one to your next grocery list! You can freeze the baked portions, so it will feed you for a while. Tap the link in my profile to go get the recipe 👉 @budgetbytes . . #ziti #bakedziti #comfortfood #freezerfriendly #homemadefood #grocerylist #casserole #pastanight #easyrecipe . . website A post shared by][ Budget Bytes] (@budgetbytes) on Mar 16, 2020 at 3:40pm PDT

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One of my all-time favorite big batch meals is baked ziti. It tastes great, it keeps great, and it's easy to double or triple if you want to make a few casseroles ahead of time and keep them in the freezer. Check out this [ baked ziti recipe]. Try it with [ ricotta] as listed, or without it by simply adding more [ mozzarella]! 
Pork loin with vegetables

[ View this post on Instagram] [ Dig into this delicious Pork Loin Roast with the perfect pink center prepared with roasted vegetables for an EASY dinner! 👏🏻 #IowaPork #USApork 👉🏻TAP @julieseatsandtreats AND CLICK THE LINK IN PROFILE FOR RECIPE👈🏻 . website . #f52grams #recipes #feedfeed #instayum #marthafood #eatingfortheinsta #instafood #ourplatesdaily #TODAYfood #eeeeeats #huffposttaste #nomnomnom #beautifulcusines #onmytable #foodwinewomen #easyrecipe #buzzfeast #bhgfood #dinner #appetite #porkloinroast]
A post shared by [ Julie, Food & Travel Blogger] (@julieseatsandtreats) on Mar 9, 2020 at 11:41am PDT

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[ Roasts] are pretty much made for big batch cooking by nature -- unless you get a tiny roast. (Wouldn't that just be called a "piece" or a "chop" though?) Personally, I like [ pork]. It's easy and versatile. Serve it hot or cold, slice it for sandwiches, reheat it in a saucepan with gravy or nuke a few plain pieces with rice, pasta or [ potatoes]. Any way you slice it (pun!), it's good. Check out this [ pork loin with vegetables recipe]. If you're planning on reheating the veggies, you might want to cook them al dente. That way, when you warm them up, they won't be overcooked.
Easy tuna casserole

[ View this post on Instagram] [ Tuna Casserole 😋 Check out the video and recipe on my YouTube channel 😋 Link in bio😋 #molcs #myoladycookin #tunacasserole #easyrecipes #quarantinecooking #homecooking #easymeals #cookingvideos #foodlovers #foodie]
A post shared by [ My Ol' Ladys Cookin' Show] (@my_ol_ladys_cookin_show) on Apr 9, 2020 at 4:22pm PDT

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[ Tuna casserole] is a big hit in our house. First, we're Catholic, so during Lent (which recently ended), meatless Fridays require [ meatless recipes], and this fits the bill. Second, it tastes wonderful! Third, it's [ inexpensive]. Fourth, it's made with tuna, a protein that seems to last forever on your shelf (but seriously, check your expiration dates), rxgreenthumb.com which, in these times of safer-at-home/shelter-in-place/stay-at-home, is an asset. Check out this [ easy tuna casserole recipe] for a big batch staple!

Making a single serving of [ chili] seems…odd, which means if you're making chili, you're making a big batch. The same can be said for [ soups]. If you're looking for an on-trend chili to try, [ keto chili recipes] abound or try a classic beef and bean [ slow cooker chili recipe].
Enchilada bake

[ View this post on Instagram] [ Chicken and Corn Enchilada Bake! So cheesy...layered like lasagna, but lower carbs and just yum. #ontheblog cafedelites.com (link in my bio @cafedelites )]
A post shared by [ Karina | Food Blogger] (@cafedelites) on Dec 30, 2014 at 12:31pm PST

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I've said it before and I'll say it again: There might be [ Taco Tuesdays], but it could seriously be Enchilada Everyday! With that in mind, you might want to consider having [ an enchilada bake] on hand -- you know, in case of emergency. Check out this [ chicken and corn enchilada recipe].

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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