Batch Cooking Benefits & Recipes

As I write this post I have a large pot of garlic and basil Marinara sauce simmering away in the kitchen. Since popping along to a batch cooking course at the Waitrose Cookery school I am a meal prep convert. I cook every night and when I'm working from home I also cook myself lunch, that's a lot of time spent by the oven. I wanted to find a way to reduce my time cooking but not hinder the quality of my meals, good food is incredibly important to Simon and me.



Generally, I'm not a fan of repeating meals over and over. I like to try out new and fresh recipes using ingredients I've never used before. I love pouring over my recipe books and watching cookery programmes on TV so it's important that my home cooking is interesting and delicious. When I went along to a John Lewis cooking event at the Waitrose Cookery School in Kings Cross I was expecting to hear a lot of things I already knew, instead, I came away feeling inspired and ready to introduce more batch cooking into our lives.

I learned a basic tomato and basil sauce recipe which was then split up and made into very large portions of puttanesca, shakshuka and two different pizzas. The basic sauce was made out of three tins of tomatoes which we then added other ingredients to stretch out the sauce. It's a genius money saving idea, in fact, you can save over £1000 a year if you reduce meals out and adopt more batch cooking methods.



Here's my favourite tomato sauce recipe from the cookery class which could be used to make enough meals for 6 people through the week.

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TOMATO SAUCE

Serves 2 | Prep Time: 5 min | Cook Time: 15 mins

Ingredients

9 tbsp rapeseed or good olive oil
4 clove garlic, peeled and finely sliced
3 tins of tomatoes (whole plum tomatoes are the best quality tinned toms you can buy, passata is the lowest)
12 large fresh basil leaves, torn
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic over a medium heat for a couple of minutes until soft.

Add the tomatoes and basil, and season. Cook for  30 minutes on a low heat or until thickened up. Stir in a pinch of sugar if desired. 

Remember that the sauce will be quite concentrated once it's cooked so feel free to add water or stock to thin it out each time you use it in a recipe. 

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One large pot of simple homemade tomato sauce can make so many different meals for the week, here are some ideas:


You can also apply this idea to other bases. What about a comforting pot of creamy sauce can be used to make:

So the idea is you make one simple base which can lead to so many recipe ideas.  Around 15 mins of prep can make a large pan of sauce which can then be added to through the week to make plenty of interesting meals. I love the way bath cooking takes out a lot of the daily work, a bit of planning ahead of time means I don't stress quite so much when I'm cooking. 

I hope you found this post useful and if you need any more recipe ideas I'm always adding to my Pinterest board. I'm on a bit of a Mexican kick at the moment! pinterest.co.uk/nancystraughan/recipes

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