Most of us have been in the same position on Sunday evening when you’re trying to get ahead for the week. You gear up to go grocery shopping . . . but have no clue where to start. You surf the web for recipe inspiration, but aren’t confident your family will like what you find. Or after work on Monday afternoon stressing because you haven’t gone to the store, let alone thought about what meals to make this week.
What if we told you how to prepare 3 weeknight dinners in 45 minutes? AND for less than $50?
The secret is batch cooking. That’s right, the new “thing” that’s become popular alongside meal prepping. The truth of it is, batch cooking is more than a buzz word, and we’re about to show you how we found out.
We started with a plan, it was rather simple: cook enough food on one day to feed a family 3 times, or a single person 12 times. First step was choosing a cut of meat that could be used in three different meals (and actually taste good). Since beef has a wide variety of versatile cuts to choose from, there are several options that work great for batch cooking (roast, steak, ground beef.). We picked ground beef and thought of three meals that are family friendly and don’t require many ingredients. We landed on tacos, spaghetti and sloppy joes.
Ground beef comes in various grinds, or lean-to-fat ratios. For meals like tacos, spaghetti and sloppy joes we picked a leaner grind of 93:7%. If you want a cut that meets government standards for lean, look for 95% lean. For more information on shopping for ground beef, click here.
Now, onto the other ingredients needed for these three meals. You might be surprised at how few there are!
- 1 lb. ground beef
- Taco seasoning
- Tortillas or taco shells
- Toppings (pico de gallo, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, etc.)
- 1 lb. ground beef
- Spaghetti sauce
*These are ingredients for homemade sloppy joes. You could use canned sauce.*
- Green bell pepper
- 1 can (14 0z.) unsalted tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- Hamburger buns
- 3 plastic or glass storage containers
We were able to buy all of these ingredients for under $50, since you might already have some staple items in your kitchen!
Brown 3 lbs. of ground beef at once with 3 cups of onion. If you don’t have a skillet large enough, you can brown it in batches. Once it’s browned, separate into thirds and add ingredients for the meals. All that’s left is putting the beef mixtures in storage containers, and they’re ready to be chowed down on later that week!
There ya have it. It took about 2 hours to batch cook from start to finish, but this is a great solution if you do the math: if you waited to cook during the week, it would take about an hour for at least 3 nights. Factor in after-school activities or chores around the house, and it’s a lot harder than expected to get a meal on the table.
Taking a few hours on the weekend to batch cook saves time, money and stress. Spend less time in the kitchen during the week and more time doing what matters most to you!
If you have any batch cooking tips or meal solutions, comment below!