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Back to School with Batch Cooking Tips and More

Managing the school day schedule can be daunting. After school activities and commitments take up our days. We drive to soccer, dance, piano lessons, the orthodontist and birthday parties to name a few. By the time we settle at home, it’s time to quickly get the kids bathed, fed and put to bed. There is very little time to prepare a meal, let alone many other home keeping responsibilities. I have found batch cooking to by part of the solution to the “there is no time to do anything” problem many moms face.

In this post, I will share how I prepare the entire week of family meals in one afternoon, including some of my favorite batch cooking tips. I will also highlight another way moms can plan ahead, although not for dinner, but for college. Florida Prepaid knows very well how important it is to plan ahead and has has sponsored this post.

What is Batch Cooking?

Batch cooking is cooking larger amounts and in less time. You make a batch (typically twice to three times the amount) of a recipe. With batch cooking you often save money. You purchase a large amount of a protein when it is on sale and then you cook it all in one setting rather than portioning it and cooking it on different days, which takes more time and electricity.

Creating a Batch Cooking Meal Plan

The first thing I did was select a protein. I recommend ground beef for your first round. It’s very versatile for cooking. Select a lean package to keep it healthier. Other great proteins include ground turkey and chicken, as well as a whole chicken or simply chicken breasts.

After you have selected your protein, brainstorm all the meals you can make using the protein. Think of the meals that freeze well or can last in the fridge for a few days before they are served. Go online a search, too. There are so many yummy and easy to make batch cooking recipes organized for moms like you.

My Batch Cooking Experience

With my little more than 4 lbs of ground beef, I made:

  • beef chili, which included beans that I cooked quickly in my pressure cooker. With such an abundance of freshly cooked beans, this dish ended up being big enough for 3 nights! We ate it twice and I froze the last container.
  • bolognese sauce (meat sauce) that I served with penne pasta. This dish also lasted to be more than one meal.
  • taco meat – You can never go wrong with tacos in this house!

After I completed each dish, I set it aside to cool and then I stored it in containers, to be eaten over the next week. The sense of relief I had knowing that dinner was already organized and prepared as I ran around each school day afternoon was incredible. All I had to do was reheat the dish, make a small salad and serve the meal. It was delicious and easy.

My Batch Cooking Meal Plan

Monday:  Beef Chili with salad

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday with refried beans and salad

Wednesday: leftovers of chili and a little taco

Thursday: Penne with Bolognese Sauce.

Friday: leftover penne and sauce

On Friday, I put the remaining sauce in the freezer. I have added it to my food inventory so that I easily pull that dish, as well as the extra chili, into an upcoming week meal plan.

Planning Ahead in Other Areas

Meals are not the only thing you can plan ahead for. College savings is an another. Florida Prepaid, a program helping Florida families plan ahead for future educational expenses, allows moms and dads to plan ahead for college. This planning will save the money for college, while batch cooking will save time and money on family meals.

During this back to school season, Florida Prepaid is rewarding families who enroll in a Florida Prepaid College Plan. They are waiving the $50 application fee <<—  GREAT SAVINGS. This promotion is available through September 2nd. Learn more about making a Florida Prepaid College Plan part of your back to school checklist at http://www.myfloridaprepaid.com/back-to-school. Be sure to use the promo code BTSBLOG18

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