INSIDE: Yesterday was all about stocking your pantry with staples for the Christmas break. For today’s challenge, we’re going to take the Christmas food prep one step further…it’s time to batch cook a few meals and stock your freezer. Find out how in this post!
The power of batch cooking…
Welcome back to the 30 Days to a Stress-Free Christmas challenge! You’ve worked out your 21-day meal plan for before and after Christmas and you’ve stocked your pantry with staples. Now it’s time to make your Christmas meal planning even easier!
For today’s challenge, I’m going to show you how to stock your freezer with lots of yummy meals just waiting to be cooked and eaten in the days leading up to Christmas.
Why include a challenge like this? Because you’ll have enough to worry about in December without worrying about what to eat too. And this challenge is all about making life easier! So, are you ready? Let’s do this!
Challenge #28: Batch cook meals to save time…
The advantage of batch cooking your meals…
Perfect for those days when you’re exhausted, not in the mood to cook or haven’t had time to run to the store, freezer meals can be a real life-saver. Taking something out in the morning, letting it defrost while you go about your day and simply reheating it come dinner time is pretty satisfying. Especially when you’re trying to plan all things Christmas and need to make life easier!
And so, that’s exactly what you’re going to do today. Today I want you to come up with a few ideas of what meals you can batch cook over the next few days in preparation for Christmas.
Dinner at the ready…
Think back to the meals you came up with on Day 25. I’m betting that most of them can probably be frozen? If your list is anything like mine, there’ll be a few dishes you can make and freeze for later. Dishes like spaghetti bolognese, fajitas (minus the wraps), shepherd’s pie (minus the mash) and chilli con carne (minus the rice) all freeze really well.
They’ll also be fine in your freezer for up to three months too. So if you make them but don’t use them over Christmas, it’s no big deal. You’ll just have plenty of easy dinners for January instead. Which is perfect for back to school season, right?!
Which dishes should you batch cook?
There are two ways to batch cook your meals ready for the run-up to Christmas. One is cooking more than you need and freezing the leftovers – which you can read more about below. The other is to set aside an afternoon one weekend to batch cook meals for your freezer that you can dump straight into your slow cooker or pressure cooker.
With no preparation on the day required, all you need to do is defrost your meal overnight in the fridge and cook it. It makes getting dinner on the table during the busy holiday season nice and simple.
For freezer meal recipes, my go-to site is Family Freezer. They have so many posts packed full of freezer meals that you can batch cook and prepare. For example, this post has 12 easy meals for your slow cooker that are freezer ready in just 1 hour:
And this post has 17 easy and healthy meals you can freezer cook for your pressure cooker:
More batch cook recipes on Pinterest…
Want more recipes suitable for batch cooking? Be sure to check out my Recipes board on Pinterest. You’ll find a whole section dedicated to freezer cooking to help you get started on the batch cooking front. Whether you’re team crockpot or team instant pot (or both!), I’ve got you covered!
Not got time to batch cook?
Don’t have an afternoon to spare between now and Christmas? Don’t fret! I have another trick up my sleeve. I do it all the time and it’s a real life-saver – especially at Christmas! What is it? Freezing weekday leftovers!
Simply cook double what you would normally cook when making your evening meals over the next two or three weeks and freeze what you don’t use. Then, all you need to do is defrost them, cook some pasta, rice, noodles, mashed potato or veg and you have a quick and easy dinner!
You’ll be spending a lot less time in the kitchen, giving you more time to play with your kids before bed. You’ll be able to get all those Christmas presents wrapped too!
Stock your freezer with pantry staples…
Pre-cooked meals are great and they literally save you hours in the kitchen….but there’s so much more you can freeze too! If you don’t have time to batch cook, the other option is to stock your freezer with protein staples.
There are a few proteins I like to keep in my freezer, which when combined with my pantry staples, pretty much allow me to make whatever meal I like. I simply stock my freezer with as many of these as I have room for at the beginning of every month. Want to know what they are so that you can do it too?
- Raw minced beef, pork and turkey.
- Pan-fried minced beef (great for pizza toppings!).
- Raw chicken (breasts, thighs and legs).
- Pork neck fillet (great for midweek roasts and curries).
- Cooked chicken (cubed, sliced and shredded).
- Cooked pulled pork (great for packed lunches and homemade chilli).
- Marinara sauce (great for pasta dishes).
- Red and white onions (sliced and diced).
- Peppers (sliced and chopped chunky).
- Leftover roast potatoes, parsnips and sprouts (great for making bubble and squeak!)
- Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, okra, sweetcorn, peas, cauliflower, spinach)
- Leftover vegetables (freeze the veg you don’t use instead of throwing it out – they make great soups!).
With these ingredients, the options for quick and easy weeknight meals are endless. Even if you don’t have time to batch cook and freeze a few meals, stock your freezer this way and your life will be SO much easier.
On those days where you haven’t had time to run to the store, simply defrost some sliced chicken, onions, peppers and marinara sauce. Cook it up, toss in some pasta and dinner is served in less than 30 minutes!
Decide which approach to batch cooking will work best for you and your family. Then, spend some time over the next couple of weeks stocking your freezer. Give yourself a few extra meals stashed away to fall back on and you really will thank yourself in the run-up to Christmas.
That’s it for today!
I’ll be back tomorrow with Challenge #29 and the penultimate day of the 30 Days to a Stress-Free Christmas challenge. In the meantime, have fun deciding which meals to batch cook to save you time! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the posts for this challenge if you haven’t done so already too!
- Day 1: Let’s Get Your Christmas Planning Started!
- Day 2: What Gifts to Buy?
- Day 3: Get Organised for Christmas.
- Day 4: Write Out Your Christmas Budget.
- Day 5: Take a Break and Have a Well-Earned Rest!
- Day 6: Declutter Your Child’s Bedroom.
- Day 7: Winter Prep Your House and Car.
- Day 8: Start a Packing List.
- Day 9: Do Your Christmas Decorations on a Budget.
- Day 10: Spend Money on Experiences Instead of Things.
- Day 11: Finalise Your Christmas Gift List.
- Day 12: Take a Break and Have a Well-Earned Rest!
- Day 13: Create a Stockpile of Last-Minute Christmas Gifts.
- Day 14: Decide Whether You’ll Send Christmas Cards.
- Day 15: Start Your Christmas Shopping Early.
- Day 16: Wrap Your Christmas Presents as You Go
- Day 17: Ask What Christmas Means to You
- Day 18: Plan a Family Christmas
- Day 19: It’s Time to Relax!
- Day 20: Write Your Christmas Bucket List
- Day 21: What are Your Christmas Family Traditions?
- Day 22: Make Time for You
- Day 23: Take the Time to Relax Before Bed
- Day 24: Decide What to Eat on Christmas Day
- Day 25: Create a 21 Day Meal Plan for Before and After Christmas
- Day 26: It’s Time to Chill!
- Day 27: Stock Your Cupboard with Pantry Staples
That’s it for this post! Do you batch cook meals to save time? Has this post inspired you to do so this holiday season? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
P.S. Get all of the Christmas challenges by email!
Want a little more accountability? Don’t forget that you can sign up to receive each challenge by email! Every day for the next 30 days I’ll land in your inbox with the next Christmas challenge. A great way to remind you to take action, you’ll also receive my FREE Ultimate Christmas Planning Checklist too!
In it, you’ll find checklists for your Christmas budget, Christmas shopping, meal planning and prepping, family traditions, planning your travel and so much more. With every Christmas planning step you can possibly think of listed, no stone will be left unturned and nothing will be forgotten!
Simply enter your email address below and I’ll send it to you right away along with the first challenge!