Batch cooking

Last week I started working full-time, and I quickly realized I had a problem: what to do for lunches? My office is the heart of downtown, with four major food courts within a block, not to mention the on-street restaurants. It’s really, really easy for me to just plunk down $7-10 dollars and grab something. But that’s a way to spend money fast, and I wanted to have other options.

Due to my social schedule, I’m not always home in the evening for dinner, which means I’m not always guaranteed leftovers. And I wanted something better than just sandwiches. Enter batch cooking.

Last week I made a big pot of chicken curry, which lasted until about Wednesday. That worked pretty well, and I was ready to capitalize on my success. So for this week, I chose to make:
1. Red lentil dal
2. Frank ‘n’ beans
3. Turkey meat sauce
4. Rice
5. Banana-chocolate-chip muffins

Not entirely coincidentally, the first four of these recipes are generally along the lines of “get everything prepped, bring to a boil, let simmer for a while.” I figured if I could get everything to the point of “bring to a boil” at the same time, I could just let everything simmer while I did something else and stirred occasionally.

And that’s more or less what happened. I made sure I had everything prepped, with all four pots/pans on the stove with their respective food in them. Then I fried the onions, took out half (to be used in the dal as a finisher), cooked the ground turkey in the same pan, added the last of the stuff for the meat sauce into that pan, and turned all the elements onto “let’s get ready to boil!”

It worked… okay. I’m not super-happy with how the meat sauce came out. It’s tasty enough, but I prefer mine creamier. It was an experiment recipe, and it will clearly need more experimentation. (I’ve gotten lots of good advice on my Facebook page already, which I will implement next time.)

After everything was done simmering, I made the muffins, mostly because I had two black bananas in the freezer and about a half-cup of chocolate chippits left in the bag. Unlike last time, my timer did not get accidentally reset by an unobservant boyfriend midway through (I love him anyway), and they came out quite tasty. So that’s my afternoon snacks instead of going to the cupcake place downstairs.

All told, it was about three hours in the kitchen. Which is probably about the time span I’d be looking at for future batch cookings if I want to do both cooking and baking. Still, it netted me lots of food, hopefully enough to last through the week, and this is a happy-making thought.

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