Batch Cooking With Friends - Fill your freezer with lots of delicious Slimming World meals by getting together with some of your closest friends for a batch cooking day.
There’s a chill in the air as winter truly approaches which means it’s the season of soups, stews and casseroles. All deliciously warm, hearty comfort foods to see us through these dark evenings and sub-zero temperatures.
Of course, the genius of soup and other one-pot meals is that they can be enjoyed all year round but I admit in the summer I love to make fresher, lighter meals such as salads and quiches. Or even better, yesterday’s leftovers! It’s great to be off duty once in a while.
Last year, one chilly day over a cup of coffee, my neighbour and I were discussing how we really needed to get some batch portions of soup made and frozen to fill up the freezer for busy days where there’s no time to cook meals from scratch. Having containers of soup ready to defrost and serve is a great time saver some days.
INSTANT POT - THE BEST PRESSURE COOKER
I mentioned my amazing Instant Pot to my friend, telling her how it cooks wonderful dishes like soups and stews really fast and how it was my favourite gadget in my kitchen. I use it often to create substantial portions and divide them up for freezing and eating at a later date.
If you haven’t heard of an Instant Pot you are seriously missing out. It really is one of the most useful and valuable appliances I have purchased. I would even put it above my Actifry and that’s saying something because my Actifry sees plenty of use too.
The Instant Pot is a pressure cooker that slow cooks, pressure cooks, sautés in addition to having settings for soup, chilli, rice, porridge and many other easy dishes. It even makes yoghurt, amazingly though truthfully, I haven’t tried that yet.
BATCH COOKING SOUPS
As we discussed the miracle of the Instant Pot an amazing idea popped into my head (I know, I’m so modest). I suggested to my friend that we join forces in creating several different soups. To achieve this, we agreed to go to the grocery store together, purchase the ingredients to make 4 recipes (thereby sharing the cost and economizing) and then come back to my place to begin creating all the recipes together using the Instant Pot.
At the end of the mammoth soup making session, we would divide up the portions and each have 4 tubs of different soups to take home for eating or freezing. Genius idea!
As we all know, batch cooking can be a little tiresome and lonely as it’s a lot of work in one long day (but it really pays off to have a freezer full of food to go) so cooking together not only shares the practical side such as cost and preparing the ingredients but it means you have company, a good gossip and some laughs together. The time goes much faster when you’re having fun and you may learn some new tried and trusted recipes.
Of course, while having an Instant Pot makes this type of exercise faster and easier, you can also cook using a slow cooker or pots on the stove. In fact, on the big day, we did two soups in the instant pot and two on the stove thereby speeding up proceedings further. You could even oven bake a large dish of something delicious at the same time if you are feeling ambitious.
Additionally, if you arrange to do this group cooking exercise with more than one friend you could potentially have even more than four different soups or stews to take home. Do it in the evening, put on some great music, open a bottle of low syn wine and make a few yummy appetizers to share as you work. I promise you’ll have a fun evening with your friends creating amazing recipes – just be careful you don’t drink a glass too many and end up with some very strange concoctions!
GREAT SOUP RECIPES FOR BATCH COOKING
The Soups we chose to make were as follows:
Slimming Eats - Beef and Pearl Barley Soup
This is definitely a full meal in a bowl, tender chunks of beef with delicious vegetables and pearl barley with a flavoursome broth it's a delicious recipe right here on Slimming Eats.
The other 3 soups we chose by browsing Pinterest for some recipes we liked the look of and these three below caught our eye:
The Casual Craftlete- One Pot Chicken Orzo Soup
Syn free if you use spray oil. It is Lovely and light, with a hint of lemon. This soup is refreshing on the palate.
Cooking Classy - Olive Garden Pasta e Fagioli Soup
I didn't use any oil, you can either use the sugar which doesn't work out much when you divide into portions or use a sweetener of choice. I also used fresh tomatoes rather than canned and used only small can (156ml) of tomato paste (instead of tomato sauce). If topping with the fresh parmesan, you can use your HEa. It's delicious without and really filling.
Fake Ginger - Chicken and Wild Rice
For this soup, I just used regular wild rice, rather than a seasoned packet and used spray oil instead of coconut oil. I also used just milk instead of cream, so 1 cup (240ml) of 2% milk in total and added 2 tbs of cornstarch instead of flour (3 syns). Which works out as 2.5 syns per serving (recipe serves 4) and it's so yummy and creamy.
Here are some portions of the four soups we made, all tubbed up and ready to freeze.
Everyone should have a batch cooking day with a friend. It's the best thing ever and I really recommend it from personal experience. My freezer was nice and stocked with plenty of soup by the end of our day and there was hardly any mess to clean up - a joint effort means there is a lot more help during and after cooking which is always extremely welcome!
I can't wait to have another day like this again soon especially as the fall days are fading away and the scarves, gloves and hats are appearing. Doesn’t it just make you crave a heartening soup or stew? It goes without saying you don't need to make just soups either. You can choose from stews, casseroles, chilli, bolognese, curry, risotto, whatever you fancy.
If you do go ahead with a group batch cooking day, please let me know how you get on. Did you have fun? Did you learn some new recipes? Did you drink the wine you were supposed to cook with? Whatever you make, good luck and share some photos of your successes!
More Great Batch Cooking Recipes
For inspiration, here are some more amazing and easy recipes for you to browse through to pick for your batch cooking day.
or head on over to my Full Recipe Index with over 900 delicious Slimming World and Weight Watchers friendly recipes all fully searchable by meal type, ingredients, syn value and smart points etc
Freezer Storage Options for Batch Cooking
Once you have done all that batch cooking, the final step is what to use for storing all those yummy meals you made.
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