5 of the best recipes to batch cook


These meals are ideal for batch cooking to stockpile for a later date.

These recipes are ideal for batch cooking, making for tasty and nutritious meals to stockpile in the fridge or freezer for a later date.

BBC Food Website
Classic chilli con carne, BBC Good Food

Serves 4, cooks in 1 hour

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder (or 1 level tbsp if you only have mild)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp sugar (or add a thumbnail-sized piece of dark chocolate along with the beans instead, see tip)
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 410g can red kidney beans
  • plain boiled long grain rice, to serve
  • soured cream, to serve
  1. Prepare your vegetables. Chop 1 large onion into small dice, about 5mm square. The easiest way to do this is to cut the onion in half from root to tip, peel it and slice each half into thick matchsticks lengthways, not quite cutting all the way to the root end so they are still held together. Slice across the matchsticks into neat dice.
  2. Cut 1 red pepper in half lengthways, remove stalk and wash the seeds away, then chop. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves.
  3. Start cooking. Put your pan on the hob over a medium heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and leave it for 1-2 minutes until hot (a little longer for an electric hob).
  4. Add the onion and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft, squidgy and slightly translucent.
  5. Tip in the garlic, red pepper, 1 heaped tsp hot chilli powder or 1 level tbsp mild chilli powder, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp ground cumin.
  6. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Brown 500g lean minced beef. Turn the heat up a bit, add the meat to the pan and break it up with your spoon or spatula. The mix should sizzle a bit when you add the mince.
  8. Keep stirring and prodding for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is in uniform, mince-sized lumps and there are no more pink bits. Make sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown, rather than just stew.
  9. Make the sauce. Crumble 1 beef stock cube into 300ml hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture.
  10. Add a 400g can of chopped tomatoes. Tip in ½ tsp dried marjoram, 1 tsp sugar and add a good shake of salt and pepper. Squirt in about 2 tbsp tomato purée and stir the sauce well.
  11. Simmer it gently. Bring the whole thing to the boil, give it a good stir and put a lid on the pan. Turn down the heat until it is gently bubbling and leave it for 20 minutes.
  12. Check on the pan occasionally to stir it and make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan or isn’t drying out. If it is, add a couple of tablespoons of water and make sure that the heat really is low enough. After simmering gently, the saucy mince mixture should look thick, moist and juicy.
  13. Drain and rinse a 410g can of red kidney beans in a sieve and stir them into the chilli pot. Bring to the boil again, and gently bubble without the lid for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry.
  14. Taste a bit of the chilli and season. It will probably take a lot more seasoning than you think. 
  15. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving. This is really important as it allows the flavours to mingle.
  16. Serve with soured cream and plain boiled long grain rice.

Tip: Rather than add the teaspoon of sugar, you can stir in a small piece of chocolate (about the size of your thumbnail) when you add the beans. Any plain dark chocolate will do. Be careful not to add too much – you don’t want to be able to identify the flavour of the chocolate. bbcgoodfood.com

Simple and tasty fish cakes, Mumsnet

Serves 6, prep & cook time is 55 mins

  • 1 egg
  • 4 large potatoes peeled, chopped and boiled (for mashing)
  • Some breadcrumbs
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1 tin salmon, tuna or trout (or fresh)
  • 6 spring onions chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  1. If you are using fresh fish, poach it in milk for about 10 minutes.
  2. Saute the spring onions slowly in a little butter until soft but not brown.
  3. Mash the potatoes with a little milk and butter and add the lemon juice.
  4. Using a spoon stir in the fish, spring onions and grated carrot.
  5. Shape the mixture into patties (fish cakes) or balls.
  6. Beat the egg and dip the cakes in it, then roll in the breadcrumbs.
  7. They are now ready to shallow fry or oven bake. Serve with a green veg.

Tip: Easy to freeze, just  wrap them up in cling-film before freezing. Can cook straight from frozen. Pop them in the oven for 30 mins, turning half way.

Jamie Oliver
Jamie Oliver’s classic lasagne

Serves 12, cooks in 4 hours

  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 100g higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon
  • olive oil
  • 1 kg quality minced beef
  • 1 kg higher-welfare minced pork
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 4 sticks of celery
  • 2 heaped tablespoons tomato purée
  • 4 x 400g tins of plum tomatoes
  • 350g dried lasagne sheets

For the white sauce:

  • 150g mature Cheddar cheese
  • 2 medium leeks
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 litre semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 whole nutmeg , for grating
  1. Strip and finely chop the rosemary leaves and finely chop the bacon.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large casserole pan on a high heat. Once hot, add the rosemary and bacon and fry for 2 minutes, or until the bacon starts to crisp up, stirring regularly.
  3. Add all the minced meat, using a wooden spoon to break it up as you go. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for at least 10 minutes, or until all the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally.
  4. Place the coarse grater attachment in your food processor (or you could use a box grater instead) and grate the Cheddar, then tip into a bowl.
  5. Replace the grater with the regular blade. Trim and halve the carrots, then add to the processor and blitz to roughly the same size as the mince. Peel and halve the onions, add them to the carrot and blitz again.
  6. Tip into the pan with the mince while you get on with blitzing and adding the celery. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften, stirring regularly.
  7. Next, add the tomato purée and plum tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon. Fill each of the tins with water and tip into the pan.
    Give everything a good stir and reduce the heat to low. Leave to simmer around 2 hours, or until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally.
  8. While that ticks away, make your white sauce. Trim, wash and finely slice the leeks, then add to a pan along with 2 tablespoons of oil and the bay leaves. Stir well and season with a tiny pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
  9. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, or until sweet and softened, adding splashes of water, if needed.
  10. Add the flour and stir well to coat, then gradually add the milk, stirring continuously. Turn the heat up to medium, bring to the boil, then reduce to low and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened, stirring regularly.
  11. Carefully transfer the sauce to the food processor and blitz until smooth and silky. Add half the grated cheese and finely grate over half the nutmeg and mix well. Season to taste.
  12. Once the ragù is ready, preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.
  13. Season the ragù to taste, then transfer half into freezer bags, portioning up as appropriate for your family. Allow to cool to room temperature, then pop in the freezer for another day. It’s a good idea to freeze them flat so that you can reheat them quickly and easily. It’s also a good idea to label and date them to avoid a game of freezer roulette in a few weeks’ time!
  14. To build your lasagne, spoon a quarter of the ragù into a large deep ovenproof dish (roughly 25cm by 30cm) and spread it out evenly.
  15. Spoon over a quarter of the white sauce, then snap over some lasagne sheets, making sure they completely cover the sauce in one layer. Repeat this 3 times, finishing with a layer of white sauce.
  16. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and bake the lasagne in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
  17. Remove the lasagne from the oven and leave to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Delicious served with a fresh green salad.

Tip: If you’re making this dish for little ones, don’t use bacon or season with salt, just season your portion to taste at the end. jamieoliver.com

Homemade Freezable Hummus by The Batch Lady

Serves 4, less than 10 minutes

  • 2 ½ cups chickpeas (or 2 cans 400g each) – reserve the liquid as below 
  • ½ cup tahini paste 
  • 2 lemons juiced 
  • 3 teaspoons frozen ready chopped garlic 
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin 
  • ½ cup brine water from chickpeas can 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. You may have to make this in 2 portions if you are using a small blender. This makes a lot of hummus but you are going to portion it out for the freezer so it will keep until you next need it.
  2. Drain your cans of chickpeas, but keep the brine in a separate bowl.
  3. Add your chickpeas and tahini paste to your blender.
  4. Juice your two lemons and add the juice to the blender too.
  5. Next add your ready chopped frozen garlic, cumin and salt.
  6. Lastly add your ½ cup of brine and mix in the blender until you are happy with the consistency.2
  7. Ready for the Freezer.
  8. Simply portion it out into very small freezer bags or small tubs and freeze.3
  9. Ready to eat.
  10. Bring out and defrost, stir and your hummus is ready to eat.

Tip: If it has been in the freezer for a while and is a little dry you can add a splash of water to it. thebatchlady.com

Michela’s veg & lentil cottage pie, JamieOliver.com

Gluten-free & vegetarian. Serves 1, 1 hour 20 mins

  • 1 medium leek
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 stick celery
  • olive oil
  • 100g split pea red lentils
  • 500ml organic vegetable stock
  • 100g frozen peas
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée
  • 30g Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large sweet potato , (300g)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Trim, wash and finely slice the leek. Peel and dice the carrot, onion and celery.
  2. Heat a splash of oil in a medium pan on a medium heat, add the leek, carrot, onion and celery. Pop the lid on and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until softened. Add the lentils, stock and peas, then bring to the boil, stirring regularly. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through.
  3. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper, then add the tomato purée. Scrub the sweet potato clean, then coarsely grate it into a bowl, toss with a little oil and a good few gratings of Parmesan.
  4. Transfer the filling to a 15cm x 20cm ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the sweet potato. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potato topping is golden and cooked through and the filling is piping hot.

Tip: If making for a baby, remove a small amount to a blender (use a hand-held stick blender, if you prefer), or a bowl, then either blend to a purée, pulse, mash and/or finely chop depending on the stage your little one is at (for more information on stages of complementary feeding, click here). jamieoliver.com