Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cooking in Bulk

Cooking in bulk or batch cooking is one of the frugal tools I use to feed my family. Not only does this way of cooking save money but it is an essential skill to many thrifty cooks. Cooking in bulk rather than cooking for one meal provides my family more meals and also helps to save money on the electric bill by having to cook only once instead of cooking smaller quantities more often. 

I do this with many things that I cook like spaghetti, pizza, meatloaf, chili, just to name a few. I will make a big batch of something and then we eat on it for days or until it is gone or I decided to freeze what is left. This is why you don't regularly see me post what we eat from day to day because I cook in bulk and then we eat on the meals for a couple of days. I find that this method of cooking saves me a great deal of money. 

For example, when I made my filling for the stuffed peppers last week, I tripled the amounts I wanted to use, so I had plenty left over. I used the filling to feed my family for the next three days. I also made a few burritos from the filling for lunch one day.  

A few weeks ago I found a new enchilada sauce recipe that I wanted to try. I usually buy the large cans of enchilada sauce that cost close to $2.00 per can, and I've always wanted to duplicate that at home, but a lot of recipes I see use a tomato sauce base, which is not authentic and not something we would enjoy. I knew enchilada sauce was made from chilies, so when I saw this recipe I knew this was worth my time and effort to try. 

I love the fact that this recipe uses one quart of water because water is free. This is a very economical recipe. You just need to make sure you cook the flour, so that you don't taste it in the final recipe. I tried it and liked and it and am happy to include this in my list of tightwad recipes. 

Enchilada Sauce: Heat together 1 quart cold water, 1/2 cup chili powder, 1/2 cup paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and then stir in a mixture of 2 tablespoons oil and 4 tablespoons flour. Stir and heat until well mixed. 

This is what it looked like afterwards, the picture does not do it justice as it was velvety smooth. 

And of course I had the ingredients on hand to make enchiladas. 

Here are the enchiladas ready to go into the oven:

I did another batch cooking dinner last Saturday night for dinner. I wanted to make a stir fry in order to use up several vegetables that I had on hand. 

I had red cabbage, broccoli, and two peppers in the crisper, and since I didn't have many vegetables on hand, I turned to my canned goods to see what I could use to make more servings. I pulled out cans of pineapple, mandarin oranges, mixed vegetables, water chestnuts, and the soy sauce. 

From the freezer I pulled two chicken breasts, carrots, and sugar snap peas.   I started out by draining the pineapple and used the juice instead of oil to saute my raw vegetables and thaw the chicken breasts. Using the pineapple juice saves me money by not having to use oil to cook everything. 

I also cooked some rice in my pressure cooker and warmed up some carrots from the freezer to go along with the stir fry. 

This is what the stir fry looked like afterwards and we ate on this for a few days as well. 

Another thing I like about this type of cooking is the time savings factor. I don't have to cook every day unless I want to cook. This saves me time when cleaning up and washing the dishes the next evening because the dishes are kept to a minimum. 

Do you bulk cook in your frugal kitchen? What are some of the advantages you see in this type of cooking?

CFO ~ Chief Frugal Officer
Professor Penny Pincher
© Belinda & Frugal Workshop, 2011 and beyond.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without”
"Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle ~ It will help you save money"


  1. Thanks for the recipe! I'm writing it down to try.

    I do like bulk cooking ingredients that I can use to pull together other meals as I go -- like rice, grains, beans and plain meats. I am working on trying some new freezer items since that seems to work best for my family's likes and dislikes.

    1. You're welcome, Shara. It is definitely a keeper. Let us know what new recipes you try on your blog. Always love to get new ideas. :)

  2. There are some foods that I only batch cook, because it saves me so much time for future meals. Pizza is one of those items. I use my stand mixer to prepare enough dough for 4 pizzas, and make a large batch of pizza sauce. The leftover sauce is frozen to pour over pasta some other night.
    And I make super large batches of soup to double as lunch for several days per week, after we've had it for dinner.

    Your stir-fry looks so colorful! I'm sure it was delicious!

    1. Thank you, Lili. Stir fry is one of those things that is easy forgivable where you can add anything from the fridge that needs to be used up. :)

      I like to batch cook pizzas too as they come in so handy having them in the freezer. Soup is another good batch cooking recipe too. great ideas. :)

  3. Great post. Gotta say though, water is not free. It is quickly becoming my highest utility bill. Sigh.

    1. Thank you, Theresa. I should have stated that water is free for us, since we are on a well. I understand paying for water though. We used to live somewhere where we had to pay by the gallon used, and whatever our water bill was, our sewer bill was the same price. Ugh! If I were ever in that situation again, I would definitely be looking out for ways to save on water usage. I feel for you.

  4. My household prefers eating homemade foods; therefore through the years, we have become happy bulk cookers. Handy with time saving and adding to freezers.

    I do not pretend to recall all bulk cooking we do, but some are dried beans, meat balls, chili, soups, stews, burritos, steamed rice, yeast bread, cornbread, biscuits, breakfast biscuit sandwiches, casseroles, and meatloaf.

    Our electric roaster cooks 2 chickens that are then sliced, chopped, and diced for freezer. Carcasses are used to prepare broth. Beef roasts are also baked in electric roaster and sliced, chopped, and diced for freezer. Beef broth frozen from bones, as well.

    Homemade broth is bagged for freezer, too.

    Bulk cooking for freezer storage is one of my best kitchen moneysavers.

    1. A great list for sur!. Glad to hear that cooking in bulk saves you money in your kitchen too. :)

  5. Forgot! I am saving your enchilada sauce recipe. Thank you.


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