Bulk cooking and freezing is a great way to bank meals for later and cut down on time spent cooking. The five-day freeze technique makes bulk cooking feasible for those who don't have a whole weekend to set aside.
Linsery Kerl is a busy mum and writer for the frugality blog WiseBread. She'd tried bulk cooking before but found that with four children and a busy schedule the idea of devoting a weekend to stock-piling meals just wasn't going to happen. She advocates taking an approach that spreads the labour out in a more manageable fashion:
What I'm aiming to discuss, however, is how to achieve the same level "cook now, eat later" zen, without the horrid hangover that occurs when you shop for an entire month's worth of food, cook for 12 hours straight, and then collapse in a pile of sweat and tears before realisng you lost two days of your life for some frozen lasagna trays. Some people have mastered the batch-cooking technique without all the drama, but let's be realistic: I'm a work-at-home, home-educating, mum of 4 little ones. I can rarely find time to sweep and scrub, much less create 30 days' worth of frozen meals on my days off. Here is how I've achieved basically the same results (easy meal prep on a budget) with the spare 30-minutes to an hour I have each day.
The secret to bulk cooking without turning into a food-making robot for one weekend out of every month? Make your regular entrees and cooking endeavours throughout the week ones that freeze well and can be used in multiple ways.
They give the example of hamburger (mince) being on sale. Buy extra—a lot extra—and on top of the meal you're making for the evening you can make meatballs to freeze, seasoned beef for taco night down the road, pre-brown and freeze for other recipes, and so on. By incorporating a future meal into your nightly cooking session you can begin to stockpile meals and meal components without having to dedicate entire days or weekends to stuffing your freezer.
Check out the full article for more ideas on maximizing your cooking sessions and if you have your own experience with bulk cooking and advanced meal planning we'd love to hear about it in the comments.