Healthy Batch Cooking & Freezer Meals
But if I am going to commit that time (at least in terms of cooking, not necessarily in terms of preparation), then I definitely want it to give more than one meal’s worth of pleasure. So here is a handy collection of my all-time favourite batch cooking & freezer meals. The very definition of culinary hunkering down.
You’ll find links to lots of free recipes available online, as well as references to relevant recipes in my books (with handy page numbers so no need to go searching).
On busy days, or days when I just can’t face cooking from scratch again, I almost always turn to my stockpile of freezer meals and leftovers to help me get a quick, wholesome and tasty meal on the table with minimal effort. There is no nutritional disadvantage of relying on leftovers a few times a week.
Stored and reheated appropriately, they’re just as delicious as they were when freshly made.
I absolutely love making soup during the colder months and will often make a different one each day for lunch using up whatever I have in the cupboards and fridge. Here are some of my favourite recipes that you can make in big batches. They will keep in the fridge for a few days if covered but equally freeze well to ensure you have a ready supply of healthy, hearty lunches. Try serving with a handful of toasted seeds or some salsa verde (see Sauces and Seeds below).
In my books
Instant tomato & cannellini bean soup – pg. 82
Instant watercress & avocado soup – pg. 85
Soup for the soul – pg. 86
Vegetable minestrone – pg. 92
Roasted vegetable & chicken soup (replace chicken stock with vegetable stock and omit the chicken topping to make this veggie) – pg. 206
Beetroot Soup – pg. 116
Stews & Casseroles
Stews and casseroles are another autumn and winter staple of mine, and I always have a batch of one sort or another in the freezer. They are a great way to use up any vegetables that are left at the bottom of the fridge too so a useful way to minimise food waste. These are such versatile dishes and really you can add any ingredients that you like or have to hand but I have included some recipes for a little inspiration below.
In my books
Fish provencale – pg 169
Slow-cooked fennel, lemon, chicken & cannellini bean stew – pg. 192
Slow-cooked lamb & aubergine tagine – pg. 203
Bottom of the fridge vegetable stew – pg. 214
Duck with beans & greens – pg. 200
Winter oxtail stew with pumpkin & kale – pg. 204
Beef goulash – pg. 243
Puy lentil, mushroom & miso stew – pg. 274
Spiced winter stew with orange blossom water – pg. 309
Chicken & tarragon casserole on pg. 314
Pies and Bakes
Whilst I don’t eat much pastry, I do enjoy a comforting cottage pie from time to time, especially when it is topped with sweet potato and of course, these dishes are perfect for feeding familes and they freeze brilliantly. I make double the quantity so even if it all gets eaten up, there is always one to pop in the freezer.
Curries & Chilli
I find that often curries and chillis develop in flavour after a day or two in the fridge, so make plenty to ensure you have leftovers. Try mixing up the side dishes – if you want them – to include brown rice, flatbreads, such as my simple to make yoghurt flatbreads on pg 109 of Simply Good For You, or just a spoonful of natural yogurt for a little extra protein.
Sauces & Sprinkles
It is always a good idea to have a selection of easily made sauces, toppings and dressings to hand. This will ensure you have a ready supply to add to pasta, vegetables, meats, salads and soups, they will not only add flavour but can be a boost of nutrition too. Try to incorporate some healthy fats such as olive oil and a range of seeds, nuts and herbs.
in my books
Loaded green houmous – pg. 125
Iron-rich ragu – pg. 199
Red pepper pasta sauce – pg. 240
Butternut, cashew & sage pasta sauce – pg. 243
Beetroot houmous – pg. 136
Spiced seed sprinkle – pg. 140
Lime and ginger dressing on pg. 172
Tahini dressing – pg. 225
Sauce inspiration – pg. 62-63
Puy lentil houmous – pg. 73
Green houmous – pg. 73
Green harissa – pg. 74
Tapenade – pg. 74
Dressings – pg 79
Fruit and Sweet Things
We don’t eat many puddings at home, usually just a piece of seasonal fruit but when I have a glut of autumn apples, I will always make huge batches of stewed apple to keep in the freezer that I will use to top porridge or a bowl of natural yoghurt. It can, of course, also be used to make warming crumbles, topped with oats and nuts. Another tip to ensure you have some healthier sweet options available – rather than turning to unhealthier processed puddings – is to have some in the freezer.
Prep Ahead Breakfasts
These are not so much things to go in the freezer, but rather prepare-ahead breakfast options to keep in the cupboard or fridge for those really busy mornings.
Fruity breakfast crumble bars (these also freeze well)
Crunchy nut & seed granola
Crunchy amaranth granola
Creamy coconut strawberry chia breakfast porridge
Blackberry & lemon chia pudding
Apple crumble oats
Squash, Feta & Balsamic Onion Egg Muffins
in my books
Coconut muesli – pg. 39
Beauty bars – pg. 42
Berry jam – pg. 56
Butternut baked beans – pg. 61
Egg & vegetable traybake – pg. 62
Overnight oat crumble – pg. 196
Nut granola – pg. 141
Turmeric & mango spied chia pot – pg.148
Here is a selection of other things I like to batch cook and keep in the freezer. Although it may seem a little daunting and time consuming to start with, I promise you, batch cooking becomes easier and quicker once you get used to doing it and it really is one of the easiest ways to make sure that healthy and nutritious foods are available to you and yoru family rather than falling back onto quick, processed foods when you are tired or time is short.
in my books
Banana bread – pg. 46
Veggie bread – pg. 48
Spinach & beetroot falafels – pg. 148
Fishcakes – pg. 162
Pea & chicken burgers – pg. 185
Almond scones – pg. 248
Beetroot Houmous – pg. 136
Chicken Stock (freeze concentrated stock in ice cube trays) – pg. 156
Pea & Sweet potato fritters – pg. 239
Falafel burgers – pg. 248
Puy lentil houmous – pg. 73
Salmon balls (don’t freeze the dipping sauce) – pg. 198
Sun-dried tomato & harissa turkey burgers – pg. 294
Freezer Ingredients I Always Have To Hand
These are not recipes but a list of useful ingredients that I buy ready frozen or I prepare and freeze.
Baby broad beans / green beans / soy beans
Fish & shellfish – unsmoked mackerel, fish pie mix, prawns.
Chopped onions / garlic
Chopped herbs / frozen herbs in oil (see pg 82 Cook. Nourish. Glow)
Portions of cooked pulses
Chicken / other stock – I make stock from leftovers, really reducing it down so it’s thick and packed with flavour, and then freeze in ice cube trays. I can then pop one out as and when needed as my own stock concentrate.
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