Comfort Food Classics – Batch Cook
We can’t imagine many things more comforting than knowing that there’s a portion of our favourite comfort food tucked away in the freezer for a rainy day.
The best comfort foods are those that can be cooked in big batches and stored in the freezer until you need a bowlful of something comforting (without having to spend hours in the kitchen).
One option is to whip up a quick comfort food recipe, but it’s even better to batch cook some classic comfort foods, so you’ve always got something on standby.
Luckily, most comfort foods are the kinds of recipes that are perfect for batch cooking, with rich, deep flavours that only get better over time. As long as you store, label and defrost your leftovers correctly, you’ll be able to have that dish you’re craving, whenever you need it most.
Our new cookbook, Pinch of Nom Comfort Food is out on the 9th December and it features SO many recipes that are perfect for batch cooking. Have you ordered your copy yet? Pre-order here!
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Batch cooking top tips
There’s no real trick to batch cooking, but if you’re going to stock up your freezer with some of our best comfort food recipes, you’ll need to follow these simple steps to keep you and your family safe:
- Freeze food as soon as it is cold enough. It’s a good idea to split it out into single serve portions so that it’ll cool faster and be easier to defrost when you need it.
- Use a container or bag that is suitable for freezing. Look for specially designed freezer bags or freezer-safe tupperware that will help keep food fresh.
- Defrost thoroughly before reheating. Food should be left to defrost in the fridge overnight and then reheated until it’s piping hot all the way through.
As always, make sure you follow the NHS guidelines around storing, freezing and reheating food.
These airtight containers are freezer-safe, microwavable and dishwasher safe. They’ll come in handy every time you batch cook!
Freezer friendly classics
There are certain recipes that always freeze and reheat well – think carby, comforting dishes with layers of potatoes or pasta.
A hearty, cheesy Lasagne is always a batch cooking triumph. If there’s only a couple of you at home, it’s one of those dishes where there’s always plenty left over. Any extras can be packaged up and stored in the fridge for tomorrow’s lunch, or you can go all out and double up with a spare lasagne that’s destined for the freezer.
Our slimmed down lasagne recipe may cut back on calories, but it doesn’t lose any of that comforting taste or texture. Piping hot and golden brown from the oven, cheesy layers of pasta are hard to beat.
Pop leftover portions in some tupperware and tuck them away in a freezer drawer for days when you don’t want to spend an hour creating your favourite Italian-inspired comfort dish.
A good old Cottage Pie might be a midweek classic, but when you add up prep time and oven time, it can take almost an hour and a half. Deliciously stodgy mashed potatoes, savoury mince and all that rich gravy are always worth the effort, but when you need comfort food quickly, 90 minutes can feel like forever.
Luckily, cottage pie is another one of those recipes that was made for batch cooking. Just like a lasagne, you could double up on ingredients and make two at a time. We love to batch cook on quiet weekends, stocking up the freezer for busier days.
We’ve used lean mince to make our recipe slimming friendly, but other than that, it’s a super traditional recipe and every bit as comforting as you’d expect.
Wholesome and hearty, the leftovers reheat really well. Just defrost overnight in the fridge and then pop in a microwavable container and heat for 4-7 minutes until it’s piping hot all the way through.
These leak-proof tupperware containers are safe for the microwave and can be popped into the dishwasher for easy clean up.
If you’re watching what you’re eating, you might have heard that ‘if it swims, it slims’! While the thought of leftover fish might not seem that appealing, we’ve got a delicious seafood recipe that might just change your mind.
This slimming friendly Admiral’s Fish Pie is one of our favourite comfort foods. It combines tasty mixed seafood with a creamy sauce and fluffy mash for far fewer calories than a traditional fish pie.
Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated for lunch or dinner later in the week. You can freeze this recipe too, but only if the seafood mix you’re using hasn’t been previously frozen.
Just bear in mind that if you want to batch cook this dish to freeze, you should buy refrigerated cooked seafood to make the filling.
The bigger the batch the better!
As well as being easy to freeze and reheat, some comfort food recipes are ideal for cooking in bigger batches. We love being able to double up on the quantities so we can feed all our family or friends, and still have some leftovers to stow away for a chilly, grey day.
Something like this Campfire Stew is the perfect example. It’s warming, packed with goodness and super tasty, plus it tastes even better reheated the next day.
Whether you’re cooking it in the oven or converting it for your slow cooker, you can pad out the recipe with extra veggies to make it stretch further, or just double up on the ingredients for double the portions.
Leftovers for lunch? With all those smoky flavours, we’ll take reheated Campfire Stew for lunch over a supermarket sandwich any day!
Even when you’re not feeling under the weather, a big bowl of chicken broth brings so much flavour and nostalgia. A hug in soup form, our Chicken Shiitake Mushroom and Chilli Broth is just what you need on a cold day.
This recipe is our go-to when we don’t know what we fancy – so it’s ideal to have a couple of portions hidden at the back of the freezer. Our recipe makes enough for four people, but it’s really easy to add a couple of extra chicken thighs and up the quantities to make sure there’ll be leftovers.
It’s delicious served over rice or noodles if you need a scoop of something carby to make it even more comforting. It’s safest to cook rice fresh if possible – it can be frozen but you need to follow the NHS guidelines carefully if batch cooking anything containing rice. Find out more here.
When we’re craving comfort food, practically any pasta dish will do! This Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta is perfect for cooking in big batches because you can throw in absolutely any veggies that you need to use up. It’s a budget friendly, family friendly recipe that hits the spot every time.
Leftover pasta is a top tier lunch and this is no exception. It’ll keep well in the fridge for a couple of days and you could also freeze it. The creamy sauce might dry out a little when you reheat this recipe, so it’s worth adding a little extra stock if you’re cooking this to stock up the freezer.
It’s tasty, filling and packed with veg – ideal comfort food.
Don’t forget dessert
Batch cooking doesn’t have to be all about dinner recipes. Sometimes comfort food is something sweet and chocolatey. One day of baking on a weekend could stock you up on sweet treats for weeks – you just have to know which recipes to pick and how to store them.
How about one of these Double Choc Chip Cookies when the chocolate craving strikes? Our recipe makes 18 cookies at 40 calories each.
These are one of our favourite snacks to enjoy with a cup of tea on an evening, satisfying that sweet tooth without going off plan.
You can even pop them in the freezer! Just package them up with a sheet of baking paper between each one so they’re easy to separate when you want to grab one.
Sometimes all you need is a slice of banana bread to turn your day around. If light, spongy Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips is your idea of comfort food we’ve got good news – it’s ideal for batch cooking.
The best way to use up leftover bananas, our slimming friendly version will save so many calories compared to a slice of a shop bought cake. You’ll get 12 slices out of this loaf, and they’ll keep in the fridge for 3 days (as long as you can resist them!).
If you want to stash this banana bread away for a cake emergency, it’s suitable for freezing. Pop it in a freezer safe container and don’t forget to add a label.
Whether for dessert or breakfast, these Chocolate Waffles are always a treat. Rather than make one at a time, why not spend a Sunday morning batch cooking a few so you can grab one whenever you fancy it?
They can be packed up and frozen to save time on busier mornings. Don’t forget the baking paper trick to stop them getting stuck together in the freezer container! Add some in-between each waffle so you can defrost one at a time.
You’ll need a waffle mould to make these, and we recommend popping them onto a baking tray in the oven for the last 5 minutes to help them get nice and crispy.
We used a waffle mould like this to make ours. A silicon mould makes it easier to remove the waffles, and it’s easier to clean too!
What do you love to batch cook?
Being able to raid the freezer for your favourite comfort recipes always makes batch cooking worthwhile. You can find more ideas for freezer friendly meals in Our Top 10 Batch Cooking Recipes article.
Have you pre-ordered Pinch of Nom Comfort Food? It’s filled with hearty, home-cooked meals that are ideal for batch cooking. Order today to be one of the first to get a copy when it comes out on December 9th!
What recipes do you always batch cook and freeze? Pop on over to our Facebook Group to let us know! You’ll find almost 1 million members in the group already sharing inspiration, motivation and support for each other’s slimming journeys.