Culinary School Dreams
At one point in my life, I wanted to go to culinary school. After working in a restaurant, I realized that the lifestyle would not be conducive to my personal goals, but I still enjoy cooking and trying new recipes.
In my last post, I eluded to the fact that my wife and I buy a lot of groceries for meals. While I used to spend countless hours experimenting with different recipes, sadly I do not have the time for that anymore. In order to fit cooking into my busy schedule, I now make big batches of food and have leftovers throughout the week.
I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite recipes for big batch cooking!
Tools of the Trade
But first, I want to let you know about three kitchen items that I use all the time. You can certainly get by without them, but I do think they make life easier.
1. Slow Cooker
Honestly, before starting residency I never used a slow cooker. Now I use it almost every week. I love that it allows me to put everything in one pot and have delicious food five hours later.
If you are thinking of purchasing a slow cooker, I recommend one which allows you to sauté food before using the slow-cooking function. Personally, we own the Cuisinart 6-Quart Multi-Cooker, and I have had great experiences with it. You could also get yourself a very trendy Insta-Pot, which arguably is best bang for your buck, especially if you want to pressure cook as well.
2. Cast Iron Pan
I have so many cast iron pans. Maybe too many. But I always reach for my cast iron skillet to get that highly desired, perfectly crispy exterior (the Maillard reaction, for all the food geeks) on my steaks and pork chops. The other bonus is I can finish cooking the meat by putting the skillet right into the oven. One pan = less clean up!
3. Dutch Oven
For braising stews, I always use my dutch oven. Of course, Le Creuset may be the most well-known and expensive brand out there. If I could afford one, I would definitely purchase a Le Creuset. But for now, the Lodge 6-Quart version - which costs a fifth of the equivocal Le Creuset - is my workhorse.
As promised, here are my favorite big batch recipes to date, ordered from simple to moderate in terms of prep time. Actual cooking times may vary. I have also labeled recipes which you can freeze and eat later. Hopefully this inspires you to start cooking and decrease the “eating out” portion of your budget!
Simple (About 30 minutes prep time)
What are some of your favorite recipes? I would love to hear from you!