- Prevent food spoilage - We got a great deal on tomatoes last week but they were very ripe and I knew they wouldn't last. So I turned them into a big batch of pasta sauce with other veggies we had on hand. We ate a portion for dinner tonight, some will go in lunches tomorrow and I froze the rest. We'll have some easy pasta topping two nights this week or next and I effectively extended the life of our tomatoes; they won't go bad or unused now.
- Buy in bulk - If I know I'll be prepping a big batch of something for the week, I don't hesitate to buy in bulk when I'm at the market where sometimes I can be a bit leery about things getting used. Normally I'm more aware of the detriments of buying in bulk than the advantages since there's only two of us but cooking ahead gives me a chance to use it as a savings tool.
- Spend less time cooking - Cooking one cup of brown rice takes practically the same time as cooking three. Cooking ahead can allow you to be more efficient with your time in the kitchen and if cooking takes less time then you're more likely to actually do it.
- Stick to your budget - You can use this technique to concentrate when you need to have grocery will power. Prepping several meals at once can reduce trips to the store for forgotten ingredients and can make executing a meal plan easier.
- Avoid take out temptation - With at least part of a meal already prepped and ready to go at home, especially since it will often be the time consuming half, the temptation to eat out or grab some take out will be a lot less. Plus it will also be a lot harder to justify the slip.
- Cook when you have time - By cooking ahead you can choose when you have to get down and dirty in the kitchen. You don't have to feel pressed to turn out a meal on a super busy or stressful night. Instead, you can cook on, say, a Sunday afternoon when you don't have to rush. When my SO and I have both pulled 10hr+ days at work plus commute time, the last thing we want is to cook or argue about which restaurant or take out place we want to patronize. Instead, we dig around in the freezer and can have a simple, nutritious meal ready in ten minutes.
Do you cook meals ahead of time or in large batches? What are your tricks to make home cooked meals easier?