How to Batch Cook Like a Boss

Have you ever wondered what coming home to dinner prepared every night is like? Wonder no more. Here, Culinary Nutritionist and Clean Eating Academy instructor Pamela Salzman shares the life-changing magic of cooking once for the week ahead and how you, too, can become a meal-planning pro.
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Culinary Nutritionist and Clean Eating Academy Instructor, Pamela Salzman

Culinary Nutritionist and Clean Eating Academy Instructor, Pamela Salzman

Clean Eating: You have a lot on the go these days. What’s currently on your front burners?

Pamela Salzman: Besides teaching cooking classes full-time and developing recipes for Clean Eating, my first cookbook was just published! The book is called Kitchen Matters: More than 100 Recipes and Tips to Transform the Way You Cook and Eat. I am so proud of it!

You’re the most informed shopper on social media. Your fans can’t get enough of your Whole Foods shopping hacks series. Why are people hooked?

The incredible feedback was actually quite unexpected. But people tell me they are overwhelmed by the options at Whole Foods and that it’s helpful how I break down why I prefer certain products, how to save money and how to read labels (check out the series @pamelasalzman).

Being the Sunday dinner-prep queen, tell us about your Sundays.

For more than 20 years, I’ve been sitting down on Sundays to plan my week of meals. It relieves so much stress when I can wake up every day knowing what I am going to make for dinner and that some of it may already be done. I also do whatever prep I can, such as making almond milk, vinaigrettes, soaking and cooking grains, and washing salad greens.

Where do you start when planning for a week of make-ahead meals?

I look at my calendar and see what my schedule will be like each day and how much time I have for cooking. Then I scan the fridge and pantry to see what I already have and what needs to be used up.

What’s one of your all-time favorite batch-cooking go-tos?

Roasted vegetables! I love them in eggs, salads, grains and soups.

Our readers love the batch-cooking guides in CE. How can they branch out further to transform five make-ahead recipes into 15 meals for the week?

My CEA Batch Cooking 101 course is going to be a comprehensive guide on how to approach batch cooking from every angle. I’ll show you how to set up your kitchen, give you an overview of what can be made ahead and how to freeze and reheat. The recipes you’ll learn can be transformed into many dishes.

Tell us about your famous layered popsicles made from leftover smoothies – we’re obsessed!

Haha! I hate wasting food, so when I noticed my son was leaving a couple of tablespoons of his smoothies in the blender, I started to pour the small amounts into popsicle molds, creating beautiful, layered smoothie popsicles. 

Join Pamela Salzman for her new Clean Eating Academy course: Batch Cooking 101, launching in September 2017. Learn how to prepare a week's worth of meals in a single day! Get more info now. 

5 Steps to Better Batch Cooking

1. Stay organized 

Label your finished recipes. This will help you remember what you made (different sauces and dressings can start to look alike), and always include the date.

2. Freeze right 

Freeze recipes in portions that you would actually use. There’s no sense freezing a gallon of soup unless you would consume that quantity at once.

3. Read through your recipes 

You might find that several recipes contain the same tasks, such as chopping onions. It would be more efficient to tackle like tasks at once.

4. Keep no-fail recipes in your back pocket 

Lean on the recipes you know work and can easily be tweaked into something new.

5. Keep your pantry stocked 

Make a list of the pantry items you use regularly, and check often to ensure you are well stocked.