Batch Cooking: Healthy Dinner Ideas
Batch Cooking: Healthy Dinner Ideas with Rob & Devon
You know Rob as the founder of Open Sky Fitness and the Open Sky Fitness Podcast, but did you know he also has an obsession with cooking fantastic meals? In this weeks Episode, Rob and his wife Devon will discuss the importance of “batch cooking” in creating a healthy lifestyle. They also give you a step by step way to begin as well as a few of their favorite recipes and healthy dinner ideas. Below we will take you through these steps.
What is Batch Cooking?
Batch Cooking is when you prepare many portions of meals at once and then save the remaining portions for a future meal. In other words, when you are cooking dinner, cook 4-5 times more than you would normally eat and save the rest for lunch for the week, or dinner the next few nights. It’s just a simple way of saying that you are preparing your meals and snacks ahead of time. For health this, is key. Rob says, “If you are not planning to succeed, you are planning to fail.”
Why is it Important for Fat Loss?
Rob and Devon have found that their clients learn quickly about what foods to eat, but often their lack of preparation holds them back from actually being able to accomplish their desired goals. Batch cooking is an easy way to help you make better choices of what foods you eat. When you are hungry and tired you tend to go towards foods that will give you instant energy. These would be your carbohydrate heavy foods like sugars and breads. If you already have a great meal in a Tupperware in the fridge, you will be less likely to stuff your face with the donuts at the office. Also, when you are tired from a long day at work and you don’t really feel like cooking, you will be less likely to stop for a Big Mac if you know you are on your way home to a delicious steak and roasted vegetables.
Why is it Important for Building Muscle Mass?
When you want to build muscle mass the first ingredient is adding a ton of healthy foods into your daily diet. For some people that might be simply eating larger portions; for others that might be adding an entire extra meal. Who has time to cook four meals a day everyday? That’s why you can take a few hours to prepare a few different recipes that last for multiple meals and you’ll always have food at your fingertips. You won’t have to think about your next meal, it’s already there in your cooler. You won’t have to grab the chips from the vending machine because you have a homemade trail mix in your man purse.
Batch Cooking for Beginners…
Are you a newby in the kitchen? It’s ok, just don’t go overboard. At the beginning look for recipes that have a simple and short ingredient list like a chili or frittata. Don’t get overwhelmed with the recipes with 20 or more ingredients. The important thing is that you get started in your new goal of a healthier lifestyle.
Food Prep with the Experienced Chef…
Rob says his time in the kitchen is like conducting an orchestra. He looks at his different sections and tools in workspace as the different instruments. He has meatballs on the stove, spinach stuffed mushrooms in his oven, carne asada on the grill, a vegetable crudite on the cutting board, and bone broth in the crockpot. When he goes shopping he plans accordingly. If you love to cook test your skills and create a symphony in the kitchen!
Don’t want to cook? Healthy Dinner Ideas on the Go
Like the idea of preparing meals but hate to cook at home? Rob and Devon truly believe that home cooking is the key to really being healthy. At restaurants and supermarkets, you don’t have control over what kind of oils or how much salt they use; nor do you know of the quality of their ingredients. However, if you really don’t have an hour a week more, or if you just despise cooking with a passion, Devon recommended the following healthy dinner ideas: Go to your local Whole Foods, Bristol Farms or Ralph’s to the deli section where they have their prepared foods. Pick out a few different meats, some green vegetables, and an additional side dish that looks delicious and healthful. Make sure to get the large size of each so you will have plenty of left overs for a few lunches and/or dinners. It’s “batch shopping” instead of “batch cooking”!
Steps for Batch Cooking
- Choose one or multiple recipes that you know you will enjoy eating for a few meals
- Write out a shopping list of the ingredients.
- Put both the shopping date and cooking date in your schedule.
- When cooking remember to clean as you go!
- After your meals are prepared, separate them into tupperware for later.
- If there is way too much, put some in a freezer bag and freeze (remember to write the item and date on the bag)
- Make sure to bring your meals or snacks to work.
R & D’s Favorite Batch Cooking Recipes
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
- 2 large butternut squash (about 4 1/2 lbs..) or 4 lbs. peeled and cubed butternut squash
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 1/2 tsp. salt plus more to taste
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Halve, seed, peel, and cube the butternut squash. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the butter and the chopped onion. Sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the squash and the broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer small batches to a blender. Hold a kitchen towel over the top (to prevent burns) and blend until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Return the soup to the pot and add more salt to taste.
Tip: If possible reheat on stove top: Makes 4 to 6 servings
Makes: 8 servings
Prep: 15 mins
Stand: 5 mins to 10 mins
Roast: 20 mins to 25 mins 425°F
2 pounds broccoli washed and cut into bite size pieces 2 tbsp Olive Oil (or to coat)
1/4 cup olive oil
Pinch of Red Pepper flakes (optional)
In a bowl, mix broccoli with olive oil. Salt and peppers to taste. Place on a sheet pan or cookie sheet. Bake in 425 degree oven, stirring occasionally, for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
Tip: Best if reheated in toaster oven or oven.
Hearty Grass-Fed Beef Chili
Prep Time: 20
Cook Time: 1.5 Hours
- 2 pounds Grassfed Ground Beef 85/15
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion, Chopped
- 1 Red or Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves, Coarsely Chopped
- 1/4 Cup Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
- 1 28oz Can Diced Organic Tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Cup Chicken or Beef Broth (Homemade if possible)
- 4 Green Onion Stalks, chopped(reserved for topping)
- 1 15oz Can Red Kidney Beans (Optional)
Heat large pot to med-high heat. Add olive oil to the pan, followed by onions, peppers and garlic. Once onions start to become translucent add meat. Break meat up and keep stirring until it’s all brown and no red. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to release aromas. Add diced tomatoes and broth. (Now would be the time to add the kidney beans if you’re using them) Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to a simmer and cover.
Let cook, stirring occasionally for an one to one and a half hours. Feel free to go longer if you like, up to 2 to 3 hours. It will only get better. Serve topped with green onions.
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