Batch cooking saves the day

Batch cooking saves the day

Think large for fast, nutritious meals

Preparing nourishing meals from scratch can eat up a chunk of your day. That’s why it’s time to say hello to a cooking method that requires some upfront effort but pays significant dividends down the road. We’re speaking of ye olde batch cooking.

Carve out some time on a Sunday to prep these meals—and be thankful all week long.

Apple Pie Baked Oatmeal

This comforting baked oatmeal recipe is a perfect meal solution for harried mornings when you don’t have the time or energy to hover over a pot of simmering oats.

1 cup (250 mL) steel-cut oats

2 Tbsp (30 mL) melted unsalted butter or coconut oil, plus more for greasing

1 1/2 cups (350 mL) large-flake rolled oats

1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped walnuts

1/2 cup (125 mL) unsweetened large flaked coconut

1 large egg, whisked

2 cups (500 mL) milk or unsweetened nondairy milk

1/3 cup (80 mL) maple syrup

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

1 1/4 tsp (6 mL) cinnamon

1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger

1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cloves

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

2 apples, cored and chopped

1 cup (250 mL) grated carrot

2 Tbsp (30 mL) turbinado, coconut sugar or brown sugar

In small bowl, cover steel-cut oats with water and let soak for 2 or more hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease a large casserole dish.

In 2 L casserole dish, stir together drained steel-cut oats, rolled oats, walnuts and coconut flakes. In large bowl, whisk together melted butter or coconut oil, egg, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Add liquid mixture to oats and gently mix until everything is moist. Gently stir in apples and carrot.

Scatter sugar overtop and bake until mixture is just barely set, about 40 minutes.

Serves 6.

Each serving contains: 443 calories; 12 g protein; 19 g total fat (8 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 60 g total carbohydrates (26 g sugars, 8 g fiber); 164 mg sodium

Salmon Chowder

Rustle up a big pot of this hearty chowder, and you’ll be spooning up a nutritional windfall all week long. Canned salmon may seem like a step-down ingredient, but it holds up better in leftovers than fresh fish.

2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter

1 large onion, diced

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1 1/2 lb (750 g) sweet potato, peeled and cubed

2 large carrots, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

3 celery stalks, sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp (30 mL) no-salt-added tomato paste

1/2 tsp (2 mL) crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup (250 mL) white wine

4 cups (1 L) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

2 – 170 g cans sockeye salmon, drained

1 cup (250 mL) evaporated milk

1 cup (250 mL) frozen green peas

Zest of l lemon

1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped dill

In 4 L large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and salt; heat until onion has softened and turned golden, about 6 minutes. Add sweet potato and carrots; heat for 5 minutes. Add bell pepper, celery and garlic; heat for 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and red pepper flakes; heat for 30 seconds. Pour wine into pan, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until potato and carrot are tender.

Break salmon into chunks and add to pan along with evaporated milk, green peas and lemon zest; heat for 3 minutes, but do not bring to a boil. Stir in dill. Serve chowder topped with freshly cracked black pepper.

Serves 8.

Each serving contains: 270 calories; 14 g protein; 9 g total fat (4 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 29 g total carbohydrates (8 g sugars, 5 g fiber); 363 mg sodium

Squash Turkey Chili

A big pot of chili is the perfect batch-cooking project, as everything is prepared in one pan and leftovers become even more flavorful.

1 1/2 lb (750 g) ground turkey

1 Tbsp (15 mL) grapeseed or sunflower oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

2 orange bell peppers, chopped

2 medium zucchini, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, chopped and steamed

2 – 14 oz (398 mL) cans diced tomatoes, including juice

1 cup (250 mL) low-sodium chicken or turkey broth

2 Tbsp (30 mL) cocoa powder

2 canned chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce

2 tsp (10 mL) paprika

2 tsp (10 mL) dried oregano

1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin

1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon

1/2 tsp (2 mL) black pepper

1 1/2 cups (350 mL) cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 cups (350 mL) cooked or canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups (500 mL) frozen corn kernels

1/2 cup (125 mL) pumpkin seeds

1 cup (250 mL) chopped cilantro

Heat 8 to 10 L large pan over medium heat. Add turkey and sauté until pale golden, breaking up meat with a fork until crumbly.

In separate pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and salt to pan; sauté until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in bell peppers, zucchini and garlic; heat 5 minutes. Stir into large pan with cooked turkey. Remove turkey and vegetables from the heat.

In blender container, place squash, 1 can diced tomatoes and juice, broth, cocoa, chipotle chili, paprika, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and black pepper and blend until smooth. Add puréed squash mixture to large saucepan containing turkey along with remaining can of tomatoes, black beans and pinto beans. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer, with lid ajar, for 20 minutes. Add corn and heat through. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if you wish.

Serve bowls of chili garnished with pumpkin seeds and cilantro.

Serves 8.

Each serving contains: 368 calories; 32 g protein; 8 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 46 g total carbohydrates (8 g sugars, 11 g fiber); 434 mg sodium

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