Why Batch Cook?
A little bit of planning can go a long way to saving time preparing meals. Especially if working at home, having something to hand to put in the oven whilst you are doing other things is very satisfying!
To give it a try, start with an easy meal that reheats well and is simple to prepare.
Here we run through a quick pasta bake that is cheap and tasty. Even the meal prep needs little actual hands-on time. You can get on with other things while the sauce is bubbling away.
This guide will show you how to prepare several pasta bakes in stainless steel containers (Versa Mini) with enough leftover to have a meal today. This recipe makes enough for 5 portions to store and 2 portions to have now. So have some now, put one in the fridge for tomorrow and put the rest in the freezer for later.
When storing our lunchboxes we recommend that you write on the boxes with a sharpie to say what they are. This way you can easily identify them when they are stacked up in the fridge or freezer.
When reheating from the fridge, allow 30-40m in the oven at 150C or if reheating from the freezer, either leave on the side to defrost at room temperature (leave the lid on) before reheating, or put in the oven for an hour at 150C. If you like the top crispy, remove the lid for the last 10m.
1 x onion
2 x sweet peppers
2-3 cloves of garlic
Some olives (pitted is easier)
Small tin of anchovies (optional)
3 x tinned tomatoes
Olive oil, salt, pepper.
Dried oregano or mixed herbs
1kg dried pasta
Cheese (about 100g to top)
Fresh tomato (to slice up and put on top)
5 x Storage containers
Big pot to cook the sauce in
Big pot to cook the pasta
- Chop the onion, garlic and peppers and put in the pan with olive oil to fry. Get them frying and stir to stop anything burning.
- Put the lid on the pan and turn the heat down a bit to partly steam the peppers.
- When the peppers are soft, add the tinned tomatoes, olives and anchovies (if you are using them) and dried herbs. Now is also a good time to add salt and pepper. About a teaspoon of each or adjust according to preference.
- Once the sauce is bubbling a little bit, let it all cook on a low simmer for at least an hour to bring out the flavour and allow it cook thoroughly.
- In the meantime, cook the pasta according to the instructions and drain.
- Mix the pasta and sauce together. At this point, you may want to separate any you are eating now from any that you are saving.
- Grate the cheese and slice the fresh tomatoes.
- Serve the pasta and sauce into the containers and top with the cheese and tomato.
- Put the lids on the containers and leave to cool down before chilling or freezing.