Weekly Batch Cooking & Meal Preparation

Batch cooking or batch meal preparation is where you prepare meals that are for more than one eating.  The meals can be for a couple of days, a week, or even a month.  You can batch cook or batch prepare meals that you store in the fridge to use over a couple of days, or even store in your freezer to use over a couple of weeks.

Advantages of batch cooking/batch meal preparation

  1. You get better at planning your meals.  This is great for healthy eating, saving money, and preventing food waste.
  2. Batch meal preparation may improve your diet. This is because you will not end up eating a quick unhealthier option, just because you don’t have time to prepare food.
  3. Batch cooking or batch meal preparation frees up your time which you can use to do something else.  Cooking takes time especially if you have to prepare the ingredients.
  4. Batch cooking saves you money on your energy bills.  You cook more meals using the same amount of energy especially if you are doing a casserole, stew, or cooking in the oven.
  5. If you are very busy, batch cooking saves you money that you could have used on takeaways.
  6. Pre-prepared meals take away the worry of dinner preparation, especially on weekdays.  This is very useful, especially for people who are very busy during the week. Imagine being stuck in traffic on your way home from work, thinking you have to go home and cook.  You will probably opt for a takeaway.

My Batch Cooking/Batch Meal Preparation Tips

How do you batch cook? My focus is on weekly batch cooking/batch meal preparation.  I do my food preparation on Saturday or Sunday.  This is usually preceded by my weekly shopping.  My meal planning sometimes is done a week ahead.  I check my cupboards and freezer for inspiration.  I may decide I haven’t cooked lentils in the last couple of weeks or I may see an ingredient that is going out date (expiring) soon.  To ensure you are varying your diet, vary your batch cooking recipes on a weekly basis (read about the importance of a varied diet)

I use sprouted seeds in my salads.  In order to have sprouts/microgreens for salads, I start my seed sprouting a week ahead of the meal prep.  This ensures that I have the sprouts ready for use when I prepare the weekly salad bowl.  I prepare my salad vegetables on Sunday afternoon.  The salads last till Friday lunchtime.  N.B: I only add the prepped vegetables at this point.  Any dressing, salt, and protein such as tuna/chicken and avocado are added to the salad during consumption for freshness.

Tips to keep your batch cooked food safe

Food safety is very important as far as batch cooking and batch meal is concerned since the food storage time is long enough for food poisoning bacteria to grow to unacceptable levels.  For cooked meals, ensure they are cooked thoroughly, they are cooled down quickly, and stored in the fridge as quickly as possible.  Ideally within 2 hours of completing cooking.

For prepped vegetables, ensure they are washed thoroughly, chopped, and stored in the fridge as quickly as possible.  Avoid putting animal protein in the salad as this increases the risk of food spoilage or food poisoning bacteria growing to unsafe levels.  Use clean dry utensils to handle or store your food.

In order to keep your food safely for so many days, your fridge must be operating at less than 5 degrees.  My batch cooking does not involve storing food in the freezer, rather my food is stored in the fridge.   To be able to store food for 7 days, I take steps to ensure that it will not go off or grow food poisoning bacteria.  Below are these steps:

  • I ensure the food is thoroughly cooked especially for meat-containing dishes.
  • I cool my food rapidly and store it in the fridge.  If I am storing food in the pot used to cook it, I use a cold-water bath to cool the food.  I make sure water doesn’t get into the food.
  • I use dry utensils to handle the food once it is cooked, using completely dry serving spoons.  If I transfer the food into storage containers, the containers are completely dry.

If you are not sure whether your fridge is operating at < 5 degrees Celsius, you may want to start off by batch cooking for 3 days.   One way to ensure your food will not make you ill is to heat it thoroughly, throughout the food when you reheat it.

Batch preparation for salads

A salad can last up to 5 days if good quality fruits and vegetables are used.  This is very much dependent on the freshness of the ingredients and the type of ingredients used in the salad.  I find that tomato-based and greens salad keeps well.   Soft fruits such as berries and bananas are not great batch-prepared salads.  They tend to break down quickly, go soft or discolour in the case of bananas.   I have found that most other fruits including tropical fruits do keep well.

Be creative when it comes to vegetable and fruit salads.  Try to eat the rainbow.  If it is a vegetable salad, have your leafy greens, red, yellow, and orange-colored vegetables and if you can, have white too.  Quantities do not matter, quality is what matters.  Likewise for fruit salad, if you can, go for the rainbow colours.

How to batch cook

You can batch cook most food types.  Stews, curries, Soups, Casseroles, Oven bakes, oven-cooked meat or fish, stir-fry meals, pasta with sauce, rice with stew, mash, bread, e.tc. are all suitable.

The simplest way to batch cook is to start off by thinking about, how many days you plan the food to last and how many people will be eating the food.  Then from your own experience, how much food do you usually cook for a single meal?  You then need to match up the quantity with your plan.  If you usually cook 1 cup of rice for 2 people’s meal, you could cook 3 cups of rice for 3 meals as an example.

When making soup, you may want to use a bigger pot and scale up the ingredients to match your planned quantities.

10 weekly batch cooking recipes.

1. Borlotti/Rosecoco Bean Curried Stew

Borlotti beans are also known as rosecoco, cranberry, and pinto beans among other names.  The beans’ colour varies from light brown with darker brown specs to white with red specks.   In terms of flavour, these beans are milder compared to red kidney or black beans. The colour of the beans is also lighter when boiled compared to red or black beans. This recipe uses canned Borlotti beans and is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.  N.B: you can use any other type of bean or even chickpeas instead of the Borlotti beans if you prefer.



Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


6 cans x 240g Borlotti/Rosecoco beans

2 medium-sized onions

3cm piece of ginger

½ can of tomatoes

1 heaped tablespoon tomato paste

2 medium-sized carrots

1 heaped tablespoon of Madras curry powder

A bunch of coriander leaves

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1teaspoon of salt

500ml water


  1. Drain the beans (use a colander or large sieve if available) and set them aside.
  2. Peel, clean and chop the onions into small pieces.
  3. Wash, and trim excess stalks of the coriander. Chop finely and set aside.
  4. Peel the garlic and mince, peel the ginger and finely grate it.
  5. Clean the carrots and chop them into 0.5 cm cubes.
  6. In a saucepan, sauté the onions and ginger till soft.
  7. Add the spices, stir and sauté for about 2 minutes. The spices should start to release their oils and the mixture should become aromatic. Add the tomatoes stir and continue cooking on medium heat for 5 minutes stirring every 2 minutes.
  8. Add the carrots, coriander, garlic, salt, and tomato paste. Stir and continue cooking for 5 minutes.  Add the beans and water. Stir, lid, and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Give a final stir and take off the heat.


Can be served with cabbage, kale, collard greens, or spinach and carbohydrate base such as plain boiled rice or flatbread if needed.

9 Servings

2. Mung bean curry

Mung beans are packed with nutrients offering 14g of protein and 15 grams of fiber.  Mung beans or green grams are legumes.  Consuming mung beans is another way of adding variety to your plant protein consumption. Mung beans have an earthy flavour and can accompany rice or bread-based dishes.  A lot of vegetables have been incorporated into this dish; aubergine, carrot, tomato, onion and coriander.



Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes


1 1/2 cups Mung beans.

2 medium-sized carrots

I large aubergine

1 clove of garlic minced

1 large onion sliced

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger minced

1 bunch of coriander (30g)

1 green pepper

4 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 can of chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp Madras curry powder

1 cup of water (200ml)

1 tsp salt


  1. Wash the mung beans. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for approximately 40 minutes adding water when needed.  Boil till soft but not mushy.
  2. Sautee onions, grated ginger, and pepper in oil till peppers and onions are soft.
  3. Add the Madras curry powder and stir, add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly.
  4. Add the carrots, aubergine, coriander, garlic, and salt. Stir and cook for 10 minutes stirring constantly.
  5. Add the boiled mung beans, add the water, stir, lid, and cook for 15 minutes. Give the food a final stir and remove from heat.


Serve with mashed potatoes, plain boiled rice, or flatbreads and greens on the side.

8 servings

3. Chicken stew

Easy enough to follow recipe which follows the classic method of making stews – sautéed onions, spices and vegetables and then adding the bulk of the dish.



Prep time: 30 – 45 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes


2 medium-sized onions – 260g

2 medium-sized green peppers – 315g

3cm x 3cm piece of ginger.

3 tablespoons of sunflower oil – 50g

1 can of tomatoes

1 large clove of garlic – 50g

1 teaspoon of paprika – 5g

1 Tablespoon of tomato paste – 50g

1 bunch of coriander – 15g

1kg of diced chicken breast meat.

1/2 teaspoon salt – 3g

1 Chicken stock cube (Knorr)


  1. Peel, clean and chop onions into small pieces. Clean and remove seeds and stalk from peppers and chop them into 1cm pieces.  Peel the ginger and finely grate, discarding the strings within the ginger root.
  2. Soften the onions, green pepper and grated ginger in the oil till the onions are translucent while stirring constantly.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes, stir and sauté for 5 minutes while stirring.
  4. Add the diced chicken breast and stir.
  5. Add minced garlic, paprika and salt. Add the cleaned, trimmed, and chopped fresh coriander and stir.
  6. In a bowl, dissolve the stock cubes in 100ml hot water and add to the pot
  7. Stir in the tomato paste, place the lid on, and stew for about 30 minutes


Serve with mashed potatoes, flatbread, or plain boiled rice (see recipe 4 below for simple boiled rice).

10 servings

4. Simple boiled basmati rice

A very simple recipe for cooking simple rice.  You only need the rice, boiled water and some salt.



Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


2 cups of basmati or jasmine rice

Plenty of boiling water

1/2 teaspoon of salt.


  1. Measure 2 cups of rice into a container and wash the rice thorough
  2. Boil water in a kettle.
  3. Add to a medium-sized pot and place on the hob.
  4. Add the salt
  5. Add the rice.
  6. Bring to boil, in a semi-lidded pot.
  7. Lower the flame and boil for about 7 minutes.  If the rice grains rise above the water, add more boiling water.
  8. The grains should be al dente by now.
  9. Turn off the heat, drain the rice and leave the lid on for an extra 5 minutes to use the steam to complete the cooking.
  10. Fluff the rice with a fork.  The rice is ready for serving.


Serve with a stew or curry and some greens on the side.

6 servings

5. Beef Moussaka

Moussaka dish is a traditional dish from Greece.  The origin of the dish is not very clear since there are several versions of the dish in Greece, Turkey, the Balkans, and the Levant region.  This particular dish is a version of the Greek Moussaka.   The dish has been modified to incorporate more vegetables in it.  Unlike the traditional Greek Moussaka recipe which tops up with Bechamel sauce, this recipe made use of simple crème Fraiche, thinned to allow spreading and flavoured with freshly ground black pepper.  Cinnamon and oregano the classic moussaka spices were substituted with Chinese 5 spice.  This dish has been scaled up to offer more portions – It is batch cooked to be eaten over several days.

Difficulty: Medium

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 1hour 30mins

Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes


1500g potatoes (weighed post peeling).

3 tablespoons of sunflower oil

4 large onions

500g Lean beef mince

2 large-sized cloves of garlic

2 teaspoons of Chinese spice

1 large aubergine

1 can of tomatoes

1 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Dry red wine – 100ml

2 heaped tablespoons tomato paste (half a tube)

½ pot crème Fraiche (150ml)

80ml milk

Peppercorns in a mill.


  1. Slice the peeled and washed potatoes into roughly 3-5mm thick slices.
  2. Cover the slices with water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, take off the heat and drain.
  3. Chop the aubergines into roughly 1cm cubes.
  4. Add the oil to a saucepan.
  5. Add the chopped onions. Soften the onions till translucent.
  6. Add the canned tomatoes, spices and salt and continue cooking, stirring constantly for 5 minutes on high heat to evaporate and thicken the sauce.
  7. Add the mincemeat and stir, lid and simmer for 5 minutes under medium heat.
  8. Add the aubergines and garlic, tomato paste and red wine. Stir, lid and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.  Turn the heat off.
  9. In an oven dish, start with layering mince mix followed by a layer of the potato slices. Continue alternating the mincemeat, and sliced potato layers and finish off with a potato layer.
  10. Thin the crème Fraiche with the milk and pour and spread evenly on top of the layer of potatoes. Grind fresh black pepper on the dish for flavour and garnish.
  11. Bake in a preheated oven at 200◦C for 1 hour if need be, leave slightly longer to brown the top layer.

Tip – You can turn on the grill if within 1 hour the top has not turned golden.


Serve with a leafy salad of your choice or cooked greens.

10 – 12 servings.

6. Jasmine and prawn Risotto

Risotto originated from Italy and is typically made using arborio, Carnaroli, and other Italian rice grains.  This dish deviates from the traditional risotto by experimenting with Thai fragrant rice.  The dish is delicious and the flavours of the rice, prawn stock, wine and garlic fuse well.

Difficulty: Medium

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 45 Minutes

Total Time: 1hr 30 minutes


Tiger prawns in shells – 600g

2 large white onions – 200g

2 cloves of garlic minced

Fragrant Jasmine Rice – 500g

3 Tablespoons of Extra virgin olive oil – 45g

1.5 teaspoon salt – 8g

1 teaspoon black pepper

1.5L water.

200ml dry white wine.


  1. Peel and devein the prawns. Set aside the shells & heads for stock.
  2. Add the shells and heads into a pot with 1.5 Litres of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 – 1 hour minutes in a covered pot.
  3. Add the oil to a heavy-bottomed pot and add the onions. Fry the onions till softened and turning translucent.
  4. Rinse the jasmine rice in a sieve till water runs clear.
  5. Add the rice to the onions, add salt, pepper, and minced garlic and stir till the rice is coated in oil and onions. Keep stirring the rice till some of the grains start to toast and turn brown.
  6. In the meantime, sieve the boiled stock which should have boiled down to about 1.2 Litres, and add to the rice. Stir and bring to a boil.
  7. In a separate pot, bring some water to a boil. Add the prawns and blanch for 2 minutes.
  8. Put heat to a minimum and boil the rice covered for about 10 minutes till the rice is al dente.
  9. Fish the prawns out of the boiling water.
  10. Add the wine to the pot and stir. Continue cooking the rice for a further 5 – 10 minutes stirring after every few minutes.  Stir in the prawns and turn off the heat.


Serve with greens or cooked vegetables.

10 – 12 servings.

7. Jasmine/basmati Pilau rice

Pilau or pulao rice is spiced rice.  Its origin is thought to be either India or Persia and it is currently enjoyed in many parts of the world as a main.  The recipe varies depending on the region; the Indian pilau is different from the East African Pilau for instance but the base ingredients are the same, aromatic rice and spices.

Difficulty: Medium

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time:  35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes


  1. 5 cups of Jasmine rice – 500g
  2. 50ml sunflower oil
  3. 5 cups of water (double the quantity of rice)
  4. Salt 1 tsp 6g
  5. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds – 3g
  6. 6 pcs whole cloves
  7. ½ teaspoon peppercorns
  8. 10 cardamom pods
  9. 5 pcs x 3 cm cinnamon bark
  10. 1 tablespoon Garam masala (12g)
  11. Onion – 1 (30g)


  1. Soften onions in oil.
  2. Add spices and fry stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
  3. Add washed Jasmine rice.
  4. Add garlic, salt, and stir.
  5. Add pre-boiled water, stir, lower heat and cook for 15 – 20 minutes or till the water has evaporated. Rice should have softened but still with a bite. Fluff it with a fork and take off fire. 


Serve with a legume stew and some cabbage or greens on the side.

10 Servings

8. Collard Greens

This particular recipe is a classic way of preparing collard greens in Kenya. Collard greens are known as “Sukuma Wiki” pronounced as “Sue-coo-ma wiki” in Kenya.

Collard greens are usually an accompaniment to polenta, other staples, or meat dishes.    This recipe can be used for spring greens or even mustard greens.

Difficulty: Medium

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


4 bunches of kale.

2 small onions

½ can of chopped tomatoes.

1 tablespoon sunflower oil.


  1. Wash the kale, remove stalks and shred thinly.
  2. Clean and chop the onions into small pieces.
  3. Add the oil and the onions into a saucepan, and sauté till translucent.
  4. Add the tomatoes and continue cooking till the tomatoes soften, and the tomato juice evaporates.
  5. Add the shredded collard greens, stir and coat collard greens in the sauce.
  6. Lid the saucepan and braise the greens for about 5 minutes till the kale has softened and debulked.


Can be served as a side with meat or any starch meal.

6 servings.

9. Cabbage with smoked turkey

A very delicious cabbage meal.   The smoked turkey flavour complements the cabbage really well.  You can use any type of smoked meat if the smoked turkey is not available.  This is one way of having variety in your vegetable consumption.

Difficulty: Medium

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


2 smoked turkey drumsticks (chopped by the butcher).

5 tablespoons of sunflower oil

2 large onions (chopped)

6 medium-sized tomatoes (chopped)

A medium-sized cabbage

3 teaspoons Chicken stock powder (Used Maggi)


  1. In a big enough pot add the onions and the oil and soften the onions till translucent.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir and continue cooking till the tomatoes have softened for ~5 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped turkey and stir. Add the cabbage and the stock powder and give the mix a stir, lid and cook on low heat.  Keep stirring every 5 minutes.  Cook for 30 minutes and then remove from the fire.


Can be served with a starchy meal such as plain boiled rice, mashed potato or oven-roasted potatoes.

14 servings

10. Oven cooked chicken

difficulty: Medium to advanced

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes


1 medium-sized whole free-range chicken.

1 tablespoon of cumin seeds

1 heaped tablespoon of garam masala

50ml olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon paprika

2 cloves of garlic peeled and minced.


  1. Chop up the chicken – see how to portion a whole chicken –  http://http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNJyxGhqe4A.
  2. In a bowl, rub the chicken pieces with the other ingredients.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 40 minutes
  4. Place pieces of meat on a tray lined with baking paper.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven on the middle rack for 1 hour 30 minutes at 180 degrees or till meat has cooked and has attained a nice lovely colour.


Serve with greens, vegetables, or starch-based meals

8 servings

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