The variety challenge

When we tell people about our epic batch cooking sessions, we get a range of reactions. But one comment that comes up a lot is “Doesn’t it get boring to eat the same thing over and over again?”. There are many reasons why the answer to that question is “No”, such as:

1. We do make more than one thing, with our most recent batch cook featuring 8 separate items. That means that we can pretty much eat something different every night of the week.

2. We do make other things in between batch cooks. The batch cook primarily allows us to skip doing time consuming main course cooking during the week.

And, finally, the topic of today’s post:

3. We deliberately select items for our batch cook to allow for customization and variety later on, by focusing on making components as well as full dishes.

If you’ve looked over the list of items we made at the beginning of August, you’ll notice that only about half of them are “finished” or stand-alone items (soups, casseroles, burgers, and the like). The other items are what I like to think of as “components”. We actually first started including these in the mix because they take up less space in the freezer, but it turns out that making meal components is a great way to add extra variety into your meals later on.

This past session, we made a spicy peanut sauce, a chile garlic ginger lime sauce, and a concentrated Korean-inspired soup base. Today I’m going to share a few examples of how each can be used in slightly different ways, making several similar but distinct dishes and thus increasing the potential of your batch cooking session.

Chile Garlic Ginger Lime sauce

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As a flavoring for chickpeas

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Or as a marinade for tilapia

Korean-inspired soup base

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An American version, with thinly sliced vegetables and chickpeas

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A more “authentic” version, with vegetables, egg, seaweed, and shirataki noodles

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Leaving out the egg in favor of a few pieces of chicken

Spicy peanut sauce

August 8th, 2013
Thickly coating a vegetable stir-fry

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Or diluted a little and more subtly applied to add a hint of creaminess to dark greens

Question: How do you keep your meals interesting and varied?

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