Cook Once, Eat Thrice

Cook Once, Eat Thrice on CTV's The Social

Cooking in bulk offers many advantages. I was back on CTV’s The Social this week to show how batch cooking helps with time, cost and energy savings, all at the same time.

YouTube video

Batch-cooking meals and then refrigerating or freezing for later can save a lot of time and energy. In this TV segment, I offer some tips to avoid the boredom of eating the same thing over and over.

The solution is simple! Cook one ingredient in bulk and turn them into three different dishes. Cook once, eat thrice!

Steaming Rice?

Triple batch it

Cooking rice in bulk is really easy. If you don’t have a rice cooker or steamer, you can use a pot on a stove with water. In general, the ratio is 1:2.5 rice to liquid. After your rice has cooled, you can freeze it in appropriate portions to use later. To reheat, add a couple of tbsp of water with a drizzle of ghee/ olive oil, then microwave for 2-4 minutes (depending on quantity).

Rice, veggies, and lentil fritters

Here are 3 quick and easy dishes you can make with leftover or batch-cooked rice:

  1. Stuffed Peppers — stuffed peppers with a crispy, crackly topping. Add a couple of tbsp of water with a drizzle of ghee/ olive oil. Grate in paneer or halloumi and chopped leftover veggies. Cut the tops off the peppers, or slice them in half, stuff with the rice mixture, and roast.
  2. Fried Rice — Clean-Your-Fridge fried rice, with leftover veggies. Cook on medium heat, add chopped onions, garlic, crack an egg in the centre and cook. Add in thawed rice and any other leftover veggies with a drizzle of soya sauce.
  3. Fritters — pan-fried rice and veggie fritters. Mash thawed rice with leftover veggies like potatoes, cooked squash or peas. Shape into fritters and pan-fry till golden.

Bunches of Beets are beautiful!

unconventional ways to enjoy beets

Clean, peel, then chop up your beets into smaller pieces (keep the skin on if they’re baby beets). Toss with olive oil and roast it in the oven for 30-40 minutes. When cooled, portion out your beets and freeze them. In the warmer months we are blessed with beautiful beet tops, which are great for a salad or stir fry — don’t throw them out!

Beet tops are great in salads!

Here are 3 dishes you can make with beets:

  1. Beet Raita — a delightful shade of pink, this is an Indian side dish made with yoghurt and cumin powder. Recipe here.
  2. Beets with their tops for salad — chopped beet and pecan salad, mix with other greens of your choice.
  3. Beet Brownies — use finely chopped beets to replace with ½ butter in your favourite brownie recipe for pink-tinted Blushing Brownies.

Bought that Big Bag of Carrots?

It’s not just for rabbits

The good thing about buying carrots in bulk is that you can peel or scrub, dice and saute all at once. Once that’s out of the way, cool and freeze in portions.

Carrots, peas, ginger, and onions

Here are some ideas for using your thawed carrots later.

  1. Decadent Carrot Halwa — saffron and cardamom carrot halwa pudding is slow-cooked in milk and spices for 45 minutes, gently mash at the end for a smoother texture. Cook this dish with me on the Sunday Cooking Club.
  2. India-style carrot and ginger — toss your frozen carrots with frozen peas, ginger, and chopped onions for 20 minutes to make a quick India-inspired weeknight meal.
  3. Carrot Risotto — steam your carrots in the microwave. Cook risotto per directions and add steamed carrots in the end for a bright orange, pantry/freezer-forward meal.

What have you made with rice, beets, and carrots?

Share your tips and dishes in the comments below.

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About Puneeta

Author, Educator, Speaker

Puneeta is a writer, food advocate and guide for those who seek earth-friendly, delicious solutions that work for real life.

Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma, Food Writer, Climate Advocate, New cookbook - Good Food, Healthy Planet - out April 2024
Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma
Photo by Diana Muresan
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