During the colder months, sometimes just the thought of being in the kitchen all evening makes me exhausted. Does anyone else wish we moms could just hibernate through the winter? Unfortunately, that’s not possible. Even though hibernating through the winter isn’t likely for any of us, we can still do little things to ease our busyness and make life a bit easier, especially when making dinner.
In keeping the promise to myself to do fewer dishes this year (sigh), I am all about batch recipes! The kind that you spend a little extra time once, and they give back over and over. Whether it’s an instant pot recipe or something from the oven, I like to make the mess once and then reap the benefits of having dinner on the table without making a disaster in my kitchen.
3 Batch Recipes for Winter Hibernation
Some of these batch recipes are already for 6-8 people, so depending on the size of your family, go ahead and double them so that you know you’ve got extra delicious reinforcements in your freezer. If you’ve got a big family full of hungry eaters like mine, good luck getting these to the freezer at all!
Tomato Veggie Soup
Perfect for any time of year because I use canned tomatoes. Preferably San Marzanos, but if you can’t find that, don’t worry. The addition of carrots and the other veggies will add nutrients and natural sweetness that will bring your spirit right back to summer tomatoes! Serve with a grilled cheese sandwich or a piece of breaded chicken and a side salad for a perfect meal.
Makes 4-6 servings
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 red beet, roasted and diced
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil + 2 tbsp, separated
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ small onion, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
- 1 (28-ounce) can peeled whole tomatoes packed in juice
- 1 cup (235ml) water or stock
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Minced chives, basil, or parsley as garnish
- In a medium pan, drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil and saute the onions, whole garlic clove, carrots, bell pepper, and beets until soft. Do this for about 4-5 minutes.
- In the meantime, combine the olive oil, oregano, breadcrumbs, tomatoes and their juices, and water or stock in the jar of a high-powered blender.
- Turn the blender on to low speed and slowly increase the speed to maximum. Blend for about 2 minutes, so the soup is mostly smooth and starting to get hot.
- Add the sauteed vegetables into the blender’s jar and continue to blend on high until steaming hot and completely smooth. This will take about two more minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately garnished with herbs, drizzled with olive oil, or chill and serve cold. (Once chilled, you can adjust the texture by whisking in a tablespoon of water at a time until desired consistency is reached.)
- Double the recipe and save half in a ziplock freezer bag for a quick dinner!
Turkey Sweet Potato Chili
Get ready to pack in the veggies on this batch recipe! My son and niece are obsessed with this meal! This chili is full of immune-boosting spices and perfect for cold weather months. Whenever we make this, my dad says, without fail, “That was a tummy rubber!” Serve with a side of spaghetti squash, brown rice, or chips and guacamole.
Serves 6-8 people
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- (1) 15oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- (1) 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- (1) 15oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
- (1) 6oz can tomato paste
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and diced
- 1 orange bell pepper deseeded and diced
- 2 cups baby spinach, packed and chopped
- 1 jalapeño deseeded and minced
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Optional garnish: greek yogurt & cilantro
- Turn your instant pot to sauté and add the onions.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes until tender, and then add the garlic.
- Continue stirring for another 2 minutes, and then add the turkey meat. Using a wooden spoon, stir and combine the meat with onions until it begins to brown.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients, except spinach, and stir to combine.
- Cook under pressure for 18 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, allow pressure to release for 10 minutes and then quick vent.
- Open, stir in chopped spinach, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with your favorite grain, and garnish with greek yogurt, cilantro, and hot sauce.
- Double the recipe and save half in a quart-sized Ziploc freezer bags for a quick dinner!
Chicken Meatballs with Lemon Caper Sauce
I love this batch recipe, and it freezes especially well. The sauce really soaks into the meatballs giving them an incredible flavor and moistness even when reheated. Serve with an egg noodle or your favorite grain like millet or quinoa!
Serves 6-8 people
For the Meatballs:
- 2 lbs ground chicken
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 2 lemons, zested
- 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup chopped parsley (plus more)
- 1 teaspoon salt + ½ teaspoon pepper
Lemon Caper Sauce:
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour (scant)
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup capers (plus 1 tbsp caper juice brine)
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
For the Meatballs:
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set it aside.
- Using a fork in a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the ground chicken.
- When the ingredients are combined, add the ground chicken and mix until combined.
- Roll into 35-40 meatballs and place them on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.
- If freezing, chill to room temp before combining with sauce and packing into containers for the freezer.
For the Sauce:
- Add 4 tablespoons of butter to a skillet along with the shallots and garlic and cook for about 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add the flour and whisk. Once the flour cooks for 30 seconds, slowly drizzle in the chicken broth with one hand while you continue to whisk with the other hand.
- Add the caper juice, capers, lemon juice, and allow the sauce to gain a simmer.
- If serving right away, add the cooked meatballs to the sauce, reduce the heat to medium and let thicken, about 5 minutes.
- Lower the heat to low, add the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and allow them to melt into the sauce as you stir slowly. The butter will help thicken the sauce further.
- Serve with additional chopped parsley on top if desired.
- If freezing, chill sauce to room temp before combining with meatballs and packing into containers for the freezer.
Cheers to staying warm and full bellies during these winter months. 🙂 Bon appétit!