Making large quantities of several meals on your Cooking Day just makes good sense. You’re maximizing the time spent in the kitchen, plus you can stock the freezer for future use. (Economies of Scale! Thanks, Econ. 101!)
Standard recipes are typically crafted to make 4 servings. To get the most bang for your Cooking Day buck, double or even triple a recipe to crank out the amount of food you need for the whole week.
But sometimes recipes act a bit … shall we say … funny when they’re doubled or tripled. It’s not always as easy as dumping more ingredients in the pot. Here are some hints to make doubling go smoother:
- Write the doubled ingredients out before starting to cook. If you’re going by the recipe on your Kindle, it’s easy to forget that ¼ teaspoon baking powder is now a ½. I’ve forgotten so many times. Then you end up with Franken-cakes, and it’s not pretty.
- Spicy stuff, fresh herbs and salt aren’t always apples to apples in a doubled recipe. Try adding 1.5 the amount of these items first. Bizarrely, if one chile pepper is good, two can be too much. Go slow, you can always add more of these items to taste. But you can’t take them out once added.
- Stovetop – Your simmer or boil times will likely be somewhat longer than the original recipe calls for. The time it takes to cook 1 lbs. of sweet potatoes is not the time it will take for 2 lbs. But it’s not double the amount of time either. Adjust your expectations and check the pot regularly.
- Oven – If you’ve doubled a baked recipe and added a second pan, you need to rotate the pans halfway through cooking. Either top to bottom or left to right, however they are situated in the oven. Try not to overcrowd an oven either – it’ll bake unevenly.
- Blender – If you’re doubling a blended recipe, like soup, it’s likely not going to fit in one batch. You won’t want to pour the blended liquid back into the pot with the unblended portion. Have a large bowl or second pot ready to transfer the batches of blended liquid into.
- Food Processor – If you’re doubling something that gets food processed, your problem is similar to the blender. There’s a finite amount of space in a food processor. If you over-fill it, bad things happen. It can leak or damage the motor. Or your ingredients won’t get properly incorporated (especially bad for doughs, I speak from experience). Best to make one batch of a recipe in the food processor, then a completely new second batch.
- Freezer – On Cooking Day, you may have recipes you would like to flash freeze (freezing individual pieces of food separately on a tray to prevent sticking). When you’ve doubled your quantity, you’ll need to clear extra space. If your freezer’s anything like mine, this takes forethought.
Don’t let any of this intimidate you though. Often the only way to see if something doubles or triples well is just to get in there and do it. Be brave, taste often – it’ll probably be fine.