It all started when I had a breakfast problem.
It went something like this. Every morning, I’d eat Vector, the most delicious cereal in the land. Kellogg’s has marketed it as fancy nutritional meal replacement, and I took the bait hook, line, and sinker. Sure, it was mostly carbs, but at least it had some protein to go with the other 17 useless nutrients it lists on the side of the box.
Niacin? NICE TRY, BIG PHARMA. You just made that up.
For the most part, Vector was great. It was fast, delicious, and since I bought it in bulk at Costco, pretty cheap too. Including milk, a bowl would cost well under a dollar.
The only problem was it wouldn’t fill me up the whole morning. I get up usually around 6:30, with the intent to eat breakfast at around 6:45 and be in the shower by 7. This allows me to get to work right around 7:30, which I think is the sweet spot. By 10, I was hungry enough to crack out my lunch early.
That wasn’t really doing it for me, so I decided to try something new. Whenever I’m out of milk, my back-up breakfast of choice has always been a breakfast sandwich. Oh man, I love those things. Every now and again my wife would make them at home and it would be fantastic.
So I decided to batch cook a bunch of my own breakfast sandwiches and freeze them. It didn’t go as well as planned.
Preparing for this was relatively easy. First stop, Costco, where I bought the following items:
- Five dozen eggs
- Four packs of bacon
- Two packs of english muffins, 48 in total
The total cost of the eggs was $13.79 and the bacon was $17.99. The english muffins set me back $10.98.
But remember, I didn’t use all of my ingredients. I only used half of the bacon and 48 of the eggs. Thus, my cost was as follows:
- Eggs (80% of $13.79) = $11.03
- Bacon (50% of $17.99) = $9.00
- English muffins = $10.98
- Total = $31.06
- Per sandwich cost = 64.7 cents
That’s probably a little cheaper on a per unit cost basis than Vector, which is probably closer to 70 or 80 cents per breakfast. Keep in mind I’m not including the cost of the aluminum foil to wrap the sandwiches because I already had it on hand, but I’d estimate that cost only being a nickel or so per sandwich. Not much.
Now let’s talk about the cooking process. I thought about it beforehand and came up with that I thought was a pretty efficient method. I’d cook the eggs in the oven inside of cupcake (muffin?) tins. I’d then spread out the bacon on cookie sheets. While they were cooking, I’d start cutting the english muffins apart.
It wasn’t a bad strategy, but it did produce a few unintended outcomes. It was hard to scramble the eggs once they ended up inside the muffin tins. The eggs didn’t stick to the pan at all, but the bacon did. And I only had 24 muffin tins, which slowed up the process.
Here are some pictures, because if Reddit has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t batch cook without a bunch of pictures:
Note the time I started on the first picture, which was 6:40 pm. I stacked a pyramid of breakfast sandwiches in front of the clock so you can’t see when I finished, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. It took two hours to prepare and wrap 48 breakfast sandwiches.
The whole point of this batch cooking exercise was to have a hot, delicious breakfast with only a minimal amount of work.
It did not deliver. Hoo boy. Not even close.
The first day I decided to heat up my sandwich in the microwave. It took 1:30 per side to heat everything up to a satisfactory internal temperature. Except the bun was soggier than the average Vancouver afternoon. And the thing was so damn hot I had to let it rest for a couple minutes before eating it.
After a little experimentation, I’ve figured out how to reheat each sandwich so they’re decent. First I microwave the whole thing for a minute thirty. Then I separate the egg and microwave it alone for another minute thirty. I put the rest of the sandwich in the toaster oven for a toasting cycle that takes longer than three minutes.
Total time prep: five minutes. Ugh. I can practically make a sandwich from scratch in five minutes.
I still have like forty of these things left. Anyone want to come over for breakfast?
I shouldn’t bash batch cooking that much. This was my first attempt at it, and the breakfast sandwiches are pretty good once I figured out how to prepare them right. It also didn’t really help my problem of getting hungry at 10, but I think that’s just a byproduct of when I’m eating breakfast.
I batch cook all the time, usually on Sunday nights I’ll prepare enough food so I have leftovers for lunch. I’ll continue doing that. But when it comes to breakfast, I’m switching back to cereal as soon as I can convince my wife frozen breakfast sandwiches are the bomb diggity.
We also haven’t touched on what I think is the most important variable — my time. By the time I’m done, this batch cooking experiment will cost me between three and four hours of my time. Even at just $10 per hour, the conclusion is obvious. Sorry kids, but batch cooking just isn’t doing it for me. Not unless I can just make more of whatever food I was going to make in the first place.