M & S (or equivalent) or from scratch....

(125 Posts)
SamanthaHD Sat 12-Oct-13 11:24:35

'What is wrong with spending a little extra time, cooking from scratch?' these were my DH's exact words. Aside from the fact that is very rarely 'a little extra time' I hate cooking, and were DH not around I would feed myself and the kids on bulked out (with veg, pasta, potatoes etc) ready meals, preferably nutritionally sound ones.

DH thinks this is very wrong.

Who, in your estimable opinion, is right?

SPBisResisting Sun 13-Oct-13 12:00:11

Ds would reject them if there was skin in fhe mash smile
And I do use a peeler but it still takes ages. Dishwasher cant cope with mashed potato coated dishes - needs washj g first

CecilyP Sun 13-Oct-13 12:19:04

I find I get on better with a sharp knife than with a potato peeler. And ready washed potatoes are a real boon. If you just put water in your dish straight away, the dishwasher should cope.

I have noticed that many of the people on here recommending cooking from scratch, seem to to be recommending turning their kitchen into a factory at weekends, cooking industrial sized quantities of food and storing them in a huge freezer, so they are effectively producing their own ready meals!

The potatoes we buy need at least scrubbing. Peeling is faster than scrubbing.

And if you're buying peeled/scrubbed potatoes then you're already taking a shortcut so can't exactly be sniffy about mash someone else has made grin wink

My pans can't go in the dishwasher because they have copper bottoms. If I am feeling lazy and have none frozen, I microwave baking potatoes and scoop out the middles.

Housesellerihope Sun 13-Oct-13 12:43:29

The quality of potato peelers varies a lot, but this is a good one www.amazon.co.uk/OXO-Good-Grips-Swivel-Peeler/dp/B00004OCIP/ref=pd_sim_kh_4

DHs and DSs who reject mash with peel will eat it if they're hungry enough grin but again I say buy quality ready cooked stuff if you want and can afford! Not the stuff that's frozen with massive amounts of sodium and unpronounceable ingredients, though.

QueenStromba Sun 13-Oct-13 14:42:17

OXO good grips are great - I bought this one after using PILs' one. I use mashed cauliflower for stuff like fish pie - just defrost frozen cauliflower in the microwave and mash it with a stick blender. When it's covered in melted cheese you don't notice the difference between that and potato.

MadeOfStarDust Sun 13-Oct-13 16:23:35

Don't need to peel potatoes , or get peel in the mash - chop potatoes, boil and put through a ricer - you don't get the skin in the mash.... it is one of THE points about a potato ricer! no peeling required....

Willshome Sun 13-Oct-13 18:02:46

On the whole DH has logic on his side. Disregarding cost, look at the ingredients list on a ready meal – how many things apart the things you would recognise if you saw them? Those are things for the economic benefit of the supplier, not the nutritional benefit of your family.

It needn't be a chore. Waitrose's frozen broccoli, cauliflower and extra fine beans are excellent (brussels not so much). If DH wants meals from scratch, then get him to peel and chop carrots for the week at the weekend and bag them up in the fridge. Then it's just potatoes on the day and a slab of meat in a pan or a dish in the oven (or a casserole in a slow cooker). Personally, I don't think you can go far wrong with a stir-fry. So long as DH helps with the washing up too, no problem.

marriedinwhiteisback Sun 13-Oct-13 18:30:59

I looked at a ready meal in Sainsburys last week. Small fat sausages, red onion, potato slices and a red wine gravy. I looked delicious and I thought "Oh that would be lovely" and then realised that for four of us we would need two. A tenner. Then worked out I could make twice as much for literally no bother at all probably with better quality sausages for around £6-£7. Literally slice one red onion, slice two spuds (no need to peel), cut large sausages in half (or buy a packet of those lovely casserole ones they do in Waitrose) and buy a pot of red wine gravy. Drizzle of olive oil, and sprig of rosemary from the garden.

Easy peasy and more food of better quality with enough for lunch for two the following day grin.

TrueStory Sun 13-Oct-13 18:33:49

Haha cecily! I knew something a bit odd about all this "batch cooking"! i do it sometimes but it never feels quite right ....

KeatsiePie Sun 13-Oct-13 18:47:23

OccamsRaiser that is great to know about onions etc. in the slow cooker -- think I will look a little harder for some recipes.

My stance is I don't peel anything. Apples, carrots, potatoes, nothing. But some kids are not okay with peels so that's not always an option.

Ha cecily that's exactly what batch cooking is like for me. I want to get up/come home and pull a meal straight out of the fridge/freezer and put it on a plate just as if it were a ready meal. I love it.

Housesellerihope Sun 13-Oct-13 19:01:38

Me too with batch cooking at weekends reproducing the ease of ready meals during the week. At the moment in the freezer we have lentil loaf, mac n cheese, quorn lasagna, pizza dough, pizza sauce, hummus, veggie burritos, and mash plus I'm sure some other bits too. All cooked completely from scratch, very cheap, and to our taste. I cook while DH helps by chopping/stirring/doing dishes. For us it's a fun way to spend time together and it keeps us off the streets. Then during the week we heat so ething up, steam some veggies to go alongside, and have fruit for dessert. However everyone is different and you could probably buy stuff that's just as healthy or close to it although it would cost you at least three times as much.

KeatsiePie Sun 13-Oct-13 19:16:38

Yep Houseseller we do some of the cooking together too, or DH cooks while I clean, etc., so it's a nice time. And the savings are a big deal to us too.

Threalamandaclarke Mon 14-Oct-13 09:19:22

Occamsraiser that's great to hear your slow cooker tips. Thanks.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 14-Oct-13 09:59:16

ready made meals are not got for you once or twice a week ok but every day you would be eating far too much salt, fat and probably sugar

there are lots of very easy meals to make a simple bolognese sauce can be used for the basis of many dishes - tell this to your dh and maybe he can cook it

I do cook from scratch and I also use some pre-prepared things (Pizza) I bung oven chips and veggie sausages in the oven if time is short. There is a balance to be had. As we are all vegetarian living on ready meals would be very boring and cheesy.

DH cannot cook so I take little notice of his input - he does whine about root veg - but you try cooking vegetarian meals in the winter without them! Anyway.

When we eat at PIL we always have a selection of M&S pre prepared dishes - all fine but a bit dry and salty and they never make gravy! Even when we have roast potatoes and what not... nowt so queer as folk. And and they have a massive range cooker with like 6 burners and a massive cavernous oven - which is as pristine as the day it arrived a couple of years ago [stifles sob of jealousy]. So people clearly do survive on ready meals - but I wouldn't be happy doing that as I enjoy food (and gravy) and cooking my hideously fussy and capricious children have sucked some of the joy out of cooking on a daily basis but I soldier on.

Op you are welcome to live on ready meals but I think it would ultimately be unsatisfactory and not as nutrious as the packaging may claim. Ultimately it is up to you though, it is possible to batch cook and use cheats to speed up the cooking from scratch process but you have to want to do it.

The lack of punctuation in my post is shameful and has made some of my sentences meaningless. I tend to write first then edit. I just forgot to edit. I don't cook my fussy children! I am tempted to occasionally.

Fakebook Mon 14-Oct-13 10:35:23

I find that cooking everyday makes you faster as you develop your own short cuts.

For example, I hate using a chopping board. It takes up space and wiping it over and over again wastes my time. So when I prep, I have one big bowl that I throw peelings in and then cut the vegetables straight into the pots. I've become faster at cutting onions without a chopping board and can even do it eyes closed when my eyes sting.

I also hate my hands getting smelly with herbs like coriander, so I bulk buy from the market and wash and cut the leaves and freeze them in freezer bags and take out as much as I need each time.

I also hate peeling garlic so I mash it up in my pestle and mortar and freeze tiny portions in foil that I make into balls.

Chunderella Mon 14-Oct-13 12:40:35

There's some really good tips in here OP. Duly inspired, I reckon I could draw you up a 2 week menu without too much repetition. No ready meals, but a couple of convenience ingredients. All cooked veg to be frozen, all potatoes to be either oven chips, ready made mash or boiled unpeeled. Nothing during the week involving any more than a few minutes preparation. I'm going to assume DH is around at weekend and can do some cooking then, weekdays either of you. Not factoring in cost as that doesn't seem to be an issue here.

Week 1
Sun- roast beef dinner, with all trimmings. DH to do.
Mon- leftovers with boiled spuds/oven chips/ready made mash and frozen veg
Tues- cheesy jackets and beans
Wed- fresh pasta, salad
Thurs- steak, oven chips, either salad or any frozen veg
Fri- smoked mackerel salad
Sat- DH to do a bolognese/curry/stew, double helpings, and freeze one

Week 2
Sun- roast chicken dinner with all trimmings, DH to do
Mon- leftovers with veg and spuds as with last Mon
Tues- risotto with stock from chicken. Sounds intimidating but isn't. Or tuna jackets if you feel this is too much.
Wed- defrost whatever DH cooked at weekend
Thurs- fish fingers, frozen veg, spuds
Fri- ham or cheese salad
Sat- whack a load of chicken portions in to roast with a bit of olive oil on them. Easy spuds or rice. Salad or frozen veg.

KeatsiePie Mon 14-Oct-13 15:02:52

Hmm, are there recipe threads around here? I wouldn't mind getting some new ideas.

Samantha sorry if some of this has been too much of a thread hijack. I haven't commented on the nutritional value of ready meals b/c I don't know anything about it. I imagine that organic frozen meals must be all right, or sure as hell ought to be for what they cost, but don't actually know. But I still think if you hate cooking and he doesn't then there should be a way for him to do a lot of it, depending on how you can rearrange other workloads.

E.g., he could cook a double meal and freeze one, twice a week. And you could cook a double meal and freeze one, once a week. That's five dinners. And then two organic ready dinners a week, or one ready and one dinner out, and you're covered. And you're only cooking once a week, not so bad smile

Using organic ingredients doesn't magically make a meal nutritious if it's got lots of water, salt and sugar padding it out confused

KeatsiePie Mon 14-Oct-13 18:38:22

Well no, just better than non-organic. I would check the labels, some are not bad, especially if it's only a couple of times a week.

MadeOfStarDust Mon 14-Oct-13 19:21:15

why is organic "better" ??

PumpkinGuts Mon 14-Oct-13 19:25:37

Organic isn't better, non organic is just worse.

It's like ff/bf. Formula does the job but it's not what your body was designed to eat.

You were not designed to ingest pesticides. or gmos

MadeOfStarDust Mon 14-Oct-13 19:53:33

but organic farming cannot feed the whole developing world ....
So middle class Westerners can be pesticide free, everyone else has to eat them....

And GM technology is used in ALL commercial vegetarian cheeses (and most other cheeses) nowadays - made using chymosin isolated from genetically modified microorganisms, as this is cheaper than using rennet and is vegetarian-friendly.

(chymosin is the active ingredient in rennet, and because it is chemically identical it does not have to be labelled as being made using GM)

PumpkinGuts Mon 14-Oct-13 20:01:50

You asked a question.. I answered it. It is better for you. Or were you merely being sarky?

As for cheese, it isn't a necessary component to anyone's diet..and were meat to be eliminated from the diet I suppose we would have a lot less to worry about regarding crops. (70% of the United Stated grain and cereals is fed to farmed animals for meat. )

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now