Pre-cooking meals for freezing... I need some inspiration please(14 Posts)
Hi All, I need to tap into your well of wisdome please
I'm going back to working full days and even though dc's would be happy about living on toasties, sausages with bread, scrambled eggs, quick pasta and the like... dh would be more likely to revolt...
I'm trying not to fall into the 'ready meal' trap (read: pies & chips, fish & chips) as I also want to instigate a healthier approach that hopefully is also easier on the budget
So far I've thought of the following:
It's my bolognese mix (1/3 meat, 1/3 carrot, 1/3 mixed beans) dressed up...
So you can see it's basically a variation on a theme and I need help!
I'm shortly due with my second baby so am looking to do the same. I'm thinking stews and casseroles along side the usual mince options (which I also do a lot of!)
We batch cook and also do chilli, curry (DH makes multiple kinds), casseroles (lamb, beef, chicken and chorizo) and soup. I'm less of a fan of pasta bakes, lasagnes and shepherds pies as the dishes take up a lot of space compared to the other things which I freeze in the cartons I save from takeaways.
You could make a big vat of stew-not chicken it tends to disentegrate on re-heating I my experience but that could just be me!! Re heat on the hob and you could throw some dumplings in to make it more substantial.
Since having ds I've started buying frozen rather than fresh or making from fresh so I've usually got onions, mushrooms and peppers in the freezer so I can make a curry or a bolognaise sauce, frozen roast potatoes are really useful to throw together with some chops, frozen veg and gravy.
Curry also freezes really well and you could keep a couple of nan bread in the freezer too and just bung them in the toaster while it reheats. Chilli is another one.
Will keep thinking.
I think most of my batch cooking meals have been covered (Bol, chilli, stew, curry etc) but for quick meal ideas:
Freeze bits of chicken leftover from a roast (cut up small) and use them in risotto straight from frozen
Fajitas are quick
Pork steaks/chops topped with apple sauce and cheese, with mash
Salmon (panfried) with stirfried noodles and Chinese veg
Meal planning might be a good idea (with a mix of quick healthy meals cooked fresh and defrosted batch cooked stuff).
thank you all! that's given me some ideas, now all I have to do is find some decent recipes . And definitely will give meal planning a go, that way I might get into a routine of batch cooking at the weekend and not having to worry during the week.
This probably makes me sound utterly anal but I print out a monthly meal plan and stick it on the inside of a cupboard door. It takes into account any social plans and means that each day I just need to see what to pull from the freezer. It means we don't end up with the same dish three nights running when we're due another cooking session.
DS is two months old - I need to batch my thinking these days
I freeze macaroni cheese (you can add extra veg etc to make it more nutritious - I like leek & mushroom with extra mustard), I make quiches and do lots of little mini ones too. Lots of stews and soups in zip lock bags, sauces, gravies (eg red onion and red wine gravy to make boring bangers and mash more of an event), cottage pies (big family sized ones and little individual kids portions in ramekins). I've even got a load of home made Yorkshire puddings in my freezer. Wish I had a bigger freezer. Could happily devote one Sunday a month to batch cooking but haven't got the space.
Waitingforme - i do the same thing but for breakfast and lunch too!!
How about tomato based sauces that can be used as a base for pasta sauce, bake, lasagne, bolognase, curries etc.
I've started to do roasts and then freeze the leftover meat. Another favourite is ratatouille. I often serve it with couscous and they freeze well together or separately. I also do massive batches of mashed potato, sometimes with another vegetable mashed in. Easy to reheat to accompany something quickly freshly cooked. I also batch cook basic tomato sauce and freeze in portions. Can then have numerous things added to it (eg a vegetable such as Aubergine, tuna, mince, lentils for soup, anchovies and olives, ricotta, etc etc).
Chowders freeze well - I do a nice curried fish one - and feel more like a meal than soup iyswim.
Was also going to suggest freezing cheese sauce - you can mix it with pasta for a quick supper... or you could bake some white fish (cod, smoked haddock etc) in the oven for 30 mins on 6, and serve it with the sauce and some frozen mash.
I like the idea of freezing cheese sauce- never thought of that. I have a tiny freezer but always have some portions of Lentil Lasagne for lentil type emergencies...
If you've got Nigella's Kitchen book, you can make up the African chicken recipe in bulk - and you can even just put the fresh chicken pieces in the marinade and then into the freezer like that in portions before defrosting it the day you want to eat it (get it out int he morning) then just bung it in the oven when you get home.
Jamie Oliver's Sweet Potato and Chorizo Soup (from Ministry of Food) freezes well.
2 sticks of celery
2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
800g sweet potatoes
200g chorizo sausage
a small bunch of fresh parsley
1 heaped teaspoon curry powder
2 chicken or vegetable stock cubes, preferably organic
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh red chili (make sure you taste soup before sprinkling chilli, as soup can be hot and spicy as it is)
To make your soup:
Peel and roughly slice the carrots. Slice the celery. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel and slice the garlic. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes. Slice the chorizo. Finely chop the parsley leaves and stalks.
Put a large pan on a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add all your chopped and sliced ingredients with curry powder and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for around 10 minutes with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened but are still holding their shape, and the onion is lightly golden.
Put the stock cubes into a jug or pan and pour in 1.8 litres of boiling water from the kettle. Stir until the stock cubes are dissolved, then add to the vegetables. Give the soup a good stir and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the sweet potato is cooked through.
To serve your soup:
Season with salt and pepper. Using a hand blender, pulse the soup until smooth and scatter over a little finely chopped chili. Divide between your serving bowls and tuck in.
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