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Help me batch cook and freeze please! Ideas thread.

(34 Posts)
fuzzpig Sun 26-Jul-15 13:53:25

It's for the sake of my health as well as my wallet!

I am RIDICULOUSLY disorganised and I am totally sick and ashamed of wasting food because I don't get round to using it, and of never having anything to cook easily when I'm ill, and therefore relying too much on junk food... or not finding the time or energy to make sandwiches before we rush off to wherever, which results in the same. Endless Happy Meals anyone?

So today we will be ordering a massive Tesco delivery so we can batch cook and stock the freezer. Planning to do this on the first shop after payday, spend the first week cooking in bulk and then just top up on fresh stuff for the rest of the month.

So I'm looking for ideas, please - maybe this could be a helpful thread to others planning the same too.

Annoyingly our oven doesn't work so can only grill/use the hob at the moment, so can't do lasagne/shepherds pie all in one (but freezing the separate elements works well as I can reheat in microwave, then assemble and grill). I also really need to learn to love my slow cooker. I've used it once and not successfully so it's languished in the cupboard! But it's massive (6.5l) so I could cook much bigger batches of stuff in there which would presumably make it more worthwhile.

Here's what I've batch cooked successfully in the past:

Tomato sauce - I make a lovely one with heaps of veg, then blend it.
Cheese sauce - separates and looks really gross during reheating, but it does come back together and works brilliantly.
Bolognese - I add lentils and grated veg to bulk it out.
Marinated chicken - for stir fries
Shepherds pie base
Leek and potato soup
Lentil stew
Burgers
Mash
Pesto

Here's what else I'm thinking of freezing:
Sandwiches
Potato wedges (especially sweet potato)
Muffin pizza
Lamb burgers stuffed with feta
Pancake batter (I do peanut butter/banana ones)
Chicken curry (I'm no good at making my own but really want to learn)
Chili con carne (as above)
Casseroles/stews

I'm hoping the above would work! If anyone has any advice or ideas, please share! smile

Sparklepup Sun 26-Jul-15 14:07:16

Schwartz do some slow cooker spice mixes - I made the chicken curry yesterday - added chicken, peppers, onion, potato and a tin of chopped tomatoes - it was delicious! Made enough for 4 people

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 26-Jul-15 14:13:41

If you save empty squeezable sauce bottles you can freeze the pancake batter in them and just shake and pour then.

You can cook pies in sc, then brown the pastry under the grill.

Can you freeze dauphaunoise potatoes? It would just need microwaving and grilling after. I cant spell dauphanoise.

How about Thai currys? you can freeze cooked rice but it's faffy and asda sell frozen rice.

There's always the old favourite of pork shoulder in coke. Pork stands up to being cooked twice better than beef or chicken ime.

Have you looked on sc wonders on facebook? the mod is a mumsnetter.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 26-Jul-15 15:16:50

Homemade pizza dough with toppings. Quick blast under a hot grill.

avocadotoast Sun 26-Jul-15 16:20:32

Sounds good to me.

Do you like lentils? I made this the other day and I think it'd freeze ok: veggieblackboard.com/2013/11/02/easy-vegan-winter-warmer-lentil-stew/ it's really easy to change up and add/remove ingredients.

Jack Monroe's bean burgers freeze really well: agirlcalledjack.com/2015/01/31/carrot-cumin-kidney-bean-burger-9p/

Red lentil dahl is good too.

fuzzpig Sun 26-Jul-15 19:56:10

Thanks for the ideas!

Would pizza cook ok under the grill then, without burning and being undercooked on the bottom do you think? I do muffin pizzas when it's just me and DS, but so far have only frozen the halved muffins and then topped it once defrosted, but it'd really help to assemble loads and freeze.

Our shopping list is looking rather lengthy but is full of lovely fresh ingredients. I'm not too well this week, but I'm hoping to use what energy I do have to prepare for the next few weeks.

I bloody love lentils, but hardly know any recipes for them! I do a lovely lentil stew with whatever veg is around, but anything else would be good too. grin

avocadotoast Sun 26-Jul-15 20:05:08

This is the dahl recipe I use, and just throw in a load of spinach. I don't always add the onions: www.welovethisbook.com/features/hugh-fearnley-whittingstalls-dahl

It's substantial enough that often I don't even bother making any rice or anything to have with it.

You can also do a more frugal shepherds pie by using green lentils instead of mince.

I'm also meaning to make this with lentils rather than mince: www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/mince_and_dumplings_47431 I reckon that'd freeze ok too smile

eastmidswarwicknightnanny Sun 26-Jul-15 20:05:32

Things I make double of so we have a batch for freezer are

Bbq sausage casserole
Bolognese sauce
Meatballs
Cottage pie
Cowboy pie
Curry
Paella
Beef stew

Also if we cook a big chicken on a Sunday we have for Sun dinner then Mon with mash and veggies and then left over bits,all taken off the bone and either can be mixed with bbq sauce and had in baguettes with roasted peppers n onions or I make 2 chicken and bacon pies popping one in freezer for another time.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 26-Jul-15 20:09:37

Pizza would cook if you make it with yeast dough, not scone base, and do it thin with fine cut toppings.

You'd just need to put it on a prewarmed baking tray under the grill. Obviously you'd defrost it.

Whats wrong with the oven?

fuzzpig Mon 27-Jul-15 09:29:58

It's the oven heating element that's gone. The grill and hobs are fine so we are just putting up with it for now (while we get the house tidy enough to have landlords round - it's got a bit out of control since my health deteriorated) blush blush

Could I make and freeze quesadillas I wonder? Bit of tuna mixed with cream cheese, mozzarella and some veg... I think I read avocado freezes surprisingly well if you don't expect to keep it in large slices.

DoreenLethal Mon 27-Jul-15 09:34:52

You can make pizza dough as usual, and cook it on the hob on a large frying pan, like flatbreads - freeze and when you need a pizza, take them out, add the toppings and grill.

meglet Mon 27-Jul-15 09:46:43

fluffy yes, dauphanoise potatoes are ok to freeze.

TeaPleaseLouise Mon 27-Jul-15 09:52:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tartanthrifty Mon 27-Jul-15 10:02:16

Doreen that pizza idea is genius. Fuzz is the peanut butter in the cooked pancakes or mixed into the batter?

We use a packet of curry powder (Schwarz korma is good) mixed into yoghurt and oil, dollop it into freezer bags with sliced chicken breasts, give it all a wee squish (highly technical expert term) and then freeze in the bags. Defrost, fry the chicken in a pot with frozen chopped onions, top up with water and a chicken stock cube, add a can of coconut milk, a tin of chickpeas and some frozen spinach and let it bubble gently for ten minutes. Quarter of an hour to prepare several bags, then you can have a curry faster than you can order take-away.

fuzzpig Mon 27-Jul-15 11:27:33

The peanut butter is mixed into the batter. I need to practise making it before I freeze but I think what I did last time was egg, mashed banana, 100% peanut butter, a little flour and some baking powder all mixed together. I do sometimes add oats to pancake batter as well.

fuzzpig Mon 27-Jul-15 11:27:56

And thanks everyone for all the lovely ideas! I've got my cooking underway and going to carry on after a rest smile

Tartanthrifty Tue 28-Jul-15 08:13:17

Those pancakes sound fantastic - off to try that today!

BertrandRussell Tue 28-Jul-15 08:32:09

"If you save empty squeezable sauce bottles you can freeze the pancake batter in them and just shake and pour then."

This has just completely blown my mind!!!!!!

fuzzpig Tue 28-Jul-15 09:12:51

Annoyingly Tartan I can't actually remember the ratios of ingredients or anything blush I just experiment really. Anyway, I can't do it for a couple of days - I deliberately ordered some 'Eat Me' bananas that are supposed to be ready straight away... they are just as green as the others hmm

Anyway yesterday I did leek and potato soup in the SC (learning that I put a bit too much potato compared to leek, and didn't cut the potatoes small enough - I've made a note of it), chili con carne in the SC, tomato veg sauce, minty lamb burgers stuffed with feta, lamb/mint/feta meatballs, and chicken marinated in honey/soy/garlic/ginger/lime. Freezer looking nicely full already, but got plans for a few more things over the next couple of days. Except that I didn't order anywhere near enough onions so will have to rectify that!

Tartanthrifty Wed 29-Jul-15 08:51:27

[wipes drool off chin]

soloula Tue 04-Aug-15 18:52:38

Marinated chicken is ideal for the freezer as the flavour really develops while its frozen. I do a few chicken thighs in a poly bag with the marinade and then defrost and either bung in the oven or fry them.

If you're wanting to use your slow cooker more there are some great recipe ideas on Pinterest if you search for slow cooker or crockpot. Lots of meal ideas to chop everything up and bag it for freezing then just tip the bag into the slow cooker in the morning and it'll be ready for dinner. Whole chickens are lovely in the slow cooker. You can crisp the skin up under the grill if you want. You can add your favourite herbs and spices and the flavour really goes into the whole chicken so it's great if you're using leftovers and the carcass for other meals and stocks (which freeze great too).

Tollygunge Tue 04-Aug-15 19:00:47

Sorry, late to the party here, but can you really freeze sandwiches? Cheese ones?

soloula Tue 04-Aug-15 19:06:36

Cheese sandwiches freeze great Tolly. Most fillings freeze well. Only thing you need to watch is stuff that might have been frozen already.

Orangeisthenewbanana Tue 04-Aug-15 19:08:55

Sorry, bit late too here but we do this chicken tikka nasal from the Good Food website. It is delicious and freezes really well.

www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/12798/chicken-tikka-masala

We also do double portions of spag bol and chilli con carne to freeze. Chilli is great in the slow cooker. I second the Schwartz slow cooker powder sachets, the sausage casserole and beef and ale stew ones are particularly good.

Orangeisthenewbanana Tue 04-Aug-15 19:10:05

^ Tikka masala obviously - tikka nasal sounds gross!

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