Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Cooking up batches

Even without masses of training, there's often not a lot of time to cook on a work day and it just gets stressy and mentally tricky when you come home and need to think about making a meal.  And given that I prioritise home made meals (mostly because I can control the ingredients and proportions of things to my needs and tastes) I don't want to be buying ready meals, no matter how well-balanced and carefully sourced they are.  So I do try to cook up batches of meals at the weekend and chill or freeze them for re-heating.  The easiest things are chilli, stew, soup, curry, casserole etc. and you can cook up bases of things to add other ingredients when re-heating.  A couple of hours of preparation work at the weekend avoids a lot more during the week and really reduces the stress levels.

However, at the weekend, this can result in quite some chaos in our tiny kitchen...

That was ingredients and preparation for three meals; beef and ale casserole (with braising beef, pearl barley, chioggia beetroot, red carrots, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, red onion and Guinness)


Lamb Rogan Josh (lamb neck fillet, home made rogan josh paste (Jamie Oliver recipe), onion, chilli peppers and tinned tomatoes)

And butternut and chick pea curry (courgette, butternut squash, chilli pepper, chard, chick peas, onion and home made curry paste (my own recipe))

The kitchen smells incredible when curry is on the go, so it can be quite hungry work.  But worth it for 16 individual meals ready for heating and eating.

You do need a lot of plastic tubs and freezer space (that's my current limitation).  And a better labelling system than post it notes as they tend to fall off in the freezer!

So, on an average week, our evening meals would look a bit like this:-

Monday - grilled salmon fillets with cous cous, sweetcorn and peas (prep 2 mins, cooking time 6-7 mins)
Tuesday - re-heated lamb curry, wholegrain rice (25 mins rice cooking time)
Wednesday - re-heated chilli, cous cous, sweetcorn and peas (prep 5-6 mins)
Thursday - frittata (prep 5 mins, cooking time 30mins)
Friday - re-heated vegetable curry with added chicken breast, wholegrain rice (prep 5-6 mins)
Saturday - fillet steak, new potatoes, salad (prep 15 mins, cooking time 5 mins)
Sunday - roast chicken, roasted sweet potato wedges, peas, cauliflower, gravy (prep 15 mins, cooking time 70mins)

1 comment:

  1. Ah yes - batch cooking, I remember well the marathon sessions in Thornton Heath. But then we had a large chest freezer in addition to the large fridge/freezer.

    It's definitely worth the effort. As for labelling - pop the containers inside large, disposable plastic bags and use indelible markers. Don't forget the date.