Ask many people why they don't cook, and one of the top answers will always be 'I don't have time'. If you work 9-5, slaving away in the kitchen when you finally get home doesn't sound like the most appealing prospect. For the many people that work from home, 24/7 access to the fridge has a tendency to manifest itself in constant snacking. This can mean that you rarely cook a full meal. Of course, the variety of convenience food available now doesn’t help this issue. But if you’re constantly feeding yourself and your family processed ready meals, you might want to think again. Pre-made microwave dinners contain high amounts of salt and fat, and it’s easy to get hooked on them.
Shun the convenience food for high carb, filling meals for when you need a bowl of something comforting after a long day. It may take a couple of hours work on a Sunday evening, but preparing food for the week will ultimately mean you spend less time in the supermarket and it will save you money too. Try making two separate meals and then bagging them up into freezable portions. That way, you can alternate your meals every evening and you won’t be overeating either. Take a look at some of these big batch, freezer-friendly recipes for inspiration.
Chilli is a classic dish that you’re probably already familiar with eating. But the true beauty of chilli is that it can be served in so many different ways. Keep it classic with rice for a hearty evening meal – perfect with a glass of red wine on a winter evening. Or, if you’re making a summer chilli, cobble together some homemade guacamole and salad for a lighter take on the dish. You can, of course, use beef mince for your chilli, but turkey mince generally carries a lot less fat. At the end of the week, when there’s not enough left for a full meal, pop your chilli mix into pitta breads or tortillas for a healthy lunch.
Batch cooking isn’t just limited to one-pot dishes. If you spot a good deal on steak at your local supermarket, make the most of it and cook a few portions all in the same night. Make some healthy potato wedges alongside and again, bag them up in freezable portions. Then, when you get in on an evening, all you’ll have to do is heat them up and serve with some salad for a great mid-week treat. Gourmet culinary straight from your freezer!
For African inspired flavours, opt for a spice infused stew. The good thing about these simple recipes is that you can tailor them to your own tastebuds. A classic African stew normally features chicken although just take the meat out if you want a veggie version. Simply throw finely chopped veg and meat into a large pan with stock, chopped tomatoes and plenty of spices. Once it’s reduced, you’ll have a stew. If you have a slow cooker, opt to cook your stew in there for more tender meat. Bag up individual portions, and then all you’ll have to do when you get in from work is cook some rice to serve.