Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Cook Once A Week

Seven meals ready to have lids clipped
on and popped into the freezer for
later consumption. Only  one
dirty frying pan to wash up.
Each container holds 4-6 serves.


Cooking once a week might be a way to create some sanity at home.  If both of you are working outside of the home, then cooking meals from scratch every night can be mighty challenging at the end of an exhausting day.

So here is something to try: doing the bulk of your cooking once a week.

How does this work?

We choose Sunday evening to cook in bulk for the week or fortnight ahead.  We prepare two or three different meals and cook them in bulk then container them up into separate meal sized containers (dependant on the size of your family) and then into the freezer.  By choosing different recipes each time, you will build up a whole swag of different meal types in the freezer to choose from.


Savoury pastie pastry rolled out

Savoury pumpkin and curry filling (you can freeze this too)

Delicious hot curried pumpkin
pasties.  These did not last long.



This week we did two types of meals - savoury mince and spag-bol sauce. We added these to the many pre-cooked meals already in the freezer.  We can serve these with pasta, mash, rice, cous cous or salads....or whatever we fancy at the time.


Line up! Line up! Dinner is served.


The aim would be to build up a stockpile of pre-cooked meals in your freezer for at least a week ahead - preferably more.  Another benefit of this type of bulk meal preparation is that the oven and cooker are only on once thus saving power.  Did I also mention less washing up? The other obvious benefit is that all you have to do in the morning is take your meal out of the freezer and leave it on the kitchen sink to defrost during the day and then quickly heat it up and serve at night....maybe the kids could do this super-easy last step so there is a hot meal on the table as soon as you walk in of a night.


A nice big frying pan allows you to cook double sized meals.
Eat one and freeze one.


Worth a thought perhaps?  Tweak the concept to suit your own circumstances and reap the benefits.

Take care folks.  Stay nice.

Mr HM.

22 comments:

  1. Hi,
    just had to comment on taking out frozen meal in morning and leaving in kitchen until home at night. I am concerned that defrosting out of the fridge could cause harmful bacteria to grow. sorry but could be a problem. Ann

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  2. I used to do this when I lived by myself, much better than tea and toast every second night! I covet an electric frypan but won't be getting one until there is room to store it - I think they are so versatile.

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    Replies
    1. Barb, I agree - we use our big frying pans a lot. I love one-pot cooking. The other thing we use to death is our pressure cooker.

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  3. We do a lot of cooking extra for the freezer. I make a triple amount of spag bol sauce and use one lot for spaghetti, one for lasagna and the third lot of shepherd's pie. It is so nice not to have to cook every night.

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  4. I usually cook enough for a few meals at a time and freeze them for the nights when I feel too tired to cook or would rather be out in the garden. Such a good idea when both partners work too.

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  5. We over cook meals to add to the freezer, so we can have a night off.

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  6. Something to look into further, now that it looks like I will be going back to work part time. Seems to be just the right thing - homecooked, healthy and convenient!

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  7. Like your other comments, sometime I will double batch cook, half gets eaten that night, half gets frozen, it has saved us from buying takeaway many a time.

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    Replies
    1. This is the other version we use regularly too. Actually, this method can be easier in many ways.

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  8. Just wanted to say that I'm glad I found you again. I really enjoy your blog.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for finding me again ElaineM . Nice to have you back !

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  9. The savoury curried pumpkin filling sounds delicious, MrHM. I am always on the lookout for great recipes to use up pumpkin - any chance you might share your recipe??

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    Replies
    1. Sure Blinky - I will get DD3 to rustle up the recipe for you.

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    2. Hey Blinky,
      I saw this recipe online and decided to play around a bit. Basically my recipe was:
      Pastry:
      2 1/2 C plain flour
      approx 1 C butter (i add about this much - and a little extra for good luck)
      a pinch of salt
      mix together until it resembles breadcrumbs and then slowly mix in cold/ice water until the mixture forms a ball.
      Filling:
      1 1/2 C pumpkin puree (boiled and drained, or roasted, then mashed)
      3 Tbsp butter (again I add a little extra)
      2 tsp ground cinnamon
      1/2 tsp clove
      1/4 tsp star anise
      1/2 tsp all spice
      3 Tbsp sugar
      a pinch of black pepper
      salt to taste

      Mix all together, feel free to play around until the flavour is right for you.

      Roll out dough on a floured surface, until approx 2 mm thick. Cut into circles approx 10 cm wide.
      spoon approx 1 Tbsp onto a side of each circle and cover with the other half circle, pinch the sides together with a fork and place a slit on the top of each pasty.
      Egg wash each then place in oven, preheated to 180 Celcius or 360 Farenheit, until golden brown (approx 10-15 minutes).
      Trust me when I say let them cool for a few minutes before digging in!
      These are also quite nice cold.
      Enjoy!
      DD3

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    3. Thank you for sharing, Mr H - I came on here with the intention of asking for the recipe. Yummy!

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    4. Mr H, I realise above is not you. Could you please share yours too? Is it just mashed pumpkin and curry powder?

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    5. The above is my Dear Daughter number 3 (DD3). The pictures are of her handiwork. This certainly is the correct recipe. I thought they had curry powder in them but it ends out it is the combination of the allspice, cinnamon, star anise, clove and pepper....which is a type of curry from scratch. Use the recipe with confidence. Mr HM (and DD3)

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    6. Thanks for the speedy reply. I will definitely be making these!

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  10. We do this too for work lunches, we make 10 lunches on Sunday. And then bulk meals throughout the week so we only have to cook every 2-3 days. It means eating the same meal for several days, but I don't mind if its good food :)

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  11. I used to do the 90 meals for 3-4 months over 3 days ( some do it in one day but I did not want the pressure) to tide us over during the calving season on the farm and when I was homeschooling our children at the same time. I also did 90 lunches such as toasted sandwiches/ roll ups/ soups/ scones etc but now there is just dh and I and I no longer work on the farm but I have begun to do something else so I don't have to totally cook every day. When we get beef from off the farm I take a certain amount on mince ( hamburger) and I cook it up with just onion, salt and pepper and then I preserve it in jars using my pressure canner and it is so marvellous as can open a car and make lasagne/ cottage pie/ mince stew/ spag bol and other dishes in minutes. I also like your idea of cooking once a week/fortnight and will give that a go. We are forever learning from each other :-)

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  12. Hi I love cooking ahead and freezing but I would like to mention do not reheat the meal in the plastic containers, defrost and tip into a glass or pyrex bowl.

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  13. I always cook a min of 6 - 8 serves for the 2 of us and we eat the same thing for 2 days with the rest being frozen for when I don't want to cook or to become the base for another meal. Right now I have lots of meals set aside for when our baby arrives in the next month so all we have to do is add rice, pasta, potato and veg if needed.

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