Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Cooking On A Budget - Easy Batch Cooking For The Week


I love batch cooking, not just because it saves me money but also because it saves me time. I find that having a healthy meal already prepared in the freezer puts a stop to any temptation to eat quick convenience foods. Firstly I make up a batch of 20 - 30 turkey mince burrito's and freeze them (I've started using turkey mince instead of beef. It is healthier and the family haven't even noticed the change. I'm a vegetarian so I will share Veggie freezer meals next week). Burrito's are a huge hit in our house, especially with the teenagers, who often eat at different times to us and love a hot snack that they can pop in the microwave. Also, we have recently discovered 'sweet chilli tortilla' wraps at Asda and the kids love them.


For the freezer this week, I made:

1 x Large family sized shepherds pie
5 x individual shepherds pies 
30 x Burrito's
1 x family sized bolognese sauce
4 x individual bolognese pasta bakes
1 x family sized chilli sauce
2 x family sized chicken pasta bakes
2 x family sized chicken casseroles
1 x large family sized chicken pie
4 x individual chicken pies

For a large family I ended up with more than a weeks worth of meals, more like 12 family main dishes and 20 snacks.

Shopping List:
  • 3 x 700g Turkey Mince (or your preferred mince meat)
  • 3 x 613g Chicken Breast Fillets
  • 4 x packets of 8 Large Tortilla Wraps 
  • 500g Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Chicken Stock Cubes
  • 335g Fresh Broccoli
  • 4 x 500g Ready Diced Carrot & Swede
  • 8 x Large Onions
  • 200g Sliced Green Beans
  • 335g Ready Sliced Carrots
  • 6 x Mixed Peppers
  • 500g Ready Made Shortcrust Pastry
  • 500g White Basmati Rice
  • 3kg Penne Pasta
  • 2.5kg Potatoes
  • 1 x Chilli Con Carne Packet Mix
  • 1 x Shepherds Pie Packet Mix
  • 2 x Chicken Casserole Packet Mix
  • Tomato Puree
  • 6 x 400g Tinned Chopped Tomato's
  • 1 x 400g Tin of Red Kidney Beans.
  • 4 x 295g Campbells Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 x Roll of Wrapping Foil
  • 20 x Small Foil Trays With Write On Lids (For individual ready meals).
  • Large Freezer Zip Lock Bags
  • Salt, pepper, soy sauce, mild chilli powder, ground cumin, oregano, garlic, olive oil.


Firstly Make up your Burrito's - My recipe Here.

While they are all wrapped and cooling I clean up. Wash up ready for cooking your next meal.

Bolognese  & Chilli Instructions:

1. Heat some olive oil in two large pans. 
2. Split a 700g mince in half between the two pans. (Cook Bolognese sauce in one pan and Chilli sauce in the other. The recipes are very similar, so they are easy to cook at the same time.)
3. Add some garlic, a chopped onion and half a red pepper & half a green pepper (to both pans).
4. Add half a tube of tomato puree (to both pans).
5. Add 150ml chicken stock (to both pans).
6. Add 1 x tin of chopped tomato's (to both pans).
7. Once simmering add to the bolognese pan 1 tblsp of oregano and a glug of soy sauce. To the chilli pan add 1 x tin of red kidney beans, 2 x tsp of chilli powder & 2 tsp of cumin, plus a glug of soy sauce
8. Cook for 20 minutes. While that is cooking boil 250g penne pasta. 
9. When the sauces have cooled pour into two large zip lock bags. Ensure all the air is squeezed out before zipping up. (Keep back approx a quarter of the bolognese sauce and mix up with the cooked pasta, split between four small foil trays, top with some grated cheese before adding the lids.) Leave to completely cool before putting in the freezer

To Heat From The Freezer - Take a bag of sauce from the freezer on the morning you want the meal, or the night before. Once thawed empty the contents into a saucepan and warm through thoroughly on the hob until piping hot. Serve with rice, pasta or jacket potato. To heat the individual bakes - Defrost and once thawed pop in to the oven on a medium heat for around 40 minutes, until bubbling and hot.



Wash Up and have a ten minute tea break before you start the next meal.

Shepherds Pie Instructions:
1. Heat some olive oil in two large pans. 
2. Split a 700g mince in half between the two pans. 
3. Add some garlic, a chopped onion and half a red pepper & half a green pepper (to both pans).
4. In a separate pan cook two bags of the carrot & swede.
5. Once the mince is browned mix up your shepherds pie packet mix and split in half between the two mince pans.
6. Split the cooked carrot & swede between the two pans. Cook for 20 minutes. Leave to cool.  
7. While that is cooling boil a large pan of potatoes for the mash topping.
8. Scoop one pan of the mince into a large oven proof dish. Top with mash potato. Either bake there and then for 20 minutes for tonight's dinner or cover completely with foil wrap and freeze
9. Scoop the other pan of mince into small individual foil trays. Top with mash potato, add labelled lids and freeze.

To Heat From The Freezer - Take from the freezer and leave to defrost over night, pop in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes, ensuring it is piping hot all the way through. Serve with grated cheese on top.



Wash Up and have a ten minute tea break before you start the next meal.

Chicken Pasta Bake Instructions:
1. Cut up one of the packets of chicken fillets into small chunks.
2. Heat a little Olive Oil in two large pans.
3. Split the chicken in half between the two pans.
4. Add some garlic, a chopped onion and half a red pepper & half a green pepper (to each pan). 
5. Once the chicken is browned add 150 ml of chicken stock to each pan.
6. Add 1 can of Campbells soup (to each pan). Keep stirring.
7. Put a large pan of penne pasta on to boil.
8. Add chopped broccoli and sliced green beans to both chicken pans. Cook for 20 minutes.
9. When the pasta is cooked spilt between the two chicken sauces and mix in well. Leave to cool.
10. Once cooled scoop into zip lock bags and freeze. 

To Heat From The Freezer - Take from the freezer and leave to defrost for a few hours, then empty into an oven proof dish, pop in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes, ensuring it is piping hot all the way through. Serve with grated cheese on top.

Wash Up and have a ten minute tea break before you start the next meal.

Chicken Casserole Instructions:
1. Cut up one of the chicken fillets into small chunks.
2. Heat a little Olive Oil in two large pans.
3. Split the chicken in half between the two pans.
4. Add some garlic, a chopped onion and half a red pepper & half a green pepper (to each pan).
5. In a separate pan cook your carrots & swede.
6. Once the chicken is browned mix up your chicken casserole packet mix and split in half between the two chicken pans.
7. Add 1 can of Campbells soup (to each pan. Keep stirring. 
8. Split the cooked carrot & swede between the two pans. Stir. Cook for 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
9.  Once cooled scoop into zip lock bags and freeze. 

To Heat From The Freezer - Take a bag of sauce from the freezer on the morning you want the meal, or the night before. Once thawed empty the contents into a saucepan and warm through thoroughly on the hob until piping hot. Serve with rice, pasta or some mash potato. 

Wash Up and have a ten minute tea break before you start the next meal.

Chicken Pie Instructions: (very Similar to the casserole)
1. Cut up one of the chicken fillets into small chunks.
2. Heat a little Olive Oil in two large pans.
3. Split the chicken in half between the two pans.
4. Add some garlic, a chopped onion and half a red pepper & half a green pepper (to each pan).
5. In a separate pan cook your carrots & swede.
6. Once the chicken is browned mix up your chicken casserole packet mix and split in half between the two chicken pans.
7. Add 1 can of Campbells soup (to each pan. Keep stirring. 
8. Split the cooked carrot & swede between the two pans. Stir. Cook for 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
9. Roll out your pastry. 
10. Scoop your pie filling into individual foil trays and top each one with thinly rolled pastry. I also made a large family sized pie. 

To Heat From The Freezer -  Defrost overnight and once thawed remove the  label and wrap in foil, pop in to the oven on a medium heat for around 30 minutes, until bubbling and hot. Remove the foil from the top and cook for a further ten minutes to lightly brown the pastry tops.

1 comment:

  1. Please will you come and sort my freezer out and do some batch cooking for me? All sounds amazing! :) xx

    ReplyDelete

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