#RoundUp: Meal Preps

We all know how hectic it can get preparing meals at the start of every morning to pack to the Billy B, so here’s a round-up of freezable easy-to-make bulk dishes that you can prepare on the weekends to save time during the week. Enjoy!

Veggie Lasagne

A twist on the classic but just as delicious! If you want to save time and effort, you can buy jars of tomato sauce and white sauce, however, they are extremely simple to make from scratch.

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Ingredients: (Yields 6 portions)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 peppers, sliced into strips
  • 1 aubergine, halved and sliced
  • 1 courgette, sliced
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 50g grated cheddar or sliced mozzarella
  • 40g butter
  • 350ml milk
  • 2 tablespoon of flour
  • Olive oil
  • Lasagne sheets
  • Garlic bread and salad for serving

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC.
  2. Chop the vegetables and put them in a roasting tin/dish with three tablespoons of oil and stir to coat all the vegetables.
  3. Place the tin in the oven for 10 minutes.
  4. To prepare the tomato sauce, sauté the onion for 3 minutes with some oil in a frying pan and then add in the chopped tomatoes and garlic cloves and cook for 10 minutes, or until thickened.
  5. Season and set aside.
  6. Check on the roasted vegetables. Stir and add 3 more tablespoons of oil if necessary and place in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.
  7. Whilst the vegetables are roasting, prepare the white sauce. To do this, melt some butter in a pan, add two tablespoons of flour and cook for approx. 2-3 minutes (be careful to prevent this from burning). Add in the milk and cook for a further 5 minutes to thicken, stirring continuously. Note: If you want the lasagne to be cheesy, then let the sauce cool for 2 minutes before adding some of the grated cheese to taste.
  8. Soak the lasagne sheets in some water and in the meanwhile take out the roasted vegetables from the oven and add a third of them to an oven dish and flatten into a layer.
  9. Top this with a third of the tomato sauce.
  10. Add one layer of lasagne sheet on top of this and spread a third of the white sauce over it.
  11. Repeat the earlier 2 steps twice and then spread a final layer of grated cheese or mozzarella slices over the white sauce.
  12. Place this in the oven and cook for 40-50 minutes.

 

Chicken & Aubergine Curry

A fragrant curry that’s easy to make from scratch.

Ingredients: (Yields 4-5 portions)

  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 aubergine, finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped or 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon of garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 300ml of vegetable stock
  • 500g of chicken breast
  • 250g of coconut milk
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Sunflower oil
  • A handful of baby spinach
  • Salt & pepper, to season

Method:

  1. Fry the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger with some oil in a large pan for 3 minutes until softened.
  2. Stir in the spices and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or use a hand blender and blitz it to form the curry paste.
  4. Add another splash of oil to the pan and return to the heat. Add in the paste and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Sauté the aubergine in the curry paste for 2 minutes and then add in the tomatoes.
  6. Add the stock and let the mixture gently simmer to reduce down for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Meanwhile, slice the chicken into cubes and fry in a separate pan until cooked through.
  8. Once the sauce has thickened significantly, add in the chicken.
  9. Add a handful of spinach and cook for a further minute to allow it to wilt.
  10. Season with salt and pepper and serve on its own or with a side of rice.

 

Chickpea & Red Pepper Stew with Sweet Potato Mash

I first saw this recipe in a free booklet written by The Medicinal Chef, Dale Pincock. This recipe has all sorts of goodness in it and Dale describes how it does wonders for your heart, immune system and skin. It’s also very tasty and super cheap – what’s not to love?

Note: If you are planning to freeze it or keep leftovers in the fridge for future meals then I would save the sweet potato to cook on the day that you wish to eat it.

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Ingredients: (Yields 2-3 portions)

  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 400g chickpeas
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of (smoked) paprika
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Coriander leaves, to serve

Method:

  1. Add some water and a pinch of salt into a pan and bring to boil.
  2. Add the sweet potatoes and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, fry the onion, garlic and pepper with a little oil over a medium heat until the onion and pepper have softened.
  4. Drain the chickpeas and tip into the pan along with the chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. During this time, drain the sweet potatoes and mash with a little butter.
  6. Add the cinnamon, paprika, salt and pepper to the stew and cook for a further 7 minutes.
  7. Garnish with some coriander leaves and serve immediately with a generous helping of sweet potato mash.

 

Chilli Con Carne

Another classic but with an added hint of dark chocolate!

 Ingredients: (Yields 4 portions)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoon of tomato purée
  • 1 teaspoon of hot chilli powder/ 1 tablespoon of mild chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 500g minced beef (preferably lean)
  • 410g of red kidney beans, drained
  • 400g of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 beef stock cube (make into a stock with 300ml water)
  • 2 squares of dark chocolate
  • Rice, sour cream and grated cheese to serve

 

Method:

  1. Add a splash of oil to a large heavy-bottomed pan and sauté the onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat.
  2. Tip in the red pepper and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the spices and cook for another 5 minutes,  stirring occasionally.
  4. Note: If not using lean meat carry out the next step in a separate frying pan and then drain out the excess fat with a sieve. Add the meat to the onions and peppers once strained and set aside the fat to solidify. This means that it can then be chucked in the bin. Do not pour this straight down the sink.
  5. Tip the mince into the pan and turn up the heat. Break up the meat with a spatula and fry until all of the mince has browned, stirring and flipping continuously. This should take approx. 5 minutes.
  6. Prepare the beef stock and pour this into the pan with the mince.
  7. Whilst stirring, add the tomato puree and chopped tomatoes.
  8. Stir well and simmer gently while mixing.
  9. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil.
  10. Turn down the heat again and place a lid on the pan to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  11. Occasionally remove the lid and stir the mince mixture to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Note: If this is happening a lot then turn down the heat again.
  12. Tip in the red kidney beans and add the dark chocolate (this should only be the size of a thumb so that it doesn’t overpower the chilli).
  13. Stir in these ingredients and bring to a boil once again.
  14. Cook for a further 10 minutes without the lid to cook the beans and thicken the chilli.
  15. Season to taste and set aside to cool before serving.

Ham & Pea Risotto

This is a rich, creamy classic that is safe to freeze (as long as you are sensible about it) and great for using up leftover ham and wine.

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Ingredients: (Yields 3-4 portions)

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 litre of vegetable/chicken stock
  • 300g Arborio (risotto) rice
  • 130g of ham (chunky is better)
  • 200ml of white wine (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • A handful of grated parmesan/cheddar

Method:

  1. Fry the onion in some olive oil until soft and translucent.
  2. Chop up the ham into cubes (I find this is easier with scissors), tip into the pan and fry for approx. 3-5 minutes.
  3. Next, add the rice and wine and cook for approx. 2-3 minutes to burn off the alcohol and evenly coat the rice in the oil.
  4. Pour a quarter of the stock into the pan and stir until the mixture has reduced.
  5. Continue to stir and add the remaining stock in small quantities until the rice is cooked through.
  6. Set aside the mixture for approx. 1 minute to allow it to cool while you grate the cheese.
  7. Stir the cheese into the risotto to taste.

Optional: To bulk out this recipe, I would also suggest adding sliced mushrooms and a splash of lime juice to bring out the flavour.

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