Imagine cutting down kitchen time to one cooking day, so you could relax the rest of the week. You’d have more time for family and more time for yourself. And you’d use less and waste less! Winning all round.
The secret to a super-efficient kitchen and a well-fed family is planning. Put some time aside to cook one ‘base’ meal that you can make ahead, freeze, and then tweak for a different, delicious dinner every day!
A basic tomato stew is a great foundation for a week of meals. You can add ingredients as you need, and use it in a variety of filling, nutritious meals.
How it's done:
Simply fry onion and garlic until tender, then add 3 or 4 tins (depending on how many people you’re feeding) of peeled, chopped tomatoes. Cover with vegetable or chicken stock, add a sprinkling of mixed herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 20 minutes or so, until you have a glossy, thick tomato stew.
Once cooled, pour the tomato mixture into several different smaller containers or Ziploc bags, to use throughout the week. Place them carefully in the freezer and use as and when you need them. Here are a few ideas on how to use the tomato stew in your meals for a week:
1. Monday: scrumptious soup
Reheat the tomato mixture with a tin of sweetcorn until piping hot, for an affordable and mouth-watering soup. Serve with freshly toasted bread slathered with butter.
2. Tuesday: pleasing pasta
Boil macaroni noodles or spaghetti until cooked but firm, drain then add a knob of butter and the defrosted tomato mixture. Toss through some fresh basil leaves and top with grated Parmesan cheese for a yummy pasta dinner.
3. Wednesday: perfect potato
Boil potatoes or sweet potatoes until completely cooked. Place on a baking tray, cut the potatoes open and pour a little of the tomato mixture over each potato. Top with some grated cheese and mixed herbs, then grill until golden and bubbling.
4. Thursday: brilliant beans
Heat the tomato mixture with a tin or two of mixed beans and a tablespoon of sugar for homemade baked beans. Serve hot, over toast.
5. Friday: succulent chicken
Fry chicken pieces until crispy and seared on the outside. Place on a baking tray with some cooked, chopped spinach. Pour over the tomato mixture and bake until the chicken is cooked through.
6. Saturday: mince magic
Fry some mince until brown, then add the tomato mixture with some mixed herbs and a teaspoon of curry powder (depending on the heat you prefer). Serve with pasta or mash.
7. Sunday: breakfast for dinner
Toast a few slices of your favourite bread, then top with fried or scrambled eggs and a generous spoonful of the tomato mixture – everyone loves breakfast for dinner!
Reprinted with permission of Blue Ribbon.