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Wasting food costs families up and down the country money and has an impact on the environment too. Bulk cooking is a simple way to reduce this, as it can help with meal planning and provides a solution for those mealtimes when you just don’t have the time or inspiration to cook.
When I was weaning my little boy I made all of his purees etc from scratch and got into the habit of bulking cooking and freezing, and the habit has stuck really. I often make a casserole and freeze half of it for a quick dinner another week.
It’s shocking to think that we throw away over 7.2million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year in the UK! Even worse, when it turns out that more than half of this food and drink we could have eaten.
Colman’s sent me some Colman’s Recipe Mixes to try and asked me to think about bulk cooking.
Now for a family of 2 adults and 1 nearly 4-year-old, I find that I can make one recipe cover two meals when I bulk out with lots of fresh veggies. But I guess for a family with a couple of older children it would be a really good idea to use 2 recipe mixes at the same time, double all of the ingredients and then simply divide into two meals. Either way saves time and just means a quick reheat at a later date for the second batch.
I decided to cook the Sausage Casserole first, the Recipe Mix does say to partially cook the sausages in a pan first, but my son is funny about sausage skins at the moment (but won’t eat skinless sausages – the joys of a small child!) so I just put them straight into the casserole.
I followed the recipe on the Recipe Mix packet, added onions and mushrooms to the sausages, combined the mix with 300ml of cold water and added everything to a casserole dish, covered and cooked for an hour.
Once the casserole was ready I dished half up for dinner with some steamed veg. We all agreed that the sausage casserole was very tasty. Once the rest of the casserole was completely cold, I transferred it to a freezer-proof container, labelled and put it in the freezer. One ready meal that will just need defrosting for 24 hours, to be eaten within 3 months! Top tip: write the date on your label so you can keep track of what needs eating in your freezer.
Now that my son is at Nursery School, we’re finding afternoon’s quite challenging, so if I can bulk cook some dinners, and have some quick meals already to defrost in the freezer, hopefully, life can be a little less stressful.