Sunday, 23 February 2014

Great Big Budget Batch Cook

I do big batch cooks every month for a couple of reasons: Firstly, I don't much like cooking, much less leaving whatever things I'm doing with the kids to go and cook. Secondly, if there are meals I've made ready in the freezer they're just as convenient as whatever more expensive convenient thing I might have bought :)
This time I decided to do a two month cook to give us a bit more variety.
I spent just under £70 (give or take a couple of quid, there were a couple of things I already had in and a couple of things I bought more of than I used today), and in six hours made 84 meals (plus bought the things to go with them eg rice/pasta/chips/potatoes) for two adults and a child, so it'll actually last us for main meals for almost three months, woohoo!

First up:
6 meals of A Girl Called Jack's Bacon and Ale Stew (I did about five times her recipe and put in chopped tomatoes instead of more bitter)
6 meals of tuna pasta (chop and sauté two onions and a couple of garlic cloves, add four tins of tomatoes, four tins of tuna and some mixed herbs. Simmer to reduce.)
8 meals of A Girl Called Jack's Apricot Chickpea Curry (I did five times her recipe)
6 meals of bolognese (Chop and sauté two onions, three carrots, 2 sticks of celery, a tin of mushrooms, a couple of cloves of garlic and a red pepper. Brown 500g of mince. Add mince to veg, add two tins chopped tomatoes, a tbsp tomato purée, some basil and about a mug full of gravy. Simmer to reduce.) 

2 meals of A Girl Called Jack's Courgette pasta but with broccoli instead of green beans (I doubled her recipe) 
6 meals of mixed bean chilli (I used about 150g dried weight adzuki beans, 150g black eyed beans, 150g butter beans, 50g chickpeas, all soaked overnight. After boiling them all, I added four tins of chopped tomatoes, a tablespoon of cocoa powder, a chopped red pepper and a big shake of chilli flakes, and then simmered until it was reduced.)
6 meals of A Girl Called Jack's lentil bolognese (I did four times her recipe)
6 meals of chickpea, veg and coconut curry (Boil about two cups full of pre-soaked chickpeas along with a couple of diced potatoes. Chop and sauté a couple of onions with some garlic, a tsp of cumin, half a tsp of ground coriander, and two teaspoons of turmeric. Stir in whatever veg you like, I used about two thirds of a bag of asda frozen cauliflower and a diced butternut squash. Add two tins of coconut milk. Simmer until veg is tender, add the chickpeas and potatoes.)
3 meals of red rice (there were four but there was a hole-in-a-bag disaster!!) (Recipe courtesy of poster 'MATH' on the moneysavingexpert forums. Chop and sauté two onions in some oil, stir in a kilo of rice until it's coated in the oil, add two tins of chopped tomatoes and a couple of litres of stock. Simmer until the rice starts to cook. Pour into two oven dishes, putting a bit if chopped cheese into it and some on top. Put it in the oven on about gasmark 5 until the cheese melts, about half an hour.)

1 meal of pork jalfrezi wraps (I had some jalfrezi seasoning left over from an Approved Food order, and I slow cooked a small pork shoulder overnight last night. I used a couple of handfuls of the pork, fried off with a chopped onion and a chopped pepper in the seasoning. It'll fill about eight wraps.)
8 meals of A Girl Called Jack's Spinach Aloo (I made about sixteen times her recipe) 
3 meals of slow cooker cheesy chicken rice (I used double this recipe, but using a bag of asda smart price chicken portions, peas instead of corn, and normal smart price rice)

2 meals of pork and veg egg fried rice (I used a small bowlful of the slow cooked pork, some broccoli and the spare courgette from the pack I used for the pasta. Stir fry the veg with a chopped onion, some garlic, a bit of chopped ginger and a splash of sesame oil, then add cooked rice to fill the pan, and stir in a couple of tablespoons of curry powder and a couple of eggs.)
4 meals of Betty Crocker's cheeseburger pie (I made double the recipe) 

6 meals of tomato pasta (made exactly like the tuna pasta above but without the tuna) 
2 meals of pork madras (Again I had some madras seasoning left over from Approved Foods, so I stirred it into what was left of the pork, heated it in a bit of oil, added a bit of tomato purée, then added some hot water and simmered it to reduce it down.)
6 meals of A Girl Called Jack's risotto (I made some approximation of the recipe anyway but with a kilo of rice and lots fewer mushrooms as I ran out. Worked fine though!) 

2 tomato, 'feta' and olive pasta (For each one I chopped a quarter of a block of Greek style cheese, half a pinned of cherry tomatoes, and about 12 olives. I'll stir them into some spaghetti with some garlic and olive oil.)

And lastly:
2 meals of cauliflower broccoli and potato in cheese sauce (I used the rest of the bag of frozen cauliflower, half a head of broccoli and a couple of potatoes. I had some cheese sauce mix so I cheated there :) )

So there we go. Six hours. £70. 84 meals for two big people and a little person.


  1. Love this idea, I like to make similar 'ready meals' too, but never quite so many! Well done you. :)

    P.S. Your freezer must be MASSIVE!

    1. Haha, it's a small chest freezer, plus we've got a little box freezer in the top of the fridge. They're definitely full now!