Cooking in bulk is one of the simplest and most effective ways to save money on your grocery bills. Like many families, we’re always looking for ways to cut costs and make cooking cheaper, and this offers an easy solution that suits our budget and gets dinner ready in no time. These meals are simple to cook up in a hurry and then freeze, ready to be warmed up whenever you need a speedy family meal.
Baked Cheddar Pie
This delicious vegetarian family meal is perfect for those with young kids. The soft texture and cheesy flavors make it a firm favorite with toddlers, and it tastes just as great to adults, too. It also freezes well, making it perfect for cooking in large batches ready to be eaten alone as a meal or combined with other foods for a new dish.
First, steam broccoli, celery and leeks and boil potatoes until all are cooked. Drain the potatoes and then mash with seasoning, butter and some low fat yoghurt.
Make a sauce with milk, flour, mustard and butter, cooked over medium heat and whisked well until it’s thick and smooth. Stir in cheddar cheese and then take off the heat.
Layer the mashed potato, vegetables and extra grated cheese in pie dishes. Pour the sauce over the top and bake for just under an hour at 390F, until it’s cooked through and bubbling hot.
Cheesy Pasta and Brocolli Bake
This nutritious and delicious vegetarian pasta dish is a cinch to cook, even for moms who hate spending any time in the kitchen. It’s also easy to pack full of vegetables, so it’s a great meal to feed to kids who prefer the taste of veggies to be masked by other flavors.
Boil up pasta (preferably penne) with onion and broccoli for around 10 minutes, then drain. Using a stock cube and water, mix crème fraiche and mustard and bring the sauce to the boil. Stir in the pasta and vegetables along with some grated gruyere cheese, and mix together until the cheese has melted. Add parsley and other seasoning to taste.
Then simply grill your pasta for a few minutes, adding breadcrumbs and extra grated cheese or herbs if you want some extra crunch and flavor. Serve up and save the rest in the freezer for a rainy day.
Zesty Chicken Cacciatore
Everyone’s favorite Italian dish is easy to cook at home, and can happily feed a whole family when made in larger quantities. This recipe adds a little extra spice to give the chicken more flavor, but you can tone down the seasoning if you’re cooking for small children who prefer something a little more bland.
Cook chicken leg portions in olive oil on a medium heat on the hob, making sure that the chicken is well seasoned before you begin cooking.
Using a large, deep roasting pan, cook red peppers and a red chilli for around 10 minutes. Pour in a glass of red wine and cook until it bubbles, then add tomato sauce and water until you have a rich sauce.
Add the chicken pieces and layer a handful of black olives and seasoning on top. Cover the dish and cook for 30 minutes at 350F. One cooked, add parsley on top and serve to the family with potato or rice.