Also easy nights and no cook nights make life much easier. We all get cooking fatigue. No one needs to cook every night. If you combine some super easy nights with some no cook nights then you have a much happier time cooking on the remaining nights.
My greatest help is the crock pot. (slow cooker).
Over the weekend I filled my biggest slow cooker with a beef casserole. It is so simple.
In this I had thick slices stewing steak. Mushrooms, onions, carrot, sweet potato, baby potatoes.... later I added broccoli. Pepper, two tins of tomato soup. That's it. One tin of tomato plus one tin of mushroom soup (or packet) makes it like a stroganoff. Either is fine.
A dash of soy sauce or something else you like.
I let it cook on high all day, stir it a couple of times a bit. Thicken with gravy at the end if you want.
It just cooks down into a delicious stew. And we had that last night. Then I sat aside another serving of stew using the rest of the little potatoes in that.
After that I used a wooden spoon to break it up more and then made meat pies. I got 3 big meat pies, family size. But you can make individual size ones as I did recently with my Texas muffin tins when I did this with chicken.
Pies make it entirely different and we will have a pie tonight, with relish.
Pies freeze so well and are delicious! So I have meals made ahead and ready to go. It was easy. I made one for Lucy and her husband. I know that will be a help to them this week.
The thing is you don't need special recipes. If you have a favourite curry, soup, stew, casserole then use it. I never add any water, except for soup. The main thing is it will not evaporate so don't use much liquid. Add something like a tin of soup, a can of peaches, a moist ingredient, and stir once or twice to coat the ingredients in that or the juices. And let it cook for the day. You can do a whole roast and place the vegies around the outside. I do apricot chicken, pot roasts, lamb shanks, many soups, baked apples and anything you can think of! Long cooking is flavoursome and you can use inexpensive humble things and they become tender and beautiful.
My second cook up was I cooked a whole Turkey Saturday night. It was 4.5 kilos. I got it for $3.50 a kilo after Christmas. I got three. Now you can do this with a big chicken. Or since you have the oven on roasting roast two chooks at the same time and twice as many vegies.
Anyhow we had a huge roast dinner with cranberry sauce and a heap of roast vegies and gravy. It was beautiful. Andy was in heaven with this.
So that is a lot of meat! (especially being tow of us) and that is precisely the idea! The next day the boys went fishing and took chunks of turkey, the remaining leg and wings. These caused a sensation. Andys son said "that is one big chicken!" and was very excited when told it's a turkey. He devoured it saying that's what he wants in life more real meat! They were happy.
After dinner I made "tv dinners". I had cooked extra vegies, make plenty of gravy all in the first place planning to have lots over. One TV dinner was for Chloe and I think she would be having it tonight. I know she loves this!
They can be reheated in the oven or microwave. I have always made these. On a frazzled night or if you aren't well being able to slap a complete roast meal on the table in minutes is just wonderful! A roast meal is comforting, delicious and happy. Really they reheat very well.
So now I have stews, pies, roast dinners ready to go.
Other things I would do with left over chicken or turkey would be make wraps, baguettes, focaccias, chop up and make chicken soup without the chicken and add it in towards the end, make a pasta sauce and add the chicken or chop and add vegies and cheese and make a pie.
Watching out for great specials on meat and vegies you can end up with so many meals. I would never say use this meat or that vegie. Use what you can get on wonderful specials and go from there.
So I don't have to cook tonight or tomorrow night and all the meals are not the same at all. I have a built up freezer stash as well.
Oops I forgot to mention I had 3 bags of broccoli as it was $2.50 a kilo so on Saturday morning I cooked 7 big heads of broccoli, onions and added 2 tins of cream of chicken soup and blended that. I added some stock to taste and cheese. It turned out so yummy, nice and thick. I did that Saturday morning. I freeze it in individual serves as I try to have soups mainly for my lunches in winter. It made a lot of soup! I sat and had a bowl of this for my Saturday lunch.
I really hope crock pot cooking can be a big help to you as it is to me. Thick soups like minestrone or chicken soup can be a meal in themselves, have a bread stick or rolls on hand and warm them up and you have a family filler. Good hot food in winter is so warming and comforting!
Have a wonderful week! I think we have rain coming which we desperately need. And a new month! I love to consider everything we have done this month and plan a new one. Just time to tick a few extra things off the list fro April. Today is Andy's birthday too and yesterday was our anniversary. Celebrations! xxx