Make the most of your time in the kitchen by planning ahead, bulk-cooking, then saving the leftover food for another day. Here's how, plus some delicious 'bulk' recipes...
Freeze these meals in individual portions and you can think less about food, and more about doing other fun activities.
Before You Get Started
1) Head to Woolworths or check out lakelandlimited.co.uk for one-portion size freezer containers, preferably those can go from freezer to microwave.
2) Label the food, with name, date and ProPoints® value.
3) Only put food that's already cold into the freezer.
Dinner Party Dazzler
This has a lovely subtle, sophisticated taste that's dinner-party standard. While guests can stir in single cream, you can add natural low fat yogurt.
Lightly cook 1 sliced leek in a 2 tsp olive oil to soften. Add 400g celeriac, diced and 200g potato, and cook with the lid on to soften (about 10 minutes). Add 700ml vegetable stock and cook until the vegetables are tender; season to taste. Whiz in a blender. Cool, then freeze. Defrost, and gently reheat, adding a tablespoon of natural low fat yogurt on top of each of the 4 servings.
Roasted Pepper and Tomato Soup
Halve 4 red peppers and 6 large tomatoes. Spread out on a grill pan, skin-side up, along with four peeled garlic cloves, a few sprigs of thyme and 1 seeded and sliced red chilli. Cook under a hot grill until the pepper skins blacken. Remove the pepper skins and the tomato skins. Tip the pepper flesh and tomato pulp and chilli minus the thyme sprigs into a blender with 750ml of vegetable stock. Whiz until smooth. Season and freeze. Serves 4.
Cosy Night-In Casserole
Spicy Paprika Chicken
Another winner for weekday suppers. Bulk out meat with the vegetables of your choice. In a lidded casserole, cook 1 large sliced onion in 2 tsp of olive oil. Add 2 garlic cloves. Stir in 1 rounded tbsp paprika, 1 tbsp plain flour. Add 6 cubed skinless chicken thighs and brown all over. Then add 3 chopped carrots and 1 chopped red pepper. Stir in 1 400g can chopped tomatoes and 200ml of stock. Cook on a low heat on the hob for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Season to taste. Cool and freeze. Stir through a tablespoon or two of natural low fat yogurt before serving hot and a sprinkle of paprika.
Salmon and Prawn Provencal Stew
Fry 1 large onion with 2 chopped celery stalks until softened in 2 tsp olive oil. Stir in 1 bay leaf and 1 sprig of thyme, 1 400g can of tomatoes and 300ml vegetable stock. Simmer for 10 minutes before adding 225g salmon fillet cut into chunks, plus the juice and zest of 1 lemon. Season to taste and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in 200g prawns to heat through. Cool and freeze. Serve with couscous and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley. Serves 4.
Rhubarb and Raspberry Crumble
Cut 450g rhubarb into long sticks. Pop into a saucepan and add a tablespoon of water. Sweeten to taste with 4 tsp of artificial sweetener. Cook until tender. Divide between four ramekins and top each with 1 tbsp raspberries and a sprinkling of finely chopped fresh root ginger. Mix together 75g oats, 25g plain flour and 15g flaked almonds. Stir in 3tbsp of vegetable oil. Sprinkle over the crumble then cook in a preheated 180°C / fan oven 160°C / Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes. Cool and freeze. Serve with natural low fat yogurt.
It's a good idea to always keep frozen berries in the freezer, whether that's a mix or raspberries or blueberries. For a quick pud - mix together a 500g tub of low fat quark and sweeten to taste with 4 tsp artificial sweetener, and a drop or two of vanilla extract. Stir in 250g of frozen berries and spoon into four tumblers.