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More Family Freezer Meal Ideas

By: Elizabeth Hinds - Updated: 27 Jan 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Freezer Family Meals Simple Chilli

Ever had one of those days when cooking even the easiest meal for your family seems like too much trouble? You know, the sort of day when work has been crazy, you’ve not had time to sit down, and everything’s gone wrong? It’s for days like these that the freezer was created!

Maybe that’s an exaggeration but it’s the sort of day when you really appreciate having something in the freezer that you can easily heat up and serve with the minimum effort. So next time you do have a day when you can spend some time in the kitchen why not make some of your family favourite recipes that freeze well? If you use simple recipes like Bolognese sauce or chilli it’s easy to double the quantities to eat some now and save some for a rainy day.

The recipes give quantities for 4. Depending on how many you’re feeding, just make the stated quantity or double up.

Simple Bolognese sauce

  • 500 g mince
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • tin of tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • freshly ground salt and pepper
  • 200g mushrooms, wiped and chopped
Heat a frying pan and add the mince. You don’t need oil as enough will come out of the meat. Fry until the meat browns. Discard most of the excess fat and add the onion, celery and carrot. Continue frying until softened. Add the tin of tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano and salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes or so. Serve with freshly cooked spaghetti and grated parmesan cheese.

  • You can make it even simpler by using a jar of shop-bought Bolognese sauce in place of the vegetables and tinned tomatoes if you wish
To freeze, allow the sauce to cool and then place in a freezer-proof container or bag. Seal and freeze.

Simple lasagne

  • Meat sauce (as above)
  • 400 ml cheese sauce (see below)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • lasagne sheets
If you’re planning on freezing the lasagne remember to use a freezer-proof dish. Spread a little meat sauce over the bottom of the dish. Top with some dampened lasagne sheets. Don’t let them over-lap as they don’t cook properly. Cover with meat sauce followed by cheese sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan. Repeat until you have no sauce left.

If cooking immediately, bake in a pre-heated oven, 180ºC, gas mark 4, for about 30 minutes or until the lasagne is bubbling and cooked through.

If freezing, allow to cool completely, cover and freeze.

  • If using frozen sauces to make the lasagne make sure they’re completely defrosted before use.
  • To cook a frozen lasagne allow it to defrost thoroughly – take it out of the freezer the night before preferably – and follow the cooking instructions above.

Cheese sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 400 ml milk
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • nutmeg
  • 100 g mature cheddar

Melt the fat in a saucepan. Take off the heat and stir in the flour until well mixed. (Most recipes will tell you to return to the heat and cook very gently for a few minutes to take the rawness from the flour but I always end up burning it when I do that so I don’t recommend it!) Off the heat gradually add the milk stirring well with each addition so that it combines completely and smoothly. When all the milk is added continue stirring and heating gently until it comes to the boil and thickens. Add the seasoning, nutmeg and take off the heat to stir in the cheese.

Simple chilli

  • 500 g mince
  • 1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and finely sliced
  • 1 level tablespoon chilli powder (whether you use mild or hot depends on your taste)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 level teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • freshly ground salt and pepper
  • tin of tomatoes
  • can red kidney beans (in chilli sauce if you like your chilli a bit spicier)

Heat a frying pan and add the mince. Fry until the meat browns. Discard most of the excess fat and add the onion, celery and red pepper. Fry for about 5 minutes until softening.

Meanwhile blend the chilli powder with the vinegar, sugar, tomato puree and seasoning. Add to the pan with the tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes. If you’re serving immediately add the kidney beans for the last 10 minutes of cooking; if freezing, don’t add the beans until you come to reheat.

Serve with freshly boiled rice.

To freeze, allow the chilli to cool and then place in a freezer-proof container or bag. Seal and freeze.

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