Do you ever find yourself wondering what to make for dinner? Just not having the time or energy to cook? Or perhaps you just want to make the most of a great deal in the supermarket? Then the answer might be meal kits, my favourite version of freezer "cooking." This method lets you make a lot of meals very quickly, without slaving over a hot stove. Infact these 14 meals weren't even made in my kitchen, I used the dining table since it's bigger! They are all things that will go in the slow cooker so all I need to do is tip one in first thing and I'll have a freshly cooked meal to put on the table in the evening. Perfect!
Step one - The Plan
The first step is to make a plan. I had lots of meat delivered at a discount price from Muscle foods so my plan was made around that. If you find a good offer on chicken it would make sense to include lots of chicken meals. I planned about two of each recipe, not so many that we would get bored of the same thing. Of course you will want to consider your family's likes and dislikes, special diets and so on. No two families will want the same things! Be sure to note down which recipe books or websites you got your ideas from, it saves a lot of time later.
Next I find it helps to put everything in one place, to save flicking backwards and forwards through all those different books. I just put the name of each recipe and a list of the ingredients. Having all my recipes on one or two pages really does make life easier. And from there you can write your shopping list. As well as the ingredients you will want to stock up on freezer bags to put all your meals in. I find that it's worth buying slightly more expensive bags with zip type tops, but whatever you choose you definitely want freezer, rather than sandwich, bags.
Step Two - Ready to Go
I have a really tiny kitchen so I actually do these meal kits at the dining room table instead, it just gives me a bit more space. It also means you can sit down while you work! If you plan to do the same you will need to gather everything together before you start, from ingredients to utensils. Don't forget a bin bag for peelings and some kitchen roll or a cloth to wipe any spills up quickly, especially if you have a carpet.
Step Three - MeatI like to deal with all the meat first. Once that is done I can wash my hands and utensils really well then not worry too much about cross contamination. After all, a bit of carrot juice on the outside of a bag is very different to raw chicken. First I label all the bags with the name of the dish, the fact that it needs slow cooking, anything to be added later and the date. Then I get chopping. I do aim to keep one hand "clean", for holding the knife, opening bags etc, and use the other for actually touching raw meat.
You may find that meat goes a bit further as you chop it up. The chicken breasts I had were quite big so I allowed 3/4 per person instead of one each. Just chop away and divide between the bags. After the chicken I moved onto the other meat, which was already cut up. I had enough beef to do an extra meal which was a nice surprise! Then wash up, I swapped to a different chopping board as well.