How to Make Multiple Meals from one batch of Mince
As a busy working mum, I still like to provide my family with home cooked meals as often as possible. Cooking once and eating multiple times is a lifesaver. I cook this mince once per month but turn it into multiple meals to store in the freezer. This post will show you how to make multiple meals from one batch of mince.
How it works
It is a really simple process. You cook a whole batch of mince and once cooked, split it into portions and add different flavourings to each one.
For example, I cook enough mince to make 16 portions (4 x meals for 4). I split this into four portions (each enough to serve 4 people) and then add herbs and spices to create different meals. From this one batch of mince I will make Bolognese, Chilli, Cottage Pie and lasagne.
Bulk out your Meals
Whenever I use mince, I always add porridge oats to the mixture to bulk it out. This means I can make savings on the amount of mince that I have to buy. The oats soften during the cooking process and no one will be able to tell they are in there. Not only does this save money but it reduces the fat content and oats are a whole grain which can aid digestion and the lowering of cholesterol. You can't lose really!
Basic Mince Recipe
4 large onions, chopped – I actually use ready chopped frozen onions which I defrost the night before
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 kg beef mince
200g Porridge oats
2 x 500g cartons of Passata
8 tbsp Tomato Puree
500 ml Beef Stock (if using stock cubes, use two cubes)
4 carrots, finely chopped – I use tinned, sliced carrots which I chop up finely
Salt and pepper to taste
Basic Mince Method
In the instructions above I have used my slow cooker but if you haven’t got one, you can just cook everything in a pan.
1. The mince is better browned, so the next thing to do is put this in a saucepan, on a medium heat, whilst you get on with everything else.
2. Add all the ingredients (apart from the beef which is browning) – go on, chuck it all in.
3. Give it all a good stir.
4. Drain any fat off the mince and add the mince to the slow cooker.
5. Give it another stir.
6. Put the slow cooker on ‘low’ and let it cook for 6-8 hours.
How to Create Multiple Meals
While it’s cooking, you can get your herbs and spices ready (see Herb and Spice Combinations below). I use these little plastic tubs.
You could just use some bowls or you could just add your herbs and spices once it’s finished cooking. I do mine in advance as I am usually going out and want to just chuck everything in quickly at the end of the day so we can eat.
Sometimes I turn mine in to one meal of Chill and three meals of Bolognese. Sometimes one meal of Lasagne, one meal of Chill and two meals of Bolognese. The choice is yours, that’s the beauty of this dish.
Herb and Spice Combinations
Here are the herb and spice combinations that I use regularly. You can, of course, use your own. If I am making a lasagne with some of my mince mixture then I add the Bolognese spice mix to that portion.
I have put ‘optional’ next to the Bay Leaves as I regularly run out of these and can honestly say I have not noticed a difference in the meal. If you do use the Bay Leaves, add them right at the end of the cooking time.
Please Note: The quantities below are for a 1/4 of the mince mix. You will need to adjust the amounts according to your requirements. For example, if you want to make 3/4 of the mix into Bolognese and 1/4 into Chilli, you will need to triple the herbs and spices for the Bolognese.
|1 tsp Dried Basil||1 tsp Chilli Powder or to taste||1 tsp mixed herbs|
|1 tsp Dried Rosemary||1 tsps ground Cumin||1 Bay leaf (optional)|
|1/2 tsp Dried Oregano||2 tsps Paprika|
|1 Bay leaf (optional)||1 tsp dried Oregano|
|1 Bay leaf (optional)|
|1 tin kidney beans|
Whenever I make a batch of mince, I also do so on a day when I am planning to use one portion as that evenings meal as it saves cooking another. The other three portions will be spooned into tubs suitable for the freezer (I use old butter cartons), I add the herbs and spices and give it a stir, then let it cool before putting in the freezer. Remember to write on the tub which flavour you have in there!
You could also just store the basic mince mixture to the freezer and then add the herbs and spices to it when reheating.
This is a really easy home cooked meal that will allow you to cook once and eat multiple times. You do not have to eat the same meal repetitively. You can tailor the flavours to your family’s favourites. It can be cooked in advance and reheated (defrost first if you are freezing it).
Let me know what you think in the comments below.