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 easily turn it into multiple meals, with a change of herbs and spices, ready to store in the freezer and use over the coming month.
How to Make Multiple Meals
It is a really simple process. You cook a whole batch of mince using a basic recipe (see below) and once cooked, split it into portions adding the different herb and spice combinations to each one, which will provide you with multiple meals.
To make the process even easier, I use my slow cooker. You can literally dump all your basic ingredients in, switch it on and let it cook slowly. Once ready, split the batch of mince into four equal portions using food storage containers which are suitable for the freezer.
Decide what you would like to turn the four batches into and add the appropriate herbs and spices. You now have four meals which you can freeze ready for use throughout the month.
I like to split my four portions (each enough to serve 4 people) into Bolognese (1), Chilli (2) and Lasagne (1).
Bulk out your Meals
To make your one batch of mince go further and to ensure you get the full four portions, you need to bulk out your meat. A quick Google will provide you with many different ingredients to add to bulk out your mince and I have tried many of them. My favourite has to be porridge oats.
Whenever I use mince, I always add porridge oats to the mixture to bulk it out. The oats are cheap, a great source of fibre, they reduce the fat content of the whole meal and help to lower cholesterol. The oats literally dissolve into the mince mixture which means they cannot be detected by fussy eaters and there is no change to the final flavour of the meal.
Bulking out your meals means you will be able to make savings on the amount of mince that you have to buy.
Basic Mince Recipe
This makes 4 batches of 4 portions (16 portions in total)
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 below 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 to your slow cooker (apart from the beef which is browning) – go on, chuck it all in.
3. Give it all a good stir.
4. One the mince has browned, drain off any fat 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 little plastic tubs.
You could just use some bowls or you could just add your herbs and spices directly once it’s finished cooking. I do mine in advance as I want to just chuck everything in quickly at the end of the day so we can eat.
It is entirely up to you to choose your combinations. If you only like one mince meal then you could add your herbs and spices into the mince mixture whilst cooking and then just portion the mixture out. If you want to be able to split your mince mixture into multiple meals, then choose a spice combination below or add your own.
Herb and Spice Combinations
Here are the herb and spice combinations that I use regularly. 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.
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 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 portioned basic mince mixture in 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 as 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).
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