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Cook once, meals for a week

Cook once, meals for a week

Set aside three hours on a Sunday and do some pre-cooking for a week of easy dinners.

All it takes is one Sunday afternoon cooking session to have dinner sorted for the week ahead! With our three-part process, simply prepare the base mix recipes, store them in the fridge/freezer, then just assemble and/or finish off cooking on the day for fast weeknight dinners.

Part 1: What to do on Sunday

Before you start, make sure you have…

For cooking/prepping

  • All ingredients from shopping list (see below)
  • Large roasting dish with lid to roast chicken (Roasted chicken, see Part 2: Base mix recipes below). You can use a large open pan if a covered one is unavailable
  • Large roasting bag for chicken
  • Large non-stick saucepan
  • Sharp knives
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Blender or food processor
  • Kitchen timer
  • Large amount of storage space in your fridge
  • Space in your freezer

For storage and labelling

  • Containers/freezer bags
  • Large lidded jar for slaw dressing
  • Labels and marker pens

Food safety tips

  • Wash and dry hands before handling food and after handling raw meat and poultry. Remember 20+20: wash for 20 seconds, dry for 20 seconds.
  • Wash knives, utensils, and chopping boards in hot soapy water and dry between preparation of different foods.
  • Wash vegetables.
  • Place raw meat and chicken in sealed containers at the bottom of the fridge so there’s no danger

Preparing base mixes

  • Preheat oven to 190°C. Begin with preparing and cooking Roasted chicken (see Part 2: Base mix recipes below).
  • While chicken is cooking, prepare Chunky roasted potato mix (see Part 2: Base mix recipes below) and add to oven to cook for 1 1/2 hours. Respray and toss potatoes halfway through.
  • Prepare Tomato, capsicum and mushroom sauce mix (see Part 2: Base mix recipes below) and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Prepare Coleslaw mix and dressing for slaw (see Part 2: Base mix recipes below). Remove tomato sauce from pan and leave to cool.
  • Remove chicken from oven. Leave for 5 minutes before cutting from bag, taking care not to burn yourself on steam. Leave to cool. Check on potatoes and remove from oven.
  • Prepare Beef stir-fry mix (see Part 2: Base mix recipes below).
  • Remove chicken meat from carcass (save the carcass to use for stock).

Dividing base mixes

Store prepared base mixes in correct portion sizes (in fridge or freezer as indicated). Label sealed containers or bags accordingly.

BASE MIX LABELS STORAGE
Roasted chicken (2 portions) Mon: Chicken pot pie Fridge
Wed: Chicken and barley salad Fridge
Chunky roasted potato mix (3 portions) Mon: Chicken pot pie Fridge
Wed: Chicken and barley salad Fridge
Fri: Baked fish Freezer
Tomato sauce mix (3 portions) Mon: Chicken pot pie Fridge
Tue: Cheesy bake Fridge
Thu: Beef curry Freezer
Coleslaw mix and dressing (4 portions) Mon: Chicken pot pie Fridge
Tue: Cheesy bake Fridge
Wed: Chicken and barley salad Fridge
Fri: Baked fish Fridge
Beef stir-fry mix (2 portions) Tue: Cheesy bake Fridge
Thu: Beef curry Freezer

Top tips for successful freezing

  • Foods to be frozen should be as fresh as possible.
  • Cool foods completely before freezing. Freezing food when hot will increase the temperature of the freezer and could cause other foods to start defrosting.
  • Never refreeze anything that has already been frozen.
  • Make sure you wrap foods properly and put them in a sealed container or bag.
  • Freeze items in the quantities suggested so you have no wastage.
  • Remove as much air as possible from items being packed in freezer bags.
  • Label foods clearly with a marker pen. Date items if you are not going to eat during the planned week.
  • Defrost food thoroughly before cooking. Remove from the freezer the night before cooking the following day and store in the fridge.

Shopping list

Fresh vegetables and fruit

  • 1 large bulb garlic (11 cloves)
  • 3 lemons
  • 8 sprigs rosemary
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 4-5 shallots or 1 onion
  • 4cm piece fresh ginger
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cups mushrooms
  • 9 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 3 red chillies
  • 800g new potatoes
  • 2 orange kumara
  • 2 purple kumara
  • 4 medium-sized (600g) potatoes
  • 10 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 cabbage — red or green or a mix
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 red onion
  • 12 spring onions
  • 8 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander or basil
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil
  • 200g baby rocket
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 stick lemongrass

Frozen vegetables

  • 200g free-flow spinach
  • 1 pack filo pastry (6 sheets)

Chilled items

  • 4 tablespoons reduced-fat crème fraîche
  • 8 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3/4 cup low-fat plain yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 teaspoons Garden Gourmet Mediterranean Paste

Meat, poultry and fish

*Buy fresh on Friday

  • 1 size 20 fresh roasting chicken
  • 900g eye fillet beef steak
  • 4 x 150g portions snapper*

Bottles/canned products and dry goods

  • 2 wholegrain tortillas
  • 400g red kidney beans in spring water
  • 400g can chickpeas in spring water
  • 1 cup wholegrain rice
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup sultanas
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 4 teaspoons curry paste
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup barley
  • 1/3 cup raw cashew nuts
  • 2 tablespoons wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 cup semi-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup liquid reduced-salt vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, pecans or sultanas

Seasonings and pantry staples

Check your pantry to see what you already have in store:

  • olive oil
  • oil spray
  • salt, to season
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • paprika (2 teaspoons)
  • Tuscan seasoning (2 teaspoons)
  • dried herbs (1 teaspoon)
  • white wine vinegar (4 tablespoons)
  • wholegrain mustard (2 tablespoons)
  • chilli powder (2 teaspoons)

Part 2: Base mix recipes

Here are the base mix recipes (see Part 3: Your week of dinners below for the daily recipes).

Roasted chicken

Makes 2 portions
Total cost $17.95
Hands-on time 20 mins, cooking time 1 1/2 hrs

  • 1 size 20 fresh roasting chicken
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2-1 lemon, sliced or quartered
  • 1 stick lemongrass, with outer husk discarded, remaining stalk bashed
  • 4 sprigs thyme or rosemary
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Tuscan seasoning

Step 1 Preheat oven to 190°C. Skin chicken (use scissors). Fill chicken cavity with garlic, lemon, lemongrass and herb sprigs.

Step 2 Place chicken in a roasting bag. Place in an ovenproof pot or dish. Pour wine, paprika and seasoning into bag and seal. Cover and cook in oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Step 3 To cool before tearing off chicken, remove from pot or dish. Stand for 5 minutes before cutting bag open. Remove chicken meat from carcass (about 3 cups chicken meat). Divide in 2 portions and label Chicken filo pot pie (Monday) and Chicken and barley salad (Wednesday).

No dairy
Make it gluten free: Check paprika and Tuscan seasoning are gluten free

Beef stir-fry mix

Makes 2 portions
Total cost of mix $46.60
Time to make 20 mins plus marinating

  • 900g lean beef eye fillet
  • 4-5 small shallots or 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander
  • 4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, grated or finely chopped

Step 1 Cut beef in even-sized chunks and place in a non-metallic dish. Place remaining ingredients in a blender and process until finely chopped. Add to beef.

Step 2 Toss to coat evenly. Divide in 2 portions and label Beef and tortilla cheesy bake (Tuesday) and Beef curry (Thursday).

No dairy
Gluten-free

Tomato, capsicum and mushroom sauce mix

Makes 3 portions
Total cost of mix $13.80
Time to make 25 mins

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup liquid reduced-salt vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 red capsicum, deseeded, chopped
  • 1/3 cup semi-dried tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon no-added-salt tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs

Step 1 Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is softened and lightly golden. Add tomatoes and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, coating with oil.

Step 2 Add stock and water with remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 3 Divide in 3 portions and label Chicken filo pot pie (Monday), Beef and tortilla cheesy bake (Tuesday) and Beef curry (Thursday).

Vegetarian
No dairy
Make it gluten free: Use gluten-free stock and tomato paste

Chunky roasted potato mix

Makes 3 portions
Total cost of mix $30.30
Hands-on time 15 mins, cooking time 1 1/2 hrs

  • 800g baby potatoes, scrubbed, halved
  • 2 orange kumara, scrubbed, cut in chunks
  • 2 purple kumara, scrubbed, cut in chunks
  • 4 medium-sized potatoes (600g), scrubbed, cut in chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • oil spray
  • 10 fresh sage leaves or 6 sprigs rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small lemon, grated zest
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Step 1 Preheat oven to 190°C. Place all potatoes in a large ovenproof dish. Add remaining ingredients. Toss to coat evenly.

Step 2 Bake for 1 1/2 hours, tossing once half-way through, and spray with oil if needed until lightly golden.

Step 3 Divide in 3 portions and label Chicken filo pot pie (Monday), Chicken and barley salad (Wednesday) and Baked fish with slaw and potatoes (Friday).

Vegetarian
No dairy
Gluten-free

Coleslaw mix

Makes 4 portions
Total cost of mix $18.60
Time to make 25 mins

Coleslaw

  • 1 (500g) red or green cabbage, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated or peeled in ribbons
  • 2 courgettes, grated or curled (with a peeler)
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, pecans or sultanas
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Dressing

  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
  • 8 tablespoons low-fat plain yoghurt
  • 4 tablespoons reduced-fat crème fraîche
  • 8 tablespoons orange juice
  • 8 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander or fresh basil

Step 1 In a large bowl mix all coleslaw ingredients, tossing well.

Step 2 Place all dressing ingredients into a large lidded jar. Secure then shake/blend ingredients together. Chill.

Step 3 Divide coleslaw in 4 portions for Chicken filo pot pie (Monday), Beef and tortilla cheesy bake with slaw (Tuesday), Chicken and barley salad with potatoes (Wednesday) and Baked fish with slaw and potatoes (Friday).

Vegetarian
Make it gluten free: Use gluten-free mustard

Part 3: Your week of dinners

Using the Base mixes (see Part 2 above), here are your dinner recipes for the week.

Monday: Chicken filo pot pie with slaw

Tuesday: Beef tortilla cheesy bake with slaw

Wednesday: Chicken and barley salad with potatoes

Thursday: Beef curry with rice

Friday: Baked fish with slaw and potatoes




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