We have had a big change in our family schedule in this last little while.. Bil starting a new job and my hours picking up have not left as much time for cooking as I have been used to (...which is so sad for me!) We each need to take a lunch to work--and everyone needs a delicious hot dinner, so I have been trying to make more "multiple meal" meals. This makes life a little easier, and leaves a little more time for other things--like building Barbie Mansions out of cardboard boxes.
Multiple mealing means that we can get at least 2 dinners and a few lunches out of 1 preparation--all you need is a freezer and some suitable containers to put the leftovers in. Some of our favourites are chili, homemade soup, spaghetti sauce, dahl, and stew--I promise to share all the recipes over the next while...
As an aside, here are some of the criteria that my multiple meals must meet:
*cost effective ( under $1 per serving)
*easy to prepare--not too fidly farty (that is a technical term, BTW...) to prepare
*must taste better as a "left-over"
*no fancy ingredients--just items I usually have in the fridge or pantry
This recipe came from my Mom, who got it from a friend of hers many moons ago...I have altered it slightly, of course (as those of you who know me will understand, I do to almost EVERY recipe that crosses my kitchen :)
2 lbs ground beef or turkey (or a combo)
1 chopped onion
a couple of celery stalks, chopped
6-10 mushrooms sliced
2 cloves garlic chopped or pressed
3 grated potatoes
2 grated carrots
1/3 cup lentils *
2 cans favourite tomato sauce
2 cans diced tomatoes (preferably no salt added)
2 cans of red kidney beans
1 can of mixed beans (like 9-bean mix)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1tsp crushed chillies
salt and pepper
(any other seasoning you cannot live without :)
In a large pan brown ground beef, drain off fat if necessary. Add onion, garlic, mushrooms and celery. Cook until onion is translucent. Mix meat mixture in crock pot with all other ingredients and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3-4 hours. This recipe is VERY accommodating--add more or less of whatever you like--feel free to experiment a little to get it how you like it!
*TIP: I always add a couple hand fulls of red lentils to chili, and spaghetti sauce. They add extra nutrition and they help to soak up some of the extra liquid so that your sauce isn't watery.