Monday 13 July 2015

Preparing some meals in advance

It's amazing what you can achieve when your child is in a better mood. I've basically spent the whole day preparing and cooking meals, mostly that can be frozen, for the week.

I decided to blog about some of the meals that I have made which can be prepared and frozen, they are pretty much suitable for us and Ella to eat.

Firstly, I made a classic bolognese sauce with mince and sausage that I've used to make a lasagna (which I will freeze in two portions) and portioned the rest into two freezer bags for a quick spaghetti later in the week if Ella is not so easy.

I've slightly adapted this "Best ever marinara sauce" recipe from The Cafe Sucre Farine by adding beef mince and some grated veges such as Zucchini and carrot - you can basically add any veges you want, it's a great recipe for disguising veg as it's slowcooked over 5 - 6 hours or in my case overnight in the slow cooker.



4  cans of whole peeled Italian tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 chopped onion
500gms Italian sausage (or any sausage you want)
1 kg beef mince (or you could use 500gms each of pork and beef)
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt (omit the salt if you are intending on feeding to a baby which is what I did)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
8 leaves fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (I didn't have any basil in the cupboard, so I left this out)


Drain tomatoes, reserving the juice. I used a stick blender to crush the tomatoes and removed any excess skin and tough cores. Set aside.

Heat oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add sausages and sauté until nice and brown on all sides. Remove sausages and drain on several thicknesses of paper towel. 

Add mince into the pain and cook until brown, remove any excess fat and set aside. 

Add onions to pan and saute for 5 minutes or until translucent and soft. Stir in garlic, basil, oregano and salt and saute for an additional 30 seconds.

Add tomatoes and reserved juice and bring to a boil. Cut up sausages and add to sauce along with all of the mince.

Tip the whole lot into a crockpot and turn on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.


I made a cheese sauce, one that my Mum taught me, in the microwave or you could do it on the stove top.



2 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Milk
2 tablespoons Flour
1/2 cup cheese (I used Tasty)

METHOD - For the sauce

Melt butter in a microwave proof bowl or on in a saucepan (if you are using a stove top)

Whisk in flour and return to microwave in 30second intervals for 1 minute.

Gradually whisk in milk and return to microwave in 30sec intervals until thickened to a consistency you want, too thick? add more milk.

Add grated cheese and return to microwafe for 30secs to a minute until melted.

Season with salt and pepper to taste (if not being fed to a baby)

For the lasagna

Layer mince, followed by oven ready lasagna sheets and then cheese sauce. Repeat until your happy with how many layers you have.

Bake in oven at 180 degrees celsius for 30 - 45mins until pasta is cooked and top with more cheese.

I left mine without cheese on top because I'm intending on freezing it. When I defrost it and heat up in the oven I'll add cheese and then serve with salad or veges.

Next I decided to try out a couple of recipes I found on My Lovely Little Lunchbox a amazing blog with recipes specifically for baby led weaning. Ella is on a mix of pureed food and baby led weaning finger foods so these recipes are perfect for her.

Generally, she has pureed fruit with baby cereal or porridge in the morning, finger foods at lunchtime and pureed vege and mince (such as the bolognese above) for dinner.

So, I was looking for a couple of nice finger foods, suitable for freezing, she can have at lunchtimes. I decided on, for now, the Vegetable Fritters and the Potato, Cheese and Onion Frittata.

First up,


1 medium carrot, grated

2 medium zucchini, grated

1 small sweet potato, grated

1 x 420 gram can of corn kernels, drained

a small handful of basil leaves, finely chopped ( I left this out)

zest of 1 lemon (I left this out)

1 cup (125 grams) plain flour

4 eggs

olive oil, to fry in

tomato wedges and fresh basil leaves, to serve


Place the carrot, zucchini, sweet potato, corn, basil, lemon zest, flour and eggs into a large mixing bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined. Heat a non stick frypan to low – medium heat and drizzle in a little olive oil. Take heaped tablespoons of the mixture and place into the frypan. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until golden, flip each fritter and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Place the cooked fritters onto a plate lined with kitchen paper and continue to cook until no batter remains. Serve alongside a simple salad of tomato wedges and basil leaves.

Ella certainly enjoyed these with her lunch today! Next up is this Potato, Cheese and Onion Frittata, without the onion, which I stupidly realised I didn't have! Again from My Lovely Little Lunchbox.


3 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1 onion, thinly sliced

4 sprigs of thyme

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 eggs

11/2 cups milk

3/4 cup parmesan grated, plus extra to top frittata

rocket and tomato wedges, to serve


Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius (390 F). Arrange potato and onion on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Top with thyme sprigs, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 30 minutes or until the potatoes and onions are cooked and slightly golden.

Meanwhile, place the eggs, milk and parmesan in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Place the cooked potato/onion in a fry pan lined with baking paper, pour over egg/milk mixture and top with a little extra parmesan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the frittata is cooked, puffed and slightly golden.

Serve alongside a simple salad of rocket and tomato wedges.

So, there you have it a few of the the meals I created today. I literally spent the whole day in the kitchen slaving away in the hopes of making dinner and lunchtimes a bit easier on me.

What are some of your favourite, easy, freezable go to meals? Let me know in the comments so I can give them a try!

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