As a mother of five in a family of seven, it will probably come as no surprise to you that things can get hectic around the house! Between extracurricular activities, homework, housework, bonding time and everything else in between, sometimes it is oh so tempting to delve into the freezer for quick meals or to order a takeaway or even just go out for food. Another way to easily store and make soup is to buy a soup maker. This is probably the best solution.
However, I pride myself on being a cook; it’s what this blog is all about! A solution for those jam-packed days is to cook something in batch that will keep for the rest of the week, is suitable for freezing and is an all-round life saver! Any of these dishes can be frozen and thawed, or kept for at least three days in an airtight container. They can be popped into lunchboxes or heated up for family dinner, they really are so versatile.
Chilli con Carne
Chilli con Carne is an old favourite of the family and is perfect for cold nights, summer BBQs and everything else in between. Fry up some onions in olive oil and, once they’re soft, throw in 1kg of lean minced beef. Cook the beef until brown then stir in two cans of chopped tomato, stir in some red and yellow peppers, kidney beans and chilli and paprika and there you have it! Serve with rice when you’re ready to eat it and add some cheese for extra flavour. This makes a huge batch so you might want to separate it into more friendly portions before freezing.
Pumpkin and Bacon Soup
Yes, you can even freeze soup! The bacon in this gives it a great smoky edge and adds that all-important protein. Heat oil and a knob of butter in a pan and add chopped onion and salt, cook this for 10 minutes. Add the bacon, pumpkin and some vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the pumpkin is soft. Pour in some single cream and boil again. Remove from the heat and blend everything up, adding more vegetable stock if you want it thinner. The best way to freeze soup is by pouring it into bags, when it’s time to defrost just cut the bag and peel it away from the frozen soup – it’s much easy to add to a pan this way.
Place chicken breasts with salt and pepper in a baking tray and cook them on the hob on high heat until they are cooked nicely and place them to one side. Put red peppers and a chilli pepper in the same tray until they’re soft then pour in a generous amount of red wine, add chopped tomatoes and stir everything up. Grab the chicken from before and place it in the sauce before covering in foil and baking for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take the tray out, uncover and cook again for 15 minutes. When you come to eating this, it goes amazing with pretty much anything! Mashed potato, rice, chips, anything you can dream up!