We have a really small kitchen and no dishwasher so rather than spend the weekday evenings cooking and cleaning and washing up I've started batch cooking up lunches, tea's and sauce bases on a Sunday afternoon. This avoids naughty snacks in the week and is really helping to save money as it avoids no lunches to take to work when I'm out in the evening. Firstly and most importantly you need all the tuppaware. Some (my boyfriend) say I have too much tuppaware but I really disagree. Above I've listed some of my favourites. Tesco clip & lock food storage container £3, £6.50 & £8.75. Ikea food storage set of 17 containers for £3, blue lunch box £3.75, pack of 3 blue lidded containers £2.50, & transparent container with vent £2.75.
Clip and lock tuppaware is necessary if you're taking anything remotely juicy outside of the house. However I find the cheaper push lid storage perfect for freezing and storing prepared food. The tuppawares with the little vents in the top are great for storing soup as you can warm it up in the container without making a huge mess in the microwave.
For me Sunday afternoons are the best time to prep food I do Monday and Tuesday's lunches/ snacks and a variety of sauce bases and dinners that can be frozen. My favorite meals to cook and freeze are anything with beef mince as a base.
I like to think I make a mean chilli con carne and it tastes so good out of the pan however frozen and left for a little while it tastes even better. The little meals I make and freeze don't last long in this house but I think a rule of thumb is to scribble the date you made it on a little sticker on the lid and don't leave it any longer than a month before thoroughly defrosting and heating through. I avoid cooking things like poultry or rice in advance as these kind of foods are always rife with bacteria I also think freezing them does nothing extra for taste and they cook up so quickly it's not really worth it.
A decent tomato pasta sauce made from scratch is a must have for me - my freezer is full of small tuppawares with them in as it's so handy to grab if I'm eating alone to mix in some chicken or tuna and eat over pasta. Takes little to no time and avoids grabbing naughty treats.
For lunches I always head for roasted veg, bulgar wheat and grilled turkey and a spoonful of the tomato sauce I've knocked up - on a Sunday I can get away with cooking up meals for the following 2 days and then I'll try something else on a Tuesday evening for the following 2 days if I can however we mostly love the veg bulgar wheat combo in our house.
The final thing I'm currently obsessed with is batch cooking and freezing a homemade soup. This is another recipe that tastes better after a little while in the freezer - check out my butternut squash recipe here.I always have at least 3 portions of this stored in the freezer it's the perfect tea if I'm rushing about or going swimming as it's so quick to defrost and warm through and super filling.