BUSY family life can often mean cooking meals from scratch falls by the wayside.
But one working mum has claimed how you can whip up a week's worth of meals in just two hours that are both cheap and nutritious.
Writing in her new book Cook The Week In Two Hours, author and food stylist Caroline Pessin explains how you can batch-cook enough dinners for Monday to Friday – and beyond, if you wish – in a couple of hours at the weekend.
She claims that it means there's just 15 minutes prep time each night to get dishes from Tupperware to table in the mid-week madness.
The £20 book features sixteen different menus grouped by the season.
Each menu then features seven recipes – including five main dishes and two starters for when the mains are lighter.
- 4 large or 8 mediuk tomatoes for stuffing
- 4 tomatoes on the vine
- 6 courgettes
- 1 aubergine
- 5 red peppers
- 3 large potatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 1 lemon
- 1 bunch fresh coriander
- 1 bunch basil
- 6 garlic cloves
- 4 onions
- 4 chicken legs
- 400g minced beef
- 8 slices Parma ham
- 170g creme fraiche
- Approximately 60g goats cheese
- 150g mozzarella
- 170g feta
- 2 balls pizza dough
- 1 sheet-ready rolled pastry
- 150g pitted black olives
- 250g white rice
- 150g quinoa
- 440ml passata
- 450g penne pasta
- Herbes de Provence
Recipes are designed for a family of four, and ingredients are readily-available in most supermarkets.
Pessin recommends stocking up on basic foods, like rice, pasta, flour and olive oil, that feature regularly in dishes.
You'll also need a stock pot, frying pan and three saucepans, as well as other basic tools such as baking trays and mixing bowls.
To keep food fresh in the fridge or freezer, you'll also need around 15 glass containers with airtight lids –
you can buy sets from Amazon and IKEA for under £20.
Monday: Quinoa tabbouleh, followed by a main course of chicken legs and ratatouille
Tuesday: Parma ham and vegetable pizza
Wednesday: Courgette, olive and chicken pasta
Thursday: Goats cheese ratatouille turnovers to start, with stuffed tomaotes and rice as a main
Friday: Family-sized vegetable pasta salad
Pessin believes her philosophy will "alleviate the stress of making dinner each night for your family", as well as allowing for more family time, reducing food wastage and saving money that might have been spent on pricey takeaways and ready meals.
Testing the method, journalist and mum-of-two Antonia Hoyle wrote for Femail that her total bill for buying the ingredients detailed in the book for five family dinners was £58.26 – two-thirds of what she would normally spend.
Five family dinners cost me just £58.26
The author recommends setting all your ingredients and equipment out before you start to save time.
Hoyle revealed she was able to cook everything in one hour and 56 minutes, with 20 minutes set-up before and another 15 minutes afterwards for washing up.
Yesterday, we told you how a dad of seven has revealed the clever ways he has baby-proofed his home – from a custom built dining-table to a "baby-bus" with in-built TV.
We also revealed how a mum has transformed her boring garden shed into a giant ladybird blackboard for her kids – and it cost £9 from Wilko.
And a mum was left horrified when her one-year-old IKEA oven exploded leaving shattered glass all over her kitchen.
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