Feeding your family is made easy with a little planning and preparation. Simple tools such as meal planners can save you money and time. Planning out your family’s dinner meals allows you to get a better understanding of the ingredients you require for these meals in creating your weekly or fortnightly shopping list. Make sure to check your pantry and fridge when meals planning so you can take stock of what you have and what you need.
Cooking classic family meals in bulk and freezing meals to assist with your weekly meal plan is also a great way to stretch the family budget. Here are some freezer-friendly recipes the whole family will enjoy
The ultimate comfort food, cheesy beef lasagna is the perfect meal to enjoy with your family, straight from the freezer this Winter.
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour, 30 mins
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1kg premium, lean beef mince
- 1 large brown onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 3 cups fresh tomato sauce (see related recipe)
- 1 teaspoon Masterfoods Oregano Leaves
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
- 5 fresh lasagne sheets
- 1 cup grated tasty cheese
- 50g butter
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook beef mince on a medium- high heat in batches, until browned. Transfer to a bowl.
Heat remaining oil in pan. Add brown onion. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until soft. Add garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Return mince to pan. Add tomato paste. Cook, stirring, to combine. Stir in tomato sauce and dried oregano. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in basil. Cool for 15 minutes.
Make the Cheesy sauce by melting butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until mixture is bubbling. Gradually stir in milk. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese. Season to taste.
Grease a large ovenproof dish. Ladle the a thin layer of meat mixture on the bottom of the dish and line the lasagne pasta sheets on the bottom of the dish. Spoon 1/3 of the mince over pasta. Top with 1/3 cup cheesy sauce. Repeat, finishing with pasta. Top with remaining sauce. Cool. Top with cheese. Cover with plastic wrap, then foil. Freeze for up to 2 months
Thaw lasagne in fridge overnight. Preheat oven to 1800°C/160°C fan-forced. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until lasagne is heated through. Stand for 10 minutes. Serve.
Great value and a crowd pleaser, Cottage Pie is a delicious Winter classic you can cook in bulk and re-heat as a family serving or individual portions for tasty work or school lunches.
Prep time: 35 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour, 50 mins
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1.5kg beef mince
- 2 brown onions, finely chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 celery sticks, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 large glass of red wine (optional)
- 850mL of quality beef stock
- 4 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- For the mash potato:
- 1.8kg of brushed potatoes, washed, peeled and quartered
- 225mL milk
- 25g butter
- 200g of shredded cheese
- Freshly grated nutmeg
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan and cook 1.5kg beef mince until browned – you may need to do this in batches. Set aside as it browns.
Put 2 tbsp olive oil into the pan, add 2 finely chopped onions, 3 chopped carrots and 3 chopped celery sticks and cook on a gentle heat until soft, about 20 mins.
Add 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, 3 tbsp plain flour and 1 tbsp tomato paste, increase the heat and cook for a few mins, then return the beef to the pan.
Pour over a large glass of red wine, if using, and boil to reduce it slightly before adding the 850mL beef stock, 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, a few thyme sprigs and 2 bay leaves.
Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 45 mins. By this time the gravy should be thick and coating the meat. Check after about 30 mins – if a lot of liquid remains, increase the heat slightly to reduce the gravy a little. Season well, then discard the bay leaves and thyme stalks.
Meanwhile, make the mash potato topping by adding 1.8kg potatoes (peeled and quartered) to a large saucepan and covering the potatoes with cold, salted water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender.
Drain the potatoes well, then allow to cool/dry for a few mins. Mash well with the 225mL milk, 25g butter, and three-quarters of the 200g shredded cheese, then season with freshly grated nutmeg and some salt and pepper.
If you are eating the Cottage Pie straight away portion the meat mixture into 2 ovenproof dishes. Pipe or spoon on the mash to cover. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and cook for 25-30 mins, or until the topping is golden.
If freezing the Cottage pie portion to eat later in the week, simply portion the meat mixture into large foil containers and spoon the mash potato on top to cover. Cover the mash potato with a sprinkle of cheese and place the lids on the containers, ready to top in the freezer.
Chicken Tikka Masala
Fancy a takeaway classic you can make ahead of time to reheat on a Friday night? This tasty, authentic Chicken Tikka Masala recipe will save you time and money.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 50 mins
- 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 25g of butter
- 4 brown onions, roughly chopped
- 6 tablespoons of chicken tikka masala paste
- 2 red capsicums, seeds removed and cut into chunks
- 8 chicken breasts (skinless), cut into 2.5cm cubes
- 2 x 400g cans of diced tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons of tomato passata
- 2 -3 tablespoons of mango chutney
- 150mL double cream
- 150mL natural yoghurt
- Chopped coriander to serve.
Heat 4 tbsp vegetable oil and 25g butter in a large, lidded casserole dish on a medium heat on the stove, then add 4 roughly chopped onions and a pinch of salt. Cook for 15-20 mins until soft and golden.
Add 6 tbsp chicken tikka masala paste and 2 red capsicums, cut into chunks, then cook for 5 mins more to cook out the rawness of the spices.
Add 8 skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2 ½ cm and stir well to coat in the paste. Cook for 2 mins, then tip in two 400g cans chopped tomatoes, 4 tbsp tomato passata and 200mL water.
Cover with a lid and gently simmer for 15 mins, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove the lid, stir through 2-3 tbsp mango chutney, 150ml double cream and 150ml natural yogurt, then gently warm through.
Season, and portion out the chicken tikka masala into clean & dry Tupperware containers with lids secured to freeze. If serving hot to the table, serve with basmati rice, naan bread and a sprinkle of coriander.
Slow Cooker Chicken Soup
Prepare the ingredients for this delicious chicken soup and pop them in the slow cooker in the morning to come home to an aromatic, hearty soup just in time for dinner. Add noodles to the soup at the end to bulk up the soup. Easy to make and store in the freezer, this is the ultimate Winter warmer to make in bulk for mid-week dinners and hearty work lunches.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 6 – 8 hours
Serves: 6 - 8
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped into 1.5cm pieces
- 2 leeks, halved and sliced
- 1 bay leaf and 3 thyme sprigs, tied together
- 1 whole, medium chicken
- 2L of quality chicken stock
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Half a small bunch of dill or parsley, finely chopped
- Crusty bread to serve (optional)
Set the slow cooker to low. Tip in the onion, celery, carrots and leeks and place in the bunch of herbs (bay leaf, thyme & dill or parsley). Sit the chicken on top of the vegetables and pour over the chicken stock. Cook for 6 - 8 hours.
Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and transfer to a board. Shred the meat from the bones using two forks, then return the meat to the slow cooker, discarding the bones. Season to taste and stir through the lemon juice.
Remove and discard the bunch of herbs. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the dill or parsley. Serve with crusty bread for an extra hearty meal.
Cherry Tomato & Margherita Pizza
An easy dinner options you can cook from the freezer and add your favourite toppings to, this pizza recipe is versatile and a cheaper, healthy alternative to Friday night takeaway pizza.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Serves: 2 (per pizza)
- 1 x pack of premium Lebanese bread
- 6 tablespoons of tomato paste or pizza base sauce
- Small bunch of basil leaves, shredded
- 2 punnets of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 250g mozzarella cheese ball
- 25g parmesan cheese
- 2 containers of bocconcini cheese
- Rocket and sliced black olives to serve (optional)
Line an oven tray with baking paper and place Lebanese bread onto tray.
Smear the Lebanese bread pizza bases with a generous helping of tomato paste.
Scatter on halved cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil on to the bases and top with parmesan cheese.
You can freeze the pizzas now, if you like, on the baking sheet, wrapped in cling film. To cook from frozen, remove the cling film and heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas. Bake for 10-14 mins until crisp and golden or if eating straight away, heat oven to 240C/220C fan/gas and cook for 8-12 mins, until crisp and golden.
Top with fresh rocket leaves, bocconcini cheese and sliced black olives (optional) before serving.