When we have a bad day, even the smallest tasks seem like trying to scale the most overwhelming mountain in flipflops. But we know that to help us as much as possible, we need to eat a healthy balanced diet. So, whilst curling up in a ball with a family size bar of chocolate may seem like the most tempting idea in the world, it is not going to help us in the long run.

Yes, when things are bad I accept that we can’t always prepare a lavish meal but we therefore need to prepare as much as we can in advance so that when the cloud descends, we are ready for it. Before the start of the Autumn Term in Tomsett-Rowe Towers, we had an enormous cook up, producing 90 meals which only need to be bunged in the microwave, slow cooker or reheated in a pan on the stove, and now I’m free to use a good day for other things, or give into a bad day without worry.

For this section, we'll be looking at two methods for preparing food in advance.

SLOW COOKING
MEAT RECIPES
VEGETARIAN RECIPES

DUMP MEALS

pexels-photo-435798.jpeg

SLOW COOKING

I wouldn’t get by without my slow cooker (also known as a crock pot) and regularly use it to make large quantities of food for two portions that night and more to freeze. Slow cookers don’t have to be hideously expensive and can range from £20 to £70 depending on size and functions.

During a recent sale on Amazon I invested in a magic machine called an Instant Pot. The Instant Pot is a slow cooker and pressure cooker all in one and also allows you to sauté, steam and ‘fry’ your ingredients. They are absolutely incredible and hugely recommended. I made a Vietnamese Pho the other day- the recipe should properly take between 24-48 hours for a thick rich bone marrow broth- we did it in 6 hours and it was spot on! 

Have a look at some of these options:

 

 

The best thing about slow cooking is making large quantities of food with minimal input and fuss. You can throw your ingredients in in the morning before work and supper is ready for you when you get home. You can also use the slow cooker (crock pot) for bulk preparation, preparing several portions at once and then freeze them for future use.

Try some of our favourite slow cooker recipes

 

dinnerthendessert.com

broccoli beef

lecremedelacrumb.com

3The-Best-Crockpot-BBQ-Chicken-FamilyFreshMeals.com-1.png

familyfreshmeals.com

4slow-cooker-shepherds-pie-4.jpg

shepherd's pie

bakingqueen74.co.uk

5Crock-Pot-French-Onion-Soup.png

momswithcrockpots.com

6slow-cooker-sweet-fire-chicken-3.jpg

lecremedelacrumb.com

HONEY GARLIC CHICKEN

damndelicious.com

8Slow-Cooker-Mongolian-Beef-www.thereciperebel.com-3.jpg

mongolian beef

reciperebel'com

9slow-cooker-chili3-srgb2..jpg

cookingclassy.com

1014443276007_f51698993b_c.jpg

italian meatballs

girlversusdough.com

VEGETARIAN SLOW COOKER

1Crock-Pot-Mac-Cheese.jpg

MAC AND CHEESE

theunbrokensmile.com

2Fat-Free-Slow-Cooker-Root-Vegetable-Soup-3.jpg

veggie soup

fussfreeflavours.com

3slow-cooker-sweet-potato-chilli.jpg

slowcookerclub.com

4Soul-Warming-Moroccan-Sweet-Potato-Lentil-Soup-6-300x420.jpg

littlespicejar.com

5Slow-Cooker-African-Inspired-Peanut-Stew-5-1.jpg

african peanut stew

thegirlonbloor.com

6R112932.jpg.rendition.largest.jpg

bhg.com

7curry.jpg

sweet potato curry

bbcgoodfood.com

slowcookergourmet.net

8slow-cooker-quinoa-enchilada-bake-srgb..jpg

enchilada quinoa bake

cookingclassy.com

10IMG_8004edit2.jpg

potato corn chowder

damndelicious.net


dump meals

Another option for meal planning comes in the form of the elegantly titled ‘dump’ meal. The idea is that you prep all of your ingredients in advance and freeze them. Then, when you are ready to get them out, you just defrost and dump them all in a pan and hey presto! Supper!

Some of my favourite dump meals include:

1freezer meal sweet garlic chickenA.jpg

sweet garlic chicken

plainchicken.com

2.jpg

laurengreutman.com

5Slow-Cooked-Pork-Tenderloin-7-1024x682.jpg

pork tenderloin

livingwellspendingless.com

You can also create dump meals for the slow cooker so that when you switch it on in the morning, you don’t have to lift a finger (or a knife) in preparation. You can freeze most of the recipes above in their raw form to turn them into dump meals.