Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Meals for the week ahead

If you live by yourself, you may resort to ready made meals, as the easy solution. The price may be low enough to tempt you to pick up a frozen product to put into your microwave. You may, however, with a little planning prepare meals for the coming week in one operation.

For me this has been a success when I have had time to do it. I do not mind eating a good stew several days in a row. If you prepare a large portion cool it down and fill up containers, one for each day. In this way you may come home, take out one, place it in the microwave and - hey presto, dinner!!

Many stews (if properly cooled down when you first made it) will keep for at least three days in the fridge. Excess portions may be put in the freezer for later use. When you reheat it you can spice it up by adding cheese or chili flakes for variation.

You may also do as I did, buying two chicken weighing 1300 grams, or a little under 3 lbs each, paying €10 for both, a bargain for 10 portions. I made sure that the birds had an acceptable use-by date

I made a marinade of 10 cl olive oil and 3-4 tbsp of seasoning, I used Tone's Rosemary Garlic Seasoning, sold in 20 oz containers. It is delicious!! I allowed the marinade to infuse over night. I took out the chicken, stuffed the cavity with shallots, small onions, and I diced carrots, and cut potatoes, onions, and placed them all in a baking tray. Added a little oil, seasoning, and water. Then I placed the chicken on top of the vegetables, brushed the marinade on the birds and placed them on low heat, 120C, or 250F for 4 hours. At this point the vegetables are tender and the chicken super tender.

Cool the vegetables and chicken. Separate the chicken in 4 parts, two breasts and two thighs, put them two and two in zip lock bags and freeze. I had 8 portions of chicken, I kept two in the fridge for next days dinner, froze down 6 and the carcass of the birds - the latter very good for soups. Take out 200 grams of potatoes and 100 grams onions for the first dish and freeze the rest.

Next days dinner

The next day I made a potato and onion soup. For two portions I used.

200 grams of oven baked potatoes, shelled and diced
100 grams oven baked shallots
2 cubes of chicken stock
3-4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons curry powder
10 cl double cream
2 chicken breasts, diced

Heat water, add the stock cubes, and allow them to dissolve. Add potatoes and onions and boil for 5 minutes. Pour stock and vegetables in a liquidizer and blend until smooth. Pour back into casserole and reheat, then add cream, curry powder, and sugar to balance the taste. Boil gently for 10 minutes. Add the chicken and heat through.

Have a nice and healthy dinner.

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