Cook ahead and cash in on family time

Just Ella Bella

Eleanor Douglas-Meyers is a crafty mom from Uitenhage who writes about DIY, parenting, natural hair care, fashion, food and fun on her blog, JustEllaBella Today she looks at planning family meals ahead.



I am by no means an expert BUT I can say that cooking ahead is really working for our family.

Leaving home at 6am and getting back at 6pm means very little time with my little family. So cooking ahead means we can go for a walk together or hang out in what would usually be our cooking time.

Then we pop a meal in the oven or microwave and we have home-cooked meals without the fuss (well there is fuss … every second Sunday there is a lot of fuss). But I’m loving it and wanted to share tips with anyone considering this.

Tips to Cooking Ahead

Get containers! We are using disposable ones at the moment as I wanted to see how it goes. If all goes well, I am upgrading to freezer and microwave-safe bowls, because I don’t like waste (the planet and all). For now my containers are from Mambos.

  • Work out a menu for the period you are cooking for. We go for two weeks at a time, and that works out to 14 meals X 2 (Rob and I). Aidan’s food is still prepared from scratch because we have #pickyeaterproblems. I am hoping to add meals for him on the next round though.
  • Make a note of what you have in the container ON the container, and also note when you froze it, so you don’t end up with a dodgy left-over casserole at Christmas time.
  • Try to make meals that can work together and cut down cooking time. For instance, we made pasta with a bolognese sauce, but also froze some of the bolognese as a filler for rotis. That gives two meals in one go.
  • Sides can be frozen separately, so you can chop and change depending on your mood. Sooo what will I have with this steamed fish … will it be corn? peas? McCain Country Crop it is (I buy the small R10 bags of frozen vegetables, so I don’t even have to prepare and freeze it myself, I just pop it in the steamer).
  • Have a little notebook on the fridge so you can tick off what you have eaten, that way you know what you are working with.

Good luck and enjoy 🙂

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