© Adobe Stock
Too often, we sometimes wonder what we will eat in the evening to end up with an industrial dish like lasagna or pizza or even a snack for food. Which may be nice at times, but full of guilt in terms of health and portfolio. Group cooking is a trend that is exploding in the network because it responds to a truly global desire: to eat better, for less, easily. The principle is very simple: you think of a menu for next week (the menu should be set for Thursday or Friday), list the necessary ingredients (preferably with more economical and much better seasonal products) and go shopping. All you have to do is sit quietly on a weekend, a priori Sunday afternoon, and cook meals for the whole week in a row before putting them in the fridge and freezing. It’s a real cooking moment, a habit to deal with, an organization to set up, but it frees up all the coming week making sure you eat home without having to go back to the supermarket and let yourself tempted. things that would be superfluous. The time saved is considerable because instead of spending time preparing your meals every day, you prepare them all at once, the main thing is to take advantage of the cooking time of one recipe to prepare another. Washing and cleaning the kitchen are also concentrated in one day, in short saving energy and resources. In addition, by cooking all your ingredients at once, you no longer keep raw foods in the refrigerator, which reduces the risk of foods spoiling or exceeding their expiration date. You start the week right. At first glance, this may seem tetaning as it requires setting a new weekend standard, but when you think about it, it greatly facilitates the next 5 or 6 days (depending on whether you decide to include Saturday in your kitchen plan or not , leaving a day off). It is very practical: every evening of the week, everything will already be ready, there is no need to think about what you are going to prepare and especially there is no need for much preparation. Simply collect and heat ready meals.
First thing, you need storage boxes for the fridge and freezer. If you cook on Sunday, the first two or three meals of the week, depending on their content, can simply be placed in the fridge. Weekend food should be picked up and removed the day before or on the morning of the day of consumption. Put only the completely cooled preparations in the freezer and mark the name of the food and the date of freezing. For economic and ecological reasons, you prefer washable and reusable containers. These should be able to be tightly closed to prevent oxidation and drying of food. Buy a notebook in which you will list the various menus you have prepared in order to choose from the tested recipes.
Many group cooking enthusiasts have invested in a slow cooker (Crock-Pot or Cookeo). Save time (and taste) with an appliance that will cook one dish of the week while you do the rest, in quantities that will allow you to raise two to three servings for the next two or three weeks. This will free up the oven or a piano. Do not hesitate to consider this option, it is crazy.
To make your life easier, imagine a repetition in your menus. In this season, nothing prevents you from doing the following: Your 5 meals of the week may include a delicious cake, meat or fish with vegetables and starch, a vegetable meal, a gratin or a soup with a piece of bread and a zierje. your choise.
If this is your first batch, the first thing you need to do is make an inventory of the contents of your cupboards, freezer and refrigerator. The goal in the first sessions is to empty the entire stock as much as possible. The savings start by reducing the first runs using what you already have. Write down all of these ingredients and consider using them in your first menus. After that, you will buy only what you need for your menu.
Then list the 5 dishes you make most often (meat loaves, sausages, meatballs, melted dishes, pasta, soup, etc.) and analyze what you buy for vegetables and types of protein (meat and fish). Then list what you want to add to your daily preparations, it’s time to reshape your diet (vegetables you don’t usually buy, canned legumes, whole grains like quinoa or black rice, curry pastries, etc.) . Then we gather to change our habits without restrictions. Add a can of legumes to a bolo (which can cook itself in a slow cooker and make 5 to 6 servings at once), a piece of oats instead of egg to meat loaves and derivatives, a can of coconut milk to a sauce that you can use it for two days on chicken then a pumpkin in pieces for vegetable meal etc. See what are the fruits and vegetables of the moment, you will find on the Net the tables of Belgian season products. Choose some that will be your star ingredients for the menu. One of the principles of the group: use the same ingredient or the same preparation in several dishes to facilitate the work. Notice the seasonal ingredients you like, you can make a list that will allow you to extract from them each week. Lastly, look for current promotions where you usually buy to take advantage of the extra savings.
In addition to reusing the same ingredient in several recipes, what saves even more time is having joint preparations. For example, a bolo sauce can be served with pasta and then serve as the base for a chili pepper. A vegetable puree can be served as an accompaniment and then used to make shepherd’s pie or to finish with croquettes. A ratatouille will be a light accompaniment then a delicious pie filling and / or a filling with stuffed tomatoes or peppers mixing it with minced meat or rice. Instead of chopping 3 zucchini, wait 6 or 7, it only takes a few more minutes.
The idea of the weekly menu
The main ingredients of this menu proposal are used in some recipes to consolidate purchases, save money and greatly shorten the preparation time. When you start your group, place all your ingredients on the work surface. Cut and / or cook the ingredients that go into two recipes at the same time before sending them. To use here as a common denominator: chicken, green beans, kale of your choice, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, butter squash, red onion, garlic, coral lentils, cedar, Cajun spices, coriander, cream Thick.
Monday: Noodles with peanut chicken
500 gr chicken breast + 200 gr green beans cut in half + 300 gr noodles to your liking + 80 gr Chinese cabbage leaves + fresh coriander + store-bought hoisin sauce (+ peanuts) or 75 g toasted sesame seeds + 75 g roasted peanuts without salt + 125 ml myrrh + 80 ml soy sauce.
- Boil the chicken for 10 minutes in boiling water and then let it cool for 10 minutes before cutting it into slices.
- Boil or steam the beans.
- Cook the noodles as instructed on the package.
- Prepare the sauce by mixing all the ingredients.
- Mix in a salad bowl the chicken, beans, noodles, cabbage leaves, cilantro and the sauce.
Tuesday: Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Soup with Coral Lentil Butter and Cajun Spices
1 sweet potato + 2/3 pumpkin with butter + 1 minced red onion + 1 clove of minced garlic + 100 gr of green or coral lentils + 1 cube of juice + 600 ml of water + 1 tablespoon. in s. Cajun spice mixture + 2 tablespoons. in s. thick cream + coriander.
- Peel a squash, grate it and squeeze the juice.
- In a saucepan fry the onion and garlic in a little oil, cover with water, add the cube, Cajun spices and cook for 20 minutes.
- Mix, add fresh cream and water-washed lentils, heat for 1 min and stir.
- Sprinkle with cilantro.
Wednesday: Delicious Chinese cabbage cake, green beans, kale and parmesan
1 pastry with short crusts + 200 gr green beans, 200 gr mixed cabbage and Chinese cauliflower + 200 gr pieces of smoked bacon + 10 basil leaves + 5 sprigs of rosemary or 1 tablespoon. in s. dry rosemary + 4 eggs + 100 gr minced parmesan + 100 ml milk + 300 ml fresh cream + salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 200 ° (th. 6-7).
- Lower the dough dough (with its parchment) in a pie pan, pierce the bottom with a fork, bake by weight for 5 min. Remove from the oven and lower the temperature to 180 ° (th. 6).
- Cook beans and cauliflower in boiling water (add Chinese cabbage 1 min from the end of cooking to whiten). Fry the bacon in the pan.
- In a saucepan, place the vegetables, basil, rosemary, 2 tbsp. in s. cream and season. Mix into a puree, spread on the bottom of the pie. Sprinkle with cooked bacon.
- Beat the remaining cream with the whole eggs, parmesan and milk. Piper. Pour this parmesan cream over the pie and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
8 corn tortillas + 2 chicken fillets + 1/3 leftover butter + 100 gr red lentils + 400 gr canned crushed tomatoes + 125 gr canned red beans + 1 small can of corn + 100 gr cheddar cheese + 1 onion minced red + 1 clove garlic + 1 tbsp. in s. Cajun level spices + 1 tablespoon. in s. level English sauce + salt and pepper.
- We cut the pumpkin piece as finely as possible. Fry it in oil with onion and garlic and then add the crushed tomatoes, minced chicken and spices. Let simmer for 15 minutes before adding the red beans, lentils and corn. Continue cooking for 2 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 180 ° C.
- Fill the tortillas with this generous filling and roll them before placing them on a plate.
- Sprinkle with minced cedar and fry for 15 minutes in the oven.
Friday: Cheddar Cabbage Pasta
300 gr pasta + 1 piece of cauliflower + 1 piece of kale + 2 thyme branches + 50 gr butter + 50 gr flour + 600 ml whole milk + 140 gr minced cheddar cheese + 2 cloves of crushed garlic + nutmeg + 50 g bread crumbs + salt and ground pepper.
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water. 8 minutes from the end of cooking, add the detailed cauliflower and kale. Drain and reserve.
- Meanwhile in a pan make the bechamel. Melt the butter before adding the flour. Continue cooking for 1 min. Pour the milk slowly while stirring and cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Nutmeg, salt, pepper. Remove from the heat, add the cedar and stir.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta and the cauliflower reserved and mix. Transfer the gratin to a plate and sprinkle with bread crumbs garnished with garlic and thyme.
- Put under the broiler for 3 minutes.