Say goodbye to that sinking feeling you used to get when planning your meals. Here at My Clean Home, we don't make a drama out of dinner!

Before we begin, I suggest flinging out the fru-fru - so we'll be left with the HAPPY-Do™.

By fru-fru, I mean fuss, frills, and unnecessary complications like trawling boxes of recipe cards, browsing the cookbooks, brainstorming with pen and paper, or making a list of 20-30 recipes to ring the changes. Phew, now all that is out of our way, we can do this quickly, easily and efficiently. The happy rewards will be inexpensive meals always to hand, that are easy to prepare and to serve on time.

If you are vegetarian you'll have to come up with alternative versions to the ones I write here, but you won't need many recipes. Also if you live in a very hot climate, you can substitute cold dishes. But the concept is same for all. You'll see what I mean:

 

You'll need less than half a dozen main recipes which can be zazzed up or down for variety.

For instance, a large pack of Mince beef (ground beef) can become -  Savory beef,  Spaghetti Bolognese, Chili con Carne, Cottage pie, Patties and so on.

To make those dinners you'll be buying cans of chopped tomatoes, whole green or brown lentils, mushrooms, carrots, onions, chili powder, italian seasoning. Add packets of pasta and spaghetti and you're sorted. Always make sure you have these on hand.

Another few meals each week can be based on chicken thighs. Curries, cold chicken salads, Chicken and mushroom in a creamy sauce, chicken and mushroom in a pie-crust... you get the idea. Those same canned tomatoes and mushrooms and lentils will do for these too. Maybe have frozen pastry/pie-crust in your freezer. Just a slight change of flavors, seasonings or produce will make quite different meals.

You've actually got a lot of dinners here, but let's add some fish. Fresh salmon, mackerel fillets and sardines are healthy and tasty. You can make up some more dinners with these. Put lots of fresh greens on your shopping list too. Things like spinach, Romaine lettuce and the green parts of leeks are fabulously healthy. I have my friend Sheree to thank for introducing me to those.

 

Now, here's the other part of your Happy-Do. Make as large batches of these meals as you can. That way will save you lots of time. Cook up a big panful of basic savory ground beef dish like Bolognese. Use the bolognese, then freeze the rest just as it is, in portions. In the mornings, get a portion out to thaw, then zazz it up with chili etc.. Pop some mushrooms in and your meal will be ready in minutes that evening.

Chicken thighs can be treated in the same way. Make the basic batch of chicken with tomato sauce and freeze what you don't use. Thaw thorougly before zazzing up as a curry or whatever. The only thing you must remember is that thawed cooked food MUST be piping hot to make sure it's safe.

 

Introduce the family to the Cheese-board for desserts. Choose a variety of cheeses to serve with crackers. This is popular in the UK and makes a healthy and tasty finale to your meals. You present the cheeses and crackers for people to serve themselves. And for those with a sweet tooth, fresh fruit or even ice-cream is quick and easy.

Just a little word of caution. When you are ringing the changes, don't make things complicated for yourself by adding exotic ingredients or spices that will hardly be used. Keep it simple, make your quick shopping list, and you're done.

As always, I am so happy to hear how you get on and hope you'll drop me a line via the contact page.

Until next time, Ritz

Updated: 05-08-2018