It’s often believed that you can’t easily have food that’s healthy, time-efficient and cheap all at once. You can tick two of the above boxes with junk food as it’s both cheap and quick, but it most definitely isn’t going to get you or keep you healthy! One style of cooking challenges this dilemma: batch cooking. Making an ample amount of your chosen meal in one go and then freezing it saves a tremendous amount of time and energy. Then you can of course, reheat your food quickly satisfying all your nutritional needs. Let’s whet your appetite with these 3 Great Hot Pot Meal Recipes that Save You Time!
Buying ingredients in bulk ultimately means that your food will also be cheaper in the long run. The only issue left to address, and probably the most fun part, is how to make those batch-prepped meals taste good!
Here are three delicious hotpot meals that you can batch create to save time and money, as well as satisfy your nutritional and caloric-fuel needs for a worry-free and sustainable menu. They can be easily adapted for vegans and vegetarians with either freeze dried soya mince or Quorn mince.
1. Chilli con Carne
Prep: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30-50 mins
Ingredients/method: Sauté onions in garlic until slightly golden brown, then add about a kilo of lean minced meat (or vegetarian/vegan equivalent Quorn or soya mince etc).
Brown the meat (or veg equivalent) until you reach your desired cooking level before adding your spices; chilli powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, salt and pepper. (To simplify this you can get a pre-made spice mix for really cheap.) Cook until the spices are well mixed in before putting the mince into a pot of beef or vegetable stock and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour.
While it’s simmering, add some canned kidney beans and tomatoes. At this point feel free to customise the meal to your preference by lightly frying your vegetables of choice and adding them into the hot pot. Towards the end, I like to add some 80% dark chocolate to enhance the flavours of the dish before serving it with rice and sour cream.
2. Lentil in Coconut Milk Curry Hot Pot
Prep: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Ingredients/method: Indian food may feel complicated to you at first, but this hot pot is really simple once you get the hang of it.
Bring two cups of red lentils to the boil ih six cups of water, a pinch of turmeric and salt as per your taste. Once it boils, bring it to a simmer and sauté minced ginger, garlic, and diced onions in a separate skillet with hot oil.
Once the onions turn translucent, add them to the pot of cooked lentils along with cubed sweet potatoes, a can of diced tomatoes, and coconut milk. Add a teaspoon each of chilli powder, salt, and curry powder. Reduce the heat on the curry till the sweet potatoes are cooked and serve with chopped spinach.
3. One-Pot Chicken (or Quorn) Pesto Pasta
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20-30 minutes
Ingredients/method: Season and sauté 500g cubed chicken breasts (or Quorn if vegetarian, or alternative if vegan) in an oiled skillet until cooked thoroughly.
Set the chicken/Quorn aside and fry the garlic in the same pan until fragrant. Add sun-dried tomatoes, pasta, salt, and red pepper flakes, mixing until combined. Bring to a boil and simmer until pasta is cooked al dente. Add spinach, cooked chicken/Quorn, and a cup of pesto and mix well until they are all combined. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese (if you like it!) and parsley.