I’m about 85% vegetarian. When I was a teenager, I stopped eating meat because I wasn’t too fussed on the taste (and I was also into being difficult). For a while, I was a complete vegetarian, eating no meat at all. But it got too hard and went back to eating chicken. Over the years, it’s evolved to a meat diet of poultry and seafood and sometimes, either when I’m feeling brave or starving hungry, a bite of a sausage or a taste of a lamb. I once accidentally ate a meat pie that was supposed to be chicken on a long-haul flight stopover and was sick for days after, so mostly, I avoid red meat.
I’m also busy. I work full time, do the occasional weekend shift at a kitchenware store and, of course, bake. I can sometimes be a true 50s housewife and embrace the frozen or canned version of vegetables, but most of the time, I’d rather use fresh vegies. The problem with that is that being so busy means that if I don’t cook them, they can sit in my fridge’s crisper for weeks.
So, my approach to cooking is to go stupid when I have time, cook everything that’s in the fridge, divide everything into meals and freeze it. It’s like having TV dinners, but the homemade version.
This is what I made in my last cook-up:
Zucchini fritters and Zucchini and corn fritters
These are really easy to make and they’re good by themselves with a dab of sweet chilli sauce or sour cream or even a little squirt of mayo. I sometimes like to use them as a burger patty and load them onto a bun with lettuce, cheese, beetroot and an egg and have a vegie burger. I freeze these in one container as they’re pretty easy to pry apart as you need.
I have issues with my smoke detectors inside my apartment, so I don’t fry anything at a high temperature inside! But it’s pleasant enough to sit out on my balcony with the barbeque grill and the bowl of mix, flipping fritters. It’s also easier to clean up!
Cabbage, ricotta and feta sausage rolls.
I stumbled on this recipe by accident and what a fortunate accident it was. I was making spinach and feta rolls with a dash of ricotta to glue the mix together, when I ran out of spinach and still had sheets of pastry defrosted. So, I went to the freezer and pulled out a container of cabbage that I’d blanched and frozen a few weeks earlier and mixed it together with the cheeses. The result was addictive, much better than the original spinach and feta rolls, and has become a freezer staple for me. Again, I freeze these in one container and take them out as needed. These are a good snack, work afternoon tea, or a weekend lunch.
Spinach and swede pie
Usually, in the winter months, I make a silver beet and spinach pie, but when I did my shopping this week, the silver beet came in huge bunches that would have taken me a month to get through, so I went with spinach instead. This is a lovely, simple, warming and filling pie that is basically the veges layered in a pie crust with a cheese sauce smeared in between. This one, I do divide into portions and freeze as meals. Sometimes, I add a couple of the zucchini fritters, but usually, I freeze them alone and cook up some brown rice and corn or something to go with them. I’ll post the recipe in a couple of days because this is one of my favourites and deserves to be shared.
Potato au gratin (or potato bake to most Aussies)
This is a simple side that I make up in my Nami dish (the world’s best non-stick, glass baking dish). I’m sure most people are familiar with this baked dish of thinly sliced potatoes, onion, garlic and cream or milk and then a layer of cheese. I make the milk version so it’s a bit healthier, but the cream version is definitely tastier (more a special occasion dish for me). The best part about making potato au gratin for me now is that not one bit of it sticks to my Nami pan, so once it’s cool, I flip it onto a cutting board and chop up portions for freezing. I used to spray oil my baking dishes and would still have big chunks of potato stuck to it which meant no portions for freezing!
And this is the finished stack of food: