Most of you probably don’t know that I trained as a chef when I first left school, and I’ve worked as one covering for friends over the years.
I’ve always loved cooking, whether for six or sixty, I just love the whole process. There’s something wonderful about taking a handful of ingredients and coming up with something that tastes wonderful!
Unfortunately for the past three years between RA and fatigue cooking has become a real challenge. Fatigue makes cooking impossible most days, my hands don’t like chopping and mixing and my appetite isn’t good.
But now and again I have an OK-ish day and think right, let’s do this quickly while I can. I have a tall stool with a backrest in the kitchen so I can sit at the counter and work.
Whenever I can I batch cook. This means tasty things in the freezer that can be ready in minutes and aren’t shop bought ready meals or junk (obviously those do have their place occasionally!).
My favourite things to batch cook I can create with my eyes closed, I make a mean chilli con carne, fabulous curries, spicy arrabattia sauce for pasta, and herby meatballs. All freeze really well. Lasagne is another good one, but yesterday I wanted to cook and I did something different.
I should mention that I have a secret, I’m not the best veg eater in the world. So every dish I make has hidden vegetables. My arrabattia sauce gets blitzed with cooked broccoli and spinach, I use grated carrots in everything (cook them off with the onions), and spinach has become my go to for anything!
Now what I fancied last night was macaroni cheese. One of my all time favourite meals, but obviously not great nutrition wise. And as I’m trying really hard to eat healthily I adapted.
After a furtle in the fridge I had ham, onions and mushrooms, peas and spinach came from the freezer. So I just slowly sautéed all the veg in olive oil, then added skimmed milk, cornflour to thicken and some grated cheese, mustard and black pepper.
Poured this sauce over some cooked pasta in a baking dish, topped with grated cheddar and parmesan. Twenty minutes in the oven and this gorgeous pasta bake was ready.
I made enough for four portions, so this morning the other three have been added to my stash of “ready meals” in the freezer. As far as I’m concerned batch cooking is a spoonies best friend.