Cincinnati Chilli Five Ways

How to get ahead with cooking in 2017

Want to get ahead with cooking in the new year? From berry slump to burgers and slaw, we've got recipes to help you feed a fussy family or fill your freezer with food.

At the start of a new year, lists are written, meals are planned and the food delivery slot is booked weeks in advance. Come February, everything has changed and the ‘what to make for dinner tonight?’ dilemma begins!


To get ahead with cooking this year, we’ve got recipes you can make in bulk, freeze and feed the whole family with. 2017 could be the year you get ahead in the kitchen…

Batch cooking

Batch cooking is a great way to save time and money. Spend one evening making a big batch of con carne, curry or crumble and it can be eaten all week long. You can mix it up and serve it with different sides to keep it exciting. These dishes make great weeknight meals, but can be served at relaxed dinner parties, too.

Cincinnati chilli five ways

Chilli con carne is a great base that can be served with different sides. It’s rich and juicy with a slight spice. Try serving with rice, spaghetti, baked potatoes and wraps so it doesn’t get boring. Why not add different toppings like cheese and spring onions for even more variation.

Lamb and tomato curry with mint yogurt

It may take a bit of time to make this dish, but it’s worth the effort as it’ll last you a while. Once it’s cooked, let it cool and pop it in some Tupperware boxes to keep in the fridge (it will be fine for a couple of days). It can be reheated for lunch or dinner (make sure it’s piping hot) and served with rice, naan and popadoms. The recipe serves four, but it’s easy to half, double or even triple, depending on how many you need to feed.

Sloe gin and plum crumble

Everyone needs dessert in their life, and it shouldn’t just be a weekend treat. If you fancy something sweet after your curry, why not make a big batch of crumble? It’s a crowd pleaser and can be made using ingredients you’re likely to have in your cupboard. Plus, you can use fruit you might already have in the house.

Freezer-friendly food

Your freezer could become your best friend with these recipes that can be made and frozen, giving you a tasty meal when you need one quickly. When you’ve got a quiet day, try making a few dishes to fill it up. You’ll thank yourself later.

Beef bourguignon

Beef bourguignon is a French classic. It’s rich, filling and meaty. You’ll have to resist eating it all straight away, but if you manage, portion it up and pop it in the freezer. It’ll make a great weeknight meal on a cold February evening.

Best-ever spaghetti bolognese

Bolognese sauce can be made then frozen if you want an Italian treat for your freezer. It’s good to make a big batch, then portion it up. Our best-ever bolognese has a rich flavour that’s perfect for winter nights when you’re too tired to cook. Try serving it with spaghetti or baked potatoes and lots and lots of cheese!

Spiced berry slump

If you’ve got a crowd coming over for dinner, but want to make some dishes in advance, why not make this spiced berry slump and pop it in the freezer? You can cook it straight from frozen when you need to. It’s a jazzed up crumble with a juicy filling and spicy topping.

One pot dishes

It’s easy to get carried away in the kitchen, and before you know it, the sink is full of pots, pans, sieves and spatulas. This can turn the fun of cooking into a nightmare. Here are some delicious one pot dishes to take the stress out of cooking, leaving you with minimal washing up.

New potato, chicken and tarragon casserole

This casserole has it all: cooked in one pot, under 500 calories and will keep the whole family happy. By cooking it in one pot, all the flavours infuse, leaving you with a rich casserole, perfect for an alternative Sunday lunch.

Meatball and mozzarella pan bake

If you’re looking for a fun, Friday night treat, but don’t want the mountain of washing up to do afterwards, this meatball and mozzarella pan bake is perfect. It’ll feed a crowd of hungry mouths and can be served with some crusty bread. This is definitely a dish to share, just pop it on the table and dig in!

Carrot and smoked paprika soup

Soup makes a great filling lunch or light dinner. It’s cheap and easy to make. Plus, you’ll have most of the ingredients in your cupboard already. Throw everything into a pan and let it simmer away. In half an hour you’ll have a warming soup ready and waiting.

Family favourites

Feeding the family can be tricky and the temptation to make several separate dishes is hard to avoid. These dishes are well established family favourites and can be personalised depending on what everyone likes. They will go down well, no matter how many hungry mouths you have to feed.

Burgers and slaw

Burgers are loved by children and adults alike. It’s so easy and quick to make your own and they can be topped with whatever you like. Cheese, ketchup, mayo or lettuce. The slaw is a great way to get children to eat vegetables. The mix of colours and textures makes it look intriguing and delicious.

Easy ricotta, ham and spinach lasagne

Lasagne is a classic dish that’s comforting and will feed lots of hungry people. This ricotta, ham and spinach version is a great way of hiding vegetables in a dish. The spinach can be chopped as finely as you like, and when mixed with the pesto it’s hard to work out which is which. Try serving it with a salad or some crunchy garlic bread.

Mix and match brunch waffles

Everyone deserves a breakfast treat, but sometimes it’s hard to decide between scrambled eggs and pancakes. Waffles are the best of both worlds. They act as a great base and can be topped with a variety of different things from bacon and berries to banana and butterscotch sauce. Make a big batch, pop them on the table and watch them disappear!

Slow-cooked dishes

Slow cooking might sound like we’re stepping back into the 70s, but these modern day dishes are great when you want a hearty meal, but have jobs to be doing all day. Plus, the longer it cooks for, the more tender the meat becomes which is just what you want.

Slow-cooked pork, apricot and tamarind stew

When you need a warming spicy dish, but don’t have time to be slaving over a hot stove all day, this slow-cooked pork stew is the perfect option. It’s left to simmer for two hours so that the meat is tender and spices have been absorbed. Try serving it with rice and flaked almonds on top for a crunchy texture.

Pomegranate and slow cooked lamb couscous

This Persian inspired dish would make a great dinner party dish. The lamb cooks for four hours so it quite literally melts in your mouth. Your guests will be asking for it time and time again. Try creating a Persian feast by making these lamb kofta puffs with tahini and tomato sauce.

Slow-cooked squid with olives and tomatoes

This herby fish stew takes a bit of time to prepare but it’s worth the effort. It’s full of Mediterranean flavours such as lemon and olives, and is best served with a chunk of crusty ciabatta. When you get to the bottom of the bowl, use the bread to soak up all the rich juices. Serve it at a dinner party or as an indulgent weeknight treat.


Written by Ellie Edwards