I think the most important thing about cooking is to do it in a way that saves you time and effort, which in turn leads to financial and energy savings. Most times, you should cook double the amount required for your diner (or as much as your pots can hold) and store the surplus in the fridge or freezer for later use. For example, I would buy two large paquets of minced beef and make a bolognaise sauce out of them. I would serve the sauce with spaghetti and finely grated parmesan or similar hard cheese. Then, I would distribute the leftover sauce into plastic containers and put them in the freezer. My favourite plastic containers are Carte d’Or ice cream pots (you might know by now how much I like to re-use things). They stack up nicely in two’s in a small freezer. I use bolognaise sauce as a base for a lot of dishes so no one but you realises that diner was not that difficult! And you certainly provide variety too.
1. Curry. Add curry powder, grated apples and raisins in the bolognaise sauce and you have yourself a curry. Serve with basmati rice, salty peanuts, tinned pineapple, sliced bananas and additional raisins out from the pack. You might want to make your own naans too.
2. Chili con carne. Add a tin of red kidney beans and chilli and you have yourself a nice Mexican-type meal that you can serve with tortilla chips and rice.
3. Cottage pie. This is not a dish for our family as Hubby is allergic to potatoes but place a layer of bolognaise sauce at the bottom of a gratin dish and cover it with a layer of mashed potatoes, sprinkled with some breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
3. Lasagna. Make a cheese sauce and separate the layers of bolognaise sauce and cheese sauce with sheets of lasagne. If you have time, you might want to make your own pasta. It is actually really easy to make, even using a rolling pin, although a pasta maker is probably best. Any leftover lasagne sheets can be made into tagliatelle – home-made fresh pasta tastes nothing like shop-bought fresh pasta!