Preparing for Christmas and everything being closed

A pregnant friend recently asked me for some slow-cooker recipes, but when I went through my tried-and-true recipe folder, I realised that there's actually very little that I make in my slow-cooker. There are really only four recipes in my bulk-cooking rotation: bolognese sauce, beef stroganoff, chilli con carne and apricot chicken. I usually do about a kilo of each, which makes 4-5 meals of each dish for the two of us. Add in some takeaway and quick oven meals (usually frozen chicken schnitzels and potato gems) and I only had to cook once a month.

That was then.

We've been getting Youfoodz delivered for a few months now, and for two professionals without kids, it is so wonderfully convenient. For those who haven't heard of them, Youfoodz are basically like Lite N Easy and other pre-made-meals services, except they're a bit cheaper and the choices are a bit more interesting (to us, anyway).

I initially started getting Youfoodz for two reasons: I was getting really, really sick of cooking in bulk every month, and I wanted to lose a little weight by restricting my intake without having to think about it too much. Youfoodz fixed both those problems for me!

But... Christmas is coming. 

I've placed my last Youfoodz order for the year, which will feed us dinners through to Boxing Day, but after that, we're on our own, and most of my usual takeaway haunts will be closed for the holidays. 

So I'm back to cooking in bulk, for this week, anyway.

I wanted to start cooking early this year, so I'll be covered for lunches as well - but most of all, I didn't want to have to brave the shops on Christmas Eve just to get some meat!

Like the good little bulk-meal-prepper that I am, yesterday I took myself off to Costco and bought a slab of beef mince and a vaccuum-sealed pack of chicken thighs. I do not use the word 'slab' lightly. This thing was more than 3kg.

Did I let that phase me? Nope.

Did I consider spreading it out across my three usual meals, thus allowing the use of normal-sized pots and pans? Nope.

Did I instead think to myself "this will probably all fit into that Baccarat cast iron pot Daddy bought me for Christmas last year"? Yep.

Was I wrong? Almost.

Victory! After several hours of simmering and reducing, the last of the passata fits in the pot.

Victory! After several hours of simmering and reducing, the last of the passata fits in the pot.

You see, while I use this amazingly delicious bolognese sauce recipe from Eat Drink Paleo (no, I'm not paleo, it's just a really tasty recipe), I prefer mine with a little more veg in it. Actually, a lot more. Once you count the passata and tinned tomatoes, mine usually ends up being half veg, half meat.

Fortunately, I did manage to fit it all in my big new pot, though I did have to let it reduce down for a few hours before adding the last lot of passata.

But boy, am I pooped. Thankfully the chicken's use-by date isn't until Friday, so I've got the rest of the week to start on my next batch of bulk cooking before Christmas. 

Until then! xxoo