Welcome to the first post of this new series, Cooking with M. I have been asked by friends to share the recipes for the food that I post on Instagram and I thought that it was about time that I get around to making it a feature on the blog. It is no secret that I love to cook. Cooking keeps me zen and I love cooking good meals for my family. Since November I have been trying to make homemade meals to help with my new lifestyle – I am working really hard in the gym and trying to eat better (trying is an understatement), and it has worked… I have lost 25 pounds (and counting) since November 2014. A post will come later about that.
Creating a good meal for your family is all about prep. I always hear how people “cannot find the time” to meal prep because of their “busy lives”. Well, I can tell you that it is easy, you just need to schedule the time. My life is busy too… I work, I am going back to school in the fall and I am a caregiver. For me, I grocery shop on Sunday AND meal prep. I think of what I am going to make (through internet searches or Pinterest) and then put it into motion. After I figure that out, I grocery shop for the meals and daily snacks.
Now that I am going back to school in the fall, add to which my life will be EXTREMELY busy, I have been making freezer meals for the times where I will be unable to make dinner after work/school. Freezer meals are easy and the bonus is, you can pop them into the crock-pot before you leave in the morning and it will be done by the time you get home. Also, cooking a large batch and freezing it is another good way to cut down on prep and cooking on those busy days.
Growing up I ate canned beefaroni and ravioli. I am pretty sure we all did. It was quick and easy. Well, now as an adult we know that canned processed foods are not that great for us. While I am not a saint, nor the picture of perfect health, I really try my best to eat and make homemade meals over the processed food that is available. Beefaroni was one of my favourites… I could eat cans, and cans, and cans of it. I decided to make a big batch for dinner (this recipe is not a crock-pot meal) the other night and this is also perfect for a freezer meal.
- 2 lbs extra lean ground beef
- 8 cups elbow macaroni (this is so you can freeze half)
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp dried onions (don’t forget to soak them in 2 tsp of water)
- 1 tbsp chives, finely chopped (dried works too, just saturate them)
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/4 tsp pepper and salt
- 2 cans tomato soup (if you’re making a large batch, otherwise, 1 will do)
- 1/2 can water
What to do
In an oiled (1 tbsp canola oil) pan, brown ground beef (drain liquid halfway through cooking process) and add in seasonings (make sure they blend well). Set aside. In a large salted pot of water, bring macaroni to boil and cook until al dente (approx 6-7 minutes). Drain and return to large pot. Combine meat to macaroni with tomato soup and water. Mix well. Freeze leftovers in a large Ziploc freezer bag (to ensure longer storage in freezer, try to remove as much air as you can before zipping the bag).
This will serve four people, with a little bit left over (next day leftovers are always the best). I found that this recipe tastes just like the canned stuff, but much better. When you remove your batch from the freezer, let thaw overnight before reheating (reheat in a microwave safe dish).
FREEBIE! To help make your freezer bags look a little more adorable, I’ve included a set of labels for you to download (PDF file) and print out! Just click on the picture and it will take you to Google Drive.