The keystone of my freezer cooking regime is this recipe for Spaghetti Bolognaise, which I learnt from my Mum, who I think may have gotten it from my Dad's Mum.
I tend to make this recipe up in double batches, and freeze portions in 500ml square containers (the decor ones you can buy everywhere - Woolworths, Kmart etc) I used to use the containers you get chinese takeaway in - but they leak a bit in your lunchbox.
1Tblsp Olive Oil
500g lean beef mince
1 Large Onion
1 Large Green Capsicum (that's a green pepper for my US readers)
110g tin of tomato paste (I think that's called puree in non-aussie countries)
410g tin crushed or diced tomatoes
410g tin tomato soup
1 clove diced garlic OR 1 Tblsp Garlic granules
Other herbs to taste (basil, mixed herbs etc)
2 Tblsp sugar (seriously, trust me on the sugar)
Around 2/3 of a 500g pack of dried spaghetti pasta. If you're feeling really virtuous, use the wholemeal stuff.
In a big pot or saucepan, brown the mince in the olive oil, and the garlic if you're using the fresh stuff.
Add the chopped onions and roughly chopped capsicum.
Dump the tomato paste in and stir so it coats the mince and veggies
Now do the same with the diced tomatoes and the toato soup.
Add the garlic granules, herbs and sugar, give it a good stir.
Simmer on a low heat for anywhere between 45 minutes and an hour. Use some judgement.
cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack.
divide into portions and freeze. I make 9 small portions out of this size recipe and it comes to around 275 calories per serving. But please don't trust me on that one, work the numbers out for yourself if you're calorie counting!
This recipe is my lifesaver! I always enjoy eating it, especially in winter, and so it's become my standby. Anytime I get home in too foul a mood to cook, out comes a serve of sketti. Into the microwave to defrost and heat, 10 minutes later I'm eating.
If I can't be bothered packing lunch for the next day, a container in my lunchbox along with a couple of snacks takes 5 minutes. By the time I get to eat it the next day it's defrosted slowly in the fridge overnight and takes only 1 1/2 minutes to heat in the microwave at work.
I reckon I eat this at least once a week. when there's none left in the freezer, I set aside an hour to make some one night after dinner and pack it all away in the freezer.
I ran this recipe past my nutritionist, she said she didn't mind it at all. But in order to be a balanced meal (1/4 plate protein, 1/4 plate carbs, 1/2 plate veggies) you have to serve it with a salad. If you have a plain salad with no creamy dressing or cheese, this is an awesome "value for calories" meal.
P.S - What's your "Old Faithful"? let me know and maybe I'll add it to my repertoire!