Ready meals

My younger daughter has been a vegetarian for nearly 7 years since she was 10. As a result, we other three meat eaters tend to eat less meat. I prefer that we all eat the same meal in the evening – it’s less hassle and I also don’t want my daughter to feel like the odd one out.

Sometimes we do eat the same meals, such as sausages, but I will substitute a vegetarian version. Once a week, however, we do have separate meals. Until recently, I used to buy a cook chill meal from the supermarket for Bee. The argument in my head went along the lines of: ‘I’ve been at work all day, I’m tired, I just want to shove something in the oven’. Then the supermarket re-packaged the meals I used to buy and put up the price by 20p. I began to realise just how much I was paying for convenience.

I cooked a vegetarian cottage pie for the three of us at home and had a spare portion which I froze, and pulled out next time we were having separate meals. Bee loved it, and I began to cook her favourite meals in batches, freezing them and using them on a rota so she had a bit of variety. (We probably need a bigger freezer now, but that’s a challenge for another day.)

I started off making today’s batch of vegetarian cottage pie by boiling about 400g potatoes for 12-15 minutes.  I chopped up a small onion and a medium carrot and fried these for 2-3 minutes before adding the end of a bag of vegetarian mince (about 250-300g).  I stirred this around for 5 minutes or so and then added 2 tablespoons of tomato puree and 240 – 300 ml of vegetable stock and brought everything to the boil before putting this mixture into a dish. 

Vegetarian cottage pie

It does take a bit of effort to make the meals, but it is incredibly satisfying to pull something out of the freezer that you have made yourself, and even better, Bee has never left a scrap on her plate since I started cooking home made ready meals

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