Ain’t Nobody Got Time for Cooking – but These 4 Recipes Might Change That

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Photo: Courtesy of Dane Deaner

If you’re a busy working woman, a mom who’s got her hands full, or just someone who hasn’t got hours to spend in the kitchen, then we’ve got just the recipes for you. In collaboration with Waitrose & Partners, we’ve put together four batch-cooking recipes that are both freezer friendly and perfect for planning ahead.

Whether it’s a stew or a risotto, creating a big batch meal will help to free up your time, reduce waste, and save money. Follow the recipes below to create a meal that can be enjoyed instantly. Alternatively, once it’s cooled, transfer the dish to freezer bags, dividing it into suitable portions, then freeze. Defrost overnight in the fridge or use the microwave, following the manufacturer’s instructions, before reheating in a pan on medium heat.

Coconut Chilli Chicken

Photo: Courtesy of Waitrose & Partners

Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus marinating
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes, plus marinating
Serves: 12 to 15

2kg boneless chicken thighs, diced
300g whole yogurt
100g desiccated coconut
120ml sunflower oil
12 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp ground cloves
4 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger, plus extra cut into matchsticks to serve
2 tbsp crushed garlic
4 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp cayenne pepper
1½ tbsp smoked paprika
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
8 green chillies, quartered lengthways and deseeded
400ml can coconut milk
lemon juice, to taste
handful coriander leaves

Mix the chicken with the yogurt; leave to marinate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put the desiccated coconut and 125ml of water in a blender, and whizz to a smooth paste. Add another 125ml of water, blend again, and set aside.

In a large frying pan or casserole, heat the oil. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and shallots and cook over a low heat until pale gold. Add the grated ginger, garlic, turmeric, cayenne, and paprika. Cook for one minute, then add the tomatoes and chillies. Cook for another minute, then add the coconut paste. Simmer for about five minutes, then add the marinated chicken. Simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and cook for a few more minutes. Season with salt and add a squeeze of lemon juice to taste. Serve scattered with the coriander and ginger matchsticks, plus flatbreads and raita if liked.

Chicken and Vegetable Stew

Photo: Courtesy of Waitrose & Partners

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4

4 leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
3 carrots, diced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2½ tbsp plain flour
1kg chicken thigh fillets, each cut into 4
300g frozen pea and bean mix
300ml chicken stock
8g tarragon, roughly chopped
170ml soured cream
2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Cook the leeks and carrots in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat in a tablespoon of oil for ten minutes, adding the garlic for the last two minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside.

Season the flour, then use it to coat the chicken. Add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the chicken in batches until golden (about three minutes on each side).

Return the cooked vegetables to the pan, then stir in the pea and bean mix. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, then simmer until the sauce has thickened (about five minutes).

Stir in the tarragon, soured cream, and mustard. Check the seasoning, then serve half the stew with rice or mash.

Braised Mushrooms and Squash with Soy and Ginger

Photo: Courtesy of Waitrose & Partners

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4

650g squash
2 tbsp groundnut oil
300g white or chestnut mushrooms, halved (or quartered if large)
2 garlic cloves, sliced
15g fresh root ginger, sliced
2 star anise
1 red chilli, thickly sliced
4 tbsp mirin
4 tbsp light soy sauce
toasted sesame seeds and sliced salad onions, to serve

Halve the squash (you can use kabocha, queen, butternut, or onion varieties), trim the top and base, then remove the central seeds and pulp with a spoon. Slice the halves into slim wedges, leaving the skin on if it isn’t too thick and tough.

Put one tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan or wok (with a lid to hand) and set over a medium-high heat. Fry the squash for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing regularly, until well browned; set aside on a plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan with the mushrooms and cook for three minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until browned.

Add the garlic, ginger, star anise, and chilli and cook for a further two minutes. Return the squash to the pan and add the mirin and soy sauce. Reduce the heat, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and braise gently for 12 to 15 minutes, until the squash is tender but still holds its shape. Season and serve, scattered with the toasted sesame seeds and sliced salad onions, plus some steamed rice alongside.

Asparagus and Artichoke Risotto

Photo: Courtesy of Waitrose & Partners

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Serves: 4

1.2 liters fresh vegetable or chicken stock
630g asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 3cm pieces
30g unsalted butter
280g jar sliced artichoke hearts in oil, drained, plus 1 tbsp oil from the jar
2 shallots, finely diced
320g Arborio risotto rice
50g pecorino cheese, finely grated, plus extra shavings to serve

Simmer the stock in a pan. Add the asparagus, simmer for three minutes until tender, then remove with a slotted spoon. Transfer half the asparagus to a blender with 100ml of the stock and whizz until smooth. Set aside the purée and remaining cooked asparagus and keep the remaining stock simmering.

In a separate saucepan, melt 15g butter and add one tablespoon of oil from the artichoke jar. Add the shallots and fry over a low heat for five minutes, until soft but not colored. Raise the heat slightly, add the rice and cook, stirring, for thee to four minutes. Add the wine and simmer for two minutes.

Add a large ladleful of simmering stock and stir gently until the liquid has almost disappeared. Repeat this process over the next 15 minutes, adding the drained artichokes and last ladleful of stock when the rice is just cooked. Do not allow this last ladleful to fully evaporate.

Stir in the asparagus purée, remove from the heat, and add the remaining 15g of butter and the pecorino. Cover and set aside for five minutes. Stir well, season, and stir through the reserved asparagus. Serve in shallow bowls with extra pecorino scattered over.

Batch-Cooking Tips

  1. Label your batch meals with the contents and date they were made.
  2. Freeze them in different serving sizes (family portion vs. single portion) for more convenience.
  3. Freezer bags give you more space in your freezer than Tupperware boxes.

Waitrose & Partners exports products to more than 50 countries worldwide and has eight shops that operate under license in the Middle East.
Dubai: The Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, Al Thania, Al Maraya, Nakheel Mall, Motor City
Abu Dhabi: Eastern Mangroves, Saadiyat Beach Community, Etihad Tower, Al Zeina, and Sun & Sky Reem Island