Ditch The Ready Meals For Home Made


The late 1970’s saw the introduction of ready meals into the UK market and they have grown in popularity ever since with an average of £3 billion spent on them every year – the highest numbers in Europe.  The average UK household can eat their way through up to 3 microwave meals a week. So, the question is why are we choosing ready made meals over homemade unlike our European neighbours ?


Is It The Convenience of Ready Meals?


Our guess is the reason behind the majority of sales is the convenience factor. After a long day at work, 5 minutes in the microwave seems like a quick and easy solution to dinner. Epping has a lot of supermarkets and small shops that you can grab something on the way back from the train station or on the commute home. The ease of picking up a prepackaged meal can also be appealing while out. That’s especially so if you have to spend time researching a recipe and get the ingredients.


Getting the Most From Your Home Cooking


Prepping Home Cooked Meals In Advance

Sticking with the theme of making it quick and easy. Why not make extra food and freeze it? Yes your very own ready meal for later in the week/month! Of course, you have the added bonus of knowing what ingredients have gone into your own recipe! It’s always good to know you have quality meat in your meals.


Make It Easy With A Slow Cooker

If you haven’t got a slowcooker yet, we suggest you try it! These are great if you want to come home to a delicious meal without the wait and the hassle of cooking.


There are many recipes online for slow cooks for you to try. Slow cooked lamb or beef is fantastic. You can use cheap cuts of meat in the slow cooker and over a long cooking period they will ensure they are tender and FULL of flavour. Certainly not something you can replicate with a ping!


The great thing is they take minimal effort - Just chuck the ingredients in before work, set to the right setting and let the slow cooker do all the hard work!


Avoid Daily Shopping

If time is a factor and a reason you turn to the ease of ready meals throughout the week, then

try planning ahead. It sound ridiculously simple, but a weekly shopping list, with an idea of the meals you’ll eat throughout the week should give you an idea of the ingredients you will need. By buying everything in one go, you save a lot of time compared to browsing the shops every day.


Save Your Money

Buying ready made meal may seem cheaper but planning what you need can keep cost down and avoid any unnecessary buying. Try and be savvy while planning your dinners so you don’t waste any meat or other produce. Also, there’s a certain satisfaction knowing you’ve got something you love waiting for dinner later that evening. For us, the thought of a ribeye steak or some tasty minted lamb chops is a real day brightener!


Created To Your Preference

Taking the little extra time to find a recipe you and your family will love will be reflected in the meal itself. You also have the opportunity to change ingredients and even put your own spin on things to suit your taste.

But, What If I’m Not Good At Cooking?

Ok, so not everybody is talented in the kitchen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be! Learning to cook is a great skill and something to be proud off.  Who knows, you might even find you fall in love with cooking!


Thanks to the internet, we don’t even have to leave the comfort of our own kitchen to learn how to cook these days. There’s plenty to see on websites such as BBC Good Food or even YouTube tutorials you can cook along with.


You can find pretty much any recipe you desire online. Start with something you consider as easy. Maybe a pasta dish? (most recipes will have an indication on how difficult the recipe is)


The more confident you get the more experimental you can get! You may find cooking a lot more fun when you can put your own spin on a recipe. The satisfaction of serving up a dish that you have made out of a few ingredients is a wonderful thing, just remember to give yourself time to acquire this skill. It’s not learnt over night and there will always be learning curves.


If you have little ones in the house, try and get them involved in the cooking too. It’s something you can learn together, you’ll be amazed at how much they pick up and it’s a skill they will continue to use. Plus its a fun way to bond!


The Best Thing About Home Cooked Meals? The Quality Ingredients

You pick your ingredients if you cook at home. 75% of good cooking is about good ingredients. If you have high-quality meat, you really don’t have to do anything fancy to make it taste amazing.


You also have to option to go for free-range and organic that you probably don’t have with a ready-meal.



Picking up your meat from a butchers not only supports local businesses but ensures quality that you cant guarantee in a ready-meal.



Your butcher will be happy to advise you on any questions you may have about cooking times or preparation of the meat which will put your mind at ease!



Recipe


Making it onto the list of most bought ready meals is the Lasagne. Here’s our easy but tasty recipe that will ensure you never buy ready made again!


Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 500g quality beef mince from your butcher
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml beef stock
  • 200ml red wine
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • lasagne sheets
  • grated cheese (cheddar, Parmesan or mozzarella work fine)


For the white sauce

  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 600ml whole milk


Method

  1. Add the olive oil to a large pan and put onto a low heat. To the pan add the chopped onion, celery, carrot and garlic and fry for 5 - 10mins until softened. Add tomato purée and oregano and cook for a further 1 min


  1. Turn the heat up to medium, add the mince and fry until the mince has been browned (this will take around 5 mins)


  1. Add the wine and turn up the heat and reduce by half, then add the stock, chopped tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce to the pan and reduce the heat. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 15-20 mins or util the liquid has reduced.  


  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. While the mince is simmering its time to make the white sauce. In a small pan melt the butter over a low heat, once melted start adding the flour while stirring continuously until the flour has all been added. Once combined into a thick paste cook for a further 1 min. Remove from the heat and gradually add the milk a little at a time while continuously whisking the mixture. Once all the milk has been added return to the heat and bring to the boil then simmer for 5 mins or until sauce has thickened.


  1. It’s time to layer up the lasagne, spread a third of the mince over the bottom of the baking dish and cover in a layer of the dried pasta, cover the paster in a even layer with a third of the white sauce, repeat this process twice and then finish with a generous amount of grated cheese to the top layer of white sauce, place in the oven and cook for 40-45 mins or until golden and bubbling.  Enjoy!




Freezing guidelines

Once cooled completely this dish can transferred to a freezer safe container and frozen for up to 1 month. To reheat, defrost thoroughly overnight in the fridge, once defrosted cover with foil and bake until completely heated through and piping hot!

Get In Touch

PLEASE NOTE:

"Due to high demand and limited supply we are UNABLE to offer a home delivery service or online ordering at this time. We have a good stock of high-quality meat within the shop and we're doing our utmost to provide for our customers at this difficult time. We appreciate your patience and understanding"

– Church's Team
Or just email/call us on
enquiries@churchsbutchers.co.uk
01992573231
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