With Autumn just around the corner, salads go out the window and you start to think of those meals which will warm you up on those colder days. And we have all seen the increase in our shopping bills over the last few years which is why batch cooking has taken over!! Meals which you can cook in bulk and put in your freezer to use another day, not only saves you time but most certainly will save you money too.

Here are our top 3 meals which are tasty, healthy and will also be kind to your bank balance.

Sensational Beef Stew

Serves: 10

Freezer Safe: 2 Months

Ingredients: 900g stewing steak; 3 tablespoons vegetable oil; 4 beef stock cubes, crumbled; 1L water; 1 teaspoon dried rosemary; 1 teaspoon dried parsley; 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper; 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed; 5 carrots, chopped; 3 sticks celery, chopped; 1 large onion, chopped; 2 teaspoons cornflour; and 2 teaspoons cold water.

Method: In a large casserole, cook stewing steak in oil over medium heat until brown. Dissolve stock cubes in water and pour into pan. Stir in rosemary, parsley and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour. Stir potatoes, carrots, celery and onion into the casserole. Dissolve cornflour in 2 teaspoons cold water and stir into stew. Cover and simmer 1 hour more.

Fishmongers Fish Cakes

Serves: 4

Freezer Safe: 1 Month

Ingredients: 500g mashed potatoes; 500g cooked fish, flaked (cod, salmon, haddock); 1 egg, beaten; 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest; 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley; salt and pepper to taste; plain flour for dusting; and olive oil for frying.

Method: In a bowl, combine all ingredients except for the flour and olive oil. Flour a clean work surface. Take 1 heaping tablespoon of the fish cake mixture, roll into a ball, then pat down into a flat fish cake shape. Dust lightly with flour. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Shallow fry the cakes until brown and crispy on both sides.

Note: When freezing the fish cakes, you do not need to fry the fish cakes first. Just wrap the uncooked fish cakes in cling film and take out when ready to defrost and fry.

Spicy Vegetarian Chilli

Serves: 8

Freezer Safe: 2 Months

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil; 1 onion, chopped; 2 to 3 carrots, chopped; 3 cloves garlic, minced; 1 green pepper, chopped; 1 red pepper, chopped; 2 sticks celery, chopped; 2 tablespoon chilli powder; 200g mushrooms, chopped; 400g tin peeled plum tomatoes, chopped; 400g tin kidney beans; 340g tin sweetcorn (undrained); 1 tablespoon ground cumin; 1 teaspoons dried oregano; and 2 teaspoons dried basil.

Method: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions, carrots and garlic until tender. Stir in green pepper, red pepper, celery and chilli powder. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, and cook 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, kidney beans and sweetcorn. Season with cumin, oregano and basil. Bring to the boil, and reduce heat to medium. Cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

These are just a couple of ideas which you can use when considering batch cooking. If you are ever unsure of how long you can freeze a product for you can always check out the Food Safety website.

Also, make sure you follow the Food Standards Agency guidelines on defrosting and re-heating food.

We’d love to know your favourite meals for freezing! You can tweet us or message us on Facebook!