Melissa’s Back to School Freezer Fillers
Hello, Melissa here.
As we begin to welcome September with slightly colder & darker mornings, it always feels like a great time to help our future Autumn/Winter selves by filling our freezer. Everyone’s in back to school & work mode, we’re saying farewell to our swimming cossies & sandals & welcoming back our jumper pile, & it’s a great time to have a little fridge forage with things that might need using up. Making big batches of soups and stews for evenings after school or work when you really don’t want to cook is the best present you can give yourself. And if you’ve made lots, give some to neighbours or loved ones who you know might really appreciate it too.
Here are some of my favourite back to school Freezer Fillers:
Cheering Chickpea Courgette Stew
This 30 minute cheerful one pot dinner is inspired by the great Alison Roman’s *special stew* which I made lots earlier this year with celeriac and works really well with courgettes. Also excellent if anyone’s been growing their own.
feeds 4, 30 mins
1 large onion, chopped
3 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped
1.5 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp butter, ghee or oil of your choice
800ml veg stock or chicken broth (I go for chicken broth)
560g cooked chickpeas (homecooked or equivalent of 2 x 400g tins, drained)
3 medium courgettes, 600g, peeled, chopped small
1 bunch leafy greens like kale/chard/spinach, finely chopped, 200g
1 x 400ml tin full fat coconut milk
pinch chilli flakes or a sprinkle of cayenne /chilli powder
fresh mint / coriander /parsley / dill
Dollop of full fat yoghurt per bowl.
- Gently fry the onions, garlic & ginger for 10 minutes until softened, stir every now & then. Use the time to chop the courgettes, to about the size of a big chickpea.
- Add the turmeric and chilli, the courgette, salt & pepper and fry for a few minutes.
- Add the coconut milk and liquid, pop the lid on & medium simmer for about 10 mins until the courgettes are tender. Get on with chopping the greens. Add the cooked chickpeas halfway through.
- Add the greens and cook for another 3 minutes until just tender then season to taste. Serve up with a dollop of yoghurt, fresh herbs & extra chilli flakes on top.
Store Cupboard Kale Bean Soup
This Kale & Bean Soup is a simple store cupboard hearty soup in just 20 minutes & is also vegan if you use coconut oil instead of ghee. Any dried herbs would work well here, if you grow some winter ones like rosemary or thyme, add a few fragrant sprigs. Swap the kale for spinach, chard or any leafy greens. If you use spinach, it doesn’t need much cooking time at all, so just add towards the end. If you’re not vegan like me, you could use a quality chicken broth and grate over a little parmesan or cheddar.
Spanish Chickpea Stew
Using store cupboard staples and spinach from the freezer, this Seville-inspired stew from ‘Eat Happy’ comes together in under 20 minutes and is a hit with everyone. You could swap the spinach for other greens, such as chopped chard, or add extra bits and bobs, such as a few tablespoons of capers, olives or chopped sun-dried tomatoes. I love this as a stew-like soup in a bowl, but you could make it thicker and serve with a side of quinoa (p. 150 of ‘Eat Happy’).
Quick Coconut Lentils with Pickled Onions
Pickled onions makes everything better and this is a fast, cheap and cheerful dinner. Red lentils are tender in less than 20 minutes so they are always on standby at mine. Pop any leftovers in the freezer so you’ve always got something lovely to look forward to.
Speedy Spiced Pumpkin Curry
This one is great when pumpkin is in season and you’ve got loads to use up. Using store-cupboard, every day ingredients, this Pumpkin Soup is delicious for a quick, one pan dish (meaning minimal washing up). When pumpkin isn’t in season, use sweet potato any other veggies that need using up.