How to cook two easy family meals – at once!

More about mince in this post – it’s such a staple and we’re one of those families who eat spaghetti bolognese once a week. Ah, what a cliche, but it’s easy and tasty and healthy, especially when you ram it full of veg.

I like to cook things from scratch as much as possible. I am therefore always on the lookout for a shortcut of some kind, albeit one which still results in a proper home-cooked meal, one which we will also be able to tempt the four year-old to eat (part of at least).

And last week I developed a new plan, one I think I’ll be putting into action quite a bit because of its ease and how happy I was with the end result.

Our shopping usually includes a 750g pack of lean minced beef and as I was deciding whether to make bolognese or chilli for dinner with it, I looked at the ingredients and realised I could make both simultaneously, thus taking care of a few evening meals at once.

I split the mince into two pans and turned it on to brown, breaking it up as it began to cook.

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While this was happening, I prepped all of the veg, dicing onions and chopping up carrots, celery, red pepper and some mushrooms for the bolognese. After draining the fat from each pan, into each went some onion, celery and garlic (press out cubes from the freezer) to cook for a while.

The bolognese then came together with tomato puree, basil, mixed herbs, the mushrooms and half of the carrot and red pepper – I like to chuck as much veg as possible in there – while I added the other half of the c and rp to the chilli pan, plus some chilli powder, cinnamon, ground cumin and coriander.

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For each pan, then came the chopped tinned tomatoes,  a can of water (swirled round in the empty tomato tin to get all the good stuff) and, for the chilli, a can of chickpeas.

No kidney beans were harmed in the making of this chilli. I am afraid that I am one of those people who hates them with a passion (oh, the number of times I have had to force them down when I’m a guest somewhere and the food on offer is chilli). I can’t quite explain why, except to mention that they remind me of beetles. Not sure how much sense that makes but whatever the reason, they make me shudder.

Chickpeas? No such problem, so in they went. Both pots cooked for an hour or so before they were perfectly ready.

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We ate the chilli with wraps and rice, and some sour cream on the side, had the spag bol and next night, and leftovers the night after that.

Three of our meals for the week sorted in one semi-industrious session at the stove.

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