As mentioned before, I like to roll my sleeves up and get a good cook-up going on the weekend. In part this is due to the amount of prep required while following a paleo or primal diet, but also because I like to know that I have enough food supplies for the week . It’s less hassle to pick up a few extra bits during a Sunday stroll than remembering to do it on my way home from work, and I’m less likely to pick up extra treats and ‘bargains’ if I don’t have a car with me!

For this week’s dinners I wanted a few big, veggie side dishes ready to heat and serve. It’s cold and wet outside so the temptation for stodge is strong ūüôā¬† For this week I’ve gone with an aubergine parmigiana (without cheese – just for versatility) and¬†¬†a sweet potato and red onion dauphinoise. I also needed to restock the freezer with different flavour meatballs and koftas, which I use for at least 2 dinners a week now.

Got started early (for me) by reworking the leftover sweet potato mash into a breakfast. Had about a heaped cup of mash, added 2 chopped spring onions and a couple of tablespoons of ground almonds to give it some form. After cooking some bacon I dolloped 4 ‘cakes’ of mix into the pan and made myself leave them alone for 5 minutes to get a good crust. Result was more like bubble and speak as they don’t hold together very well. Managed to turn them and make reasonable looking cakes to go with the bacon and a couple of poached eggs.

While the cakes were cooking, I got chopping.¬†Two big aubergine cut into thin slices; brushed with a little oil, S+P and dispatched into med-hot oven to cook completely. Onion, celery and garlic for the marinara sauce base. Left on back of the hob to simmer. Sliced red onions thinly¬†for dauphinoise. was going to get the food processor out for the sweet potato slivers, but was short on space and wasn’t feeling strong enough to lift it out of the larder anyway. Besides, slicing 3 spuds by hand isn’t that much. Sliced 4 big cloves of garlic and added to double cream and milk in a small sauce pan. Brought to the boil then turned it off and left it to infuse. Made myself a coffee, changed out of my PJ’s and ate my breakie. Put half dozen eggs on the hard boil.

Layered up the¬†cooked aubergine slices and marinara sauce, then bunged the dish in the oven for 20mins. The sweet potato looked like a lot more than I’d planned so had to dig out my biggest lasagne dish. Greased it then layered the potato slices and red onion slices with S+P and dried thyme until all used, finishing with potato to prevent nasty burned bit. Poured over the infused cream mix – forgot to remove garlic slices so they ended up on top. Covered dish in foil (to stop the garlic burning) and baked in oven for 1 hr. After 1 hr (only meant to do 45mins but got distracted washing up) took the foil off and gave in another 30mins to brown; checking every 10mins to make sure the garlic wasn’t burning.

While stuff was in the oven, I got mixing 2 batches of meatballs; Czech pork with caraway and wholegrain mustard, and a chorizo (of sorts). Take 2 big bowls. Put the relevant seasoning in each bowl. Make a coffee. Check on oven. Eventually stop flitting and take pork mince out of the fridge. Weigh meat before adding. Mix each bowl (washing hands in between to prevent cross-seasoning. Put both bowls in fridge out of the way until you have cleared enough space in kitchen to have 2 baking trays covered in greaseproof paper in front of you. I weigh my meatballs to ensure they’ll cook evenly and I get a consistent quantity from the batch. Take trays of perfectly formed balls and put in freezer to open freeze. After about an hour they should be quite firm so can be transferred to a ziplock baggie for easier storage. I¬†put mine together in 1 big bag as you can easily tell the¬†difference in colour.

Both veggie dishes done and cooled. Marked into portions (4 from the aubergine and 12 squares of dauphinoise), stored half in the fridge, other half in freezer wrapped in greaseproof and foil.

That little lot should cover me for all of tis week, and give me ready meals for next week too.

UPDATE: Spotted this article – sums up just how much you can get done even if you only have 10 minutes!