We've teamed up with Mash Direct to give one lucky Food&Wine reader the chance to win not one, not two, but three Mash Direct healthy boxes. Keep scrolling to find out how you can win this amazing prize...
At the start of the first lockdown, we were all challenged with the task of cooking every meal at home. There was no more popping to the shop to pick up a €3.50 lunch deal, no more meeting up with the girls on a Saturday morning for brunch, no more evenings spent dining at the latest restaurant to open up in the city centre. No, instead you were tasked with preparing five meals every day (three meals and two snacks) for multiple people in your home and only getting a grocery shop in every other week.
At first, it was a novelty. We bought meal planner journals online, we attempted new recipes, heck we even tried our hand at baking sourdough bread. But as time went on, the novelty wore off. Now, almost 365 days later since this all began, cooking has become yet another challenge we face daily as a result of the continued nationwide lockdown. Sure, there are some great restaurants and hotels offering delicious takeaways and meal-kits but even if you order from a new place every night, the novelty of that too wears off rather quickly. Not to mention it becomes a costly affair. Cue Meal Prep.
Meal prepping is by no means a new idea. In fact, it's most likely how you used to function before COVID-19. For the uninitiated, meal prepping can describe several different food preparation methods, but basically, it's almost like organising leftovers for easier breakfast, lunches, or dinners. There's no singular way to do it, but two common types include:
- Batch Cooking aka making big recipes at once (like on the weekends) and freezing or saving for use later on.
- Individually Portioned Meals aka divvying up different meals into portions ahead of time so you can grab and go.
Meal prepping can save you time and money since you're buying and preparing homemade food ahead of time. You'll always have dinner in the fridge so there's less excuse to order a takeaway or run to the shops several times a week for ingredients. Many people meal prep by shopping and cooking on the weekends, which may work better with your schedule than cramming it in during a weekday.
Deciding on what dishes you make for the week ahead is the easy part, the real challenge lies in sourcing the ingredients and the prep. Well, that's exactly where Mash Direct comes in.
Run by the Hamilton Family at their farm in Comber, County Down, Mash Direct grow and produce quality, Irish, convenient, vegetable and potato accompaniments. From Mashed Potato to Cauliflower Bites, the brand has a range of over 50 farm-fresh products. All products are gently steam cooked immediately after harvesting to ensure an unrivalled freshness of flavour as well as retaining the natural texture and nutritional benefits of the ingredients. All products are 100% gluten-free and free from artificial colourings and flavourings. The brand has also been recognised over the years for its award-winning products, ranging from Great Taste Award Wins to the Irish Quality Food Awards as well as the Blas na hÉireann Awards.
If batch cooking your meals and eating from lunchboxes doesn't sound like your bag, the wonderful thing about Mash Direct is that they do the meal prep for you. The Mash Direct range is perfect as an ingredient for classic Irish dishes such a Fish Pie; Cottage Pie, or perhaps Baked fillets of sole topped with a creamy mash. The brand also has a whole host of pre-prepared vegetables which are great for using in soups or on days when you just can't be bothered to peel a bag of carrots. You can even elevate your Friday nights in by making a delicious fakeaway with the aid of Mash Direct's delicious beer battered chips, onion rings and curry chips.
HOW TO WIN:
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