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How to meal prep like a CHEF

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Meal preps have become wildly popular among foodies everywhere.

Super organised home cooks are now preparing meals in large batches, with ready-to-go breakfasts, lunches and dinners sorted for the entire week.

But MasterChef Australia star Poh Ling Yeow said this doesn’t have to be the case.

‘You don’t have to cook all complete meals,’ Poh told Daily Mail Australia.

‘I usually cook huge batches of stock, so it could be chicken, beef or vegetable stock. It freezes very well and you have a beautiful stock in the freezer full of flavour ready for you to take out at any point of time.’ 

The new ambassador of Crock-Pot shared her culinary tips to meal prep like a professional chef, the one go-to ingredient she uses to lift any dish and her top five winter kitchen pantry staples.

MasterChef Australia star Poh Ling Yeow said you don't have to cook entire meals in advance to successfully meal prep for the week

MasterChef Australia star Poh Ling Yeow said you don’t have to cook entire meals in advance to successfully meal prep for the week

When cooking her flavoursome stock, Poh said she likes to 'bulk up the flavour' with pieces of beef, gravy beef, or cheap cuts of lamb

When cooking her flavoursome stock, Poh said she likes to ‘bulk up the flavour’ with pieces of beef, gravy beef, or cheap cuts of lamb

What is the one ingredient that makes most dishes taste better? 

‘I use lemon juice for nearly everything,’ Poe said.

‘I’m not saying go crazy with it but it cuts through the meal when something tastes flat. 

‘It immediately creates acidity.’

When cooking her flavoursome stock, Poh said she likes to ‘bulk up the flavour’ with pieces of beef, gravy beef, or cheap cuts of lamb.

‘Let it braise down in the Crock-Pot and you can shred the meat up, add the  vegetables, cook everything down, or even add tinned tomatoes – and you have a beautiful stock full of flavours after a two hour wait,’ she said.

She said she usually uses the broth as a base for soups or noodles with vegetables. 

If your home cooked meal has ended in disaster, Poh said there was many ways to ‘rectify’ the dish ‘back into the right flavour’.

‘If you enjoy food, you tend to know where to drive it. But when something goes wrong, just add lemon juice, salt, or sugar – that’s really the trick,’ Poh said.

Poh Ling Yeow’s top five kitchen staples

  • Olive oil
  • Eggs
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Butter
  • Stock powder 

‘It’s about finding balance, and knowing how to bring it back, knowing how to redeem the flavour. Keep tasting and adding, you will know.

‘If you need more salt, maybe add soy sauce, if you want spice, you can add chilli with the right quantity, or a tiny bit of lemon juice. They add a little help with lifting the meal.

‘I use lemon juice for nearly everything. I’m not saying go crazy with it but it cuts through the meal when something tastes flat. It immediately makes acidity.’

Poh said the five kitchen pantry staples she stocks in her home every time are eggs, olive oil, tinned tomatoes, stock powder and butter.

‘Okay I’m not going to lie but I also have stock powder because sometimes when you’re desperate and don’t have anything at home, you can use stock powder to fill in the gaps,’ Poh laughed.

‘There are days where you need a stock but you don’t have time to cook one. They still make a nice meal and it’s the perfect winter dish.’

Poh said the five kitchen pantry staples she stocks in her home every time are eggs, olive oil, tinned tomatoes, stock powder and butter.

'Okay I'm not going to lie but I also have stock powder because sometimes when you're desperate and don't have anything at home, you can use stock powder to fill in the gaps,' Poh said, laughing

Poh said the five kitchen pantry staples she stocks in her home every time are eggs, olive oil, tinned tomatoes, stock powder and butter

'If you enjoy food, you tend to know where to drive it. But when something goes wrong, just add lemon juice, salt, or sugar - that's really the trick,' Poh said

 ‘If you enjoy food, you tend to know where to drive it. But when something goes wrong, just add lemon juice, salt, or sugar – that’s really the trick,’ Poh said

Back in the day: Poh rose to fame on MasterChef back in 2009, where she battled Julie Goodwin (left) in the final, but finished runner-up

Back in the day: Poh rose to fame on MasterChef back in 2009, where she battled Julie Goodwin (left) in the final, but finished runner-up

Sending fans wild! Sending fans wild! MasterChef's Poh Ling Yeow thrills viewers as she returns to the hit show with a blunt bob (pictured)

Sending fans wild! MasterChef veteran Poh Ling Yeow thrilled viewers when she returned to the hit show with a blunt bob on Tuesday (pictured L, before and R, on Tuesday)

Growing up, Poh said her mother would always cook with a Crock-Pot.

‘She still has one, which can classify as vintage. It’s remarkable to see what a long way it has come,’ Poh said.

‘When I realised I could pressure cook, steam, sauté and more, all in the one pot, I fell in love with the appliance as it is both a time and space saver.  

‘It’s funny, everyone thinks I’m whipping up fancy dinners every night but I’m just like all busy Aussies who need most meals to be fuss free.

Everyone thinks I’m whipping up fancy dinners every night but I’m just like all busy Aussies who need most meals to be fuss free 

‘My favourite thing about it is it keeps me eating healthily during those busy times when takeaway is really tempting – you can just bung everything in the one-pot, walk away and multitask like a boss. Who doesn’t love that? 

‘I’ve made sure there are recipes for the changing seasons and all stages of the day, so you get a great feel for how versatile this magic pot is. I hope everyone loves them as much as I do.’  

Poh’s ‘Eggs Poached in Tomato Chorizo Sauce’ is part of her new recipe series in partnership with Crock-Pot, which sets about to help Aussies get through the ‘mid-week meal dilemma’.  

Poh Ling Yeow’s eggs poached in tomato chorizo sauce recipe

Feeds 6

Preparation time: 5-10 minutes

Total cooking time: 15 minutes

‘This hearty and flavourful breakfast is one of our household favourites. It’s an excellent one for meal prep as it freezes very well and for those extra lazy Sunday mornings all you’ll need to do is re-warm the sauce and poach the eggs in it,’ Poh Ling Yeow said. 

‘If you’d like to make a vegetarian version, substitute the chorizo with 1 stick of celery, 1 carrot and 2-3 cloves of garlic all finely chopped. Sauté this with the onions and oil (you may need 1 tablespoon more) and follow step 2 onwards.’

Ingredients

  • 2 chorizo sausages, quartered lengthways, sliced 5mm
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (optional)
  • 1 x 400g tinned cannellini beans (butter beans), drained, rinsed
  • 400g tin diced or crushed tinned tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil (if needed)
  • 1 medium onion (red or brown), peeled, diced 1cm  
  • 1 capsicum (red or green), diced 1cm
  • 1 x 400g tinned red kidney beans
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 5-6 eggs 

For serving

  • Handful of roughly chopped parsley
  • Toasted slices of crusty loaf 

Method

1. Select SAUTÉ, then press START/STOP. Immediately combine the chorizo and onion in the Crock-Pot® Express Crock XL Multi-Cooker and wait for the fat to render out of the sausage. If there seems to be enough fat, omit the olive oil. Stir until the chorizo and onions are golden brown. Press START/STOP.

2. Select SIMMER, then press START/STOP. Add the sage and capsicum and stir for a few seconds. Add the two types of beans, tomato paste, and tinned tomatoes then taste to season.

3. Crack all your eggs into small bowls so ready to go. As you pour them into the chorizo mixture, use a wooden spoon to push a hole for them to fall into. Cover with glass lid and cook the eggs to your liking, then press START/STOP. Tip: Runny eggs take about 5-6 minutes; firmer yolks take 7-8 minutes.

4. Serve with slices of toasted crusty loaf and garnish with plenty of parsley.

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