Couscous is a versatile companion when things have to be done quickly. Whether as a salad, side dish or dessert – with our top 20 couscous recipes you can conjure up something delicious on your plate in 30 minutes.

You probably know couscous as a refreshing salad with mint or as a filling side dish in an Arabic restaurant. But couscous can be used to prepare even more tasty and quick recipes. How about, for example, couscous patties, herb couscous with asparagus, stuffed peppers with couscous or sweet couscous rice pudding? We’ll show you which aromatic recipes you can make with couscous. 

Couscous is healthy and filling

Couscous is originally from North Africa . Over time, couscous has also penetrated our latitudes and is enjoying increasing popularity – couscous is particularly popular in France and Israel. Couscous is mainly made from durum wheat semolina, but also from barley or millet. The traditional manufacturing done by hand: a mixture of semolina and flour is spread out and wetted with water, so that a lumpy mass is formed. This mass is rubbed between the palms of the hands so that the small couscous balls emerge after drying in the sun. A very complex and tedious job that is now done by machines. If the semolina remains shell parts and sprouts, the couscous is also known as whole-grain couscous because it then contains more fiber and has a little more bite.

Couscous is a healthy filler: it contains plenty of filling fiberand low in calories . Like all grains, couscous contains many minerals and B vitamins . Couscous can be kept for about six months if stored in a dark, cool place in a sealed container. After that, the couscous may taste a bit rancid.

Couscous: traditional or simple quick meal

The traditionally produced couscous is prepared by steaming. When cooked, the couscous would just clump together and lose too much of its nutty flavor and nutrients. When steamed, however, the couscous stays nice and soft and grainy. This requires a couscoussière, a special saucepan with a sieve attachment. The couscous in the top is cooked by the steam or the rising vapors of a cooking dish, which makes the couscous wonderfully aromatic. By loosening it up several times during steaming, the couscous also gets a light, light consistency. If you don’t have a special pressure cooker at hand, you can also use a simple sieve with a suitable pot for couscous as an alternative. A dash of olive oil at the end of the cooking time gives the couscous a nice aroma.

Unfortunately, there is often not enough time for such an elaborate preparation of couscous. This is where the pre-cooked instant couscous, which can now be found in almost every supermarket, can help. This simple variant is very popular and practical because recipes with couscous can be prepared in no time at all: Simply pour boiling water or broth over the couscous, let it soak for 5 – 10 minutes – done ! A little butter or olive oil gives the couscous a particularly fine note and remains fluffy and grainy at the same time. With instant couscous , all recipes can prepare that are made in the original with traditional couscous.

Couscous: perfect for oriental recipes

Couscous recipe with shrimp

The term couscous not only means the ingredient itself, but also many different dishes that often have an oriental touch. Coucous is also understood as the North African national dish, for example, in which couscous is served with (mutton) meat, vegetables and chickpeas.

The possibilities for preparing couscous are amazingly diverse and infinitely varied . Whether spicy, sweet, cold or warm – couscous is a real all-rounder! Due to its pleasantly neutral taste, couscous harmonizes with almost everything, so that couscous can be wonderfully combined with all kinds of vegetables, meat and fish or in a salad.

Couscous wonderfully light as a salad

Couscous is also great for cold dishes, especially salads! A great couscous salad can be prepared from the small grains in various variations, which tastes wonderfully refreshing with the addition of a lemon juice and olive oil dressing and a little vegetables. A great option for salad is couscous with feta, chickpeas, spring onions and peppers . A particularly fresh option for couscous salad is to mix chopped carrots, apples, and walnuts with the couscous. And salad doesn’t only taste good in summer: For a Christmas twist, you can use cinnamon, honey, dried apricots and chopped almonds Mix with the salad. A couscous salad also tastes lukewarm, but of course couscous salad is also great to prepare – for the lunch break or as a salad for a barbecue evening. For example, this refreshing salad with tomatoes, feta and fresh herbs is delicious:

The dressing for the salad can also be varied a lot: The refreshing dressing made from olive oil and lemon juice can be easily refined with other ingredients. Herbs such as parsley or mint are popular, for example . If you refine the olive oil with spices, such as curry, sambal oelek or chili, you have created a completely different salad with light means. If you prefer Mediterranean cuisine, you can also season with rocket, thyme, rosemary or basil. On the other hand, some prefer a creamier salad dressing. To do this, simply stir olive oil with a little yogurt and then add herbs and spices, depending on the recipe. If the lemon juice in the salad dressing is too sour for you, the olive oil can whip up a mild orange juice instead.

Pasta with pesto – that’s all too often my answer to the question of what I’m going to eat today. But this has nothing to do with ready-mix. Because nothing beats homemade pesto.

Making pesto yourself is not only quick and easy, but also just the thing for – every day! Here we have 10 recipes for pesto from basil pesto to pesto rosso to unusual pesto recipes with spinach and walnuts or mint. Good Appetite!

Pesto alla genovese & variations

Basil, roasted pine nuts, parmesan, olive oil and garlic – that’s what you need for the typical Italian “pesto alla genovese”. The ingredients are ground in a mortar. The hand blender or blender jar is faster and requires less effort. The ingredients are chopped up until the desired creamy consistency is obtained. In that time your pasta will be al dente and your lunch ready to serve!

Pesto has a very intense taste and is processed cold , which means that the fresh aromas of the basil are retained. Pesto lovers don’t just appreciate the basil variant – all ingredients can be exchanged as desired. Instead of basil, you can use a wide variety of herbs (e.g. wild garlic, mint or rocket).

With nuts and kernels (walnuts, cashews, almonds or pumpkin seeds), oils and hard cheese you can create great new taste experiences. Almost as popular as the classic “Pesto alla genovese” is the “Pesto rosso”. Instead of basil, you use dried tomatoes, which give the pesto its strong, dark red color.

The most popular types of pesto include:

  • Red pesto : Dried tomatoes in oil, (basil), tomato paste, garlic, pine nuts (alternatively with almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts), chilli pepper and parmesame
  • Wild garlic pesto : wild garlic, (pine nuts), salt and oil
  • Parsley pesto : parsley, garlic, pine nuts, almond leaves, parmesan, olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Two kinds of herb pesto : parsley, basil, garlic, pine nuts, pecorino cheese and olive oil
  • Mint pesto : mint, pistachios, chilli, olive oil, orange peel, pecorino cheese and salt

Pesto butter is also very tasty. Simply replace the oil with softened butter. Put the whole thing in a mold and let it cool in the refrigerator. Pesto bread is another idea how to use your pesto.

Pesto goes well with … almost anything

Pesto doesn’t just go with pasta! Pesto tastes good not only with pasta but also with fish or meat. Here we have 10 recipe ideas on how you can enjoy your pesto. For example, spread pesto rosso on pizza! Even fish like salmon or pike go very well with a pesto. Convince yourself and try our recipes with homemade pesto.

Cooking cheaply but still tasty – who doesn’t know this challenge? Regardless of whether you are a student, housewife or pensioner: Anyone can save money with little tricks. 

The simplest dishes are often the most delicious – we already knew that as children. Back then, who would prefer caviar to potato pancakes? Fresh ingredients and a flair for the right combination are more important than the cost of a meal. You should certainly treat yourself to something, but not every day – otherwise it wouldn’t be anything special after all! In our recipe section you will find inexpensive dishes for which your budget will certainly still be enough at the end of the month.

Cooking cheaply Tip 1: Plan the week

Cooking cheaply starts with well thought-out planning: Think a few days in advance what you want to cook on the following days and then go shopping accordingly. So you can coordinate dishes and use leftovers optimally, buy bulk packs and take special offers. Do you need ideas for this? Then take a look at the chef’s weekly schedule . 

Cooking cheaply Tip 2: Buy in advance

Take a look around your storage cupboard to see how many foods actually have a longer shelf life. This ranges from pasta, couscous, rice or lentils to tomato paste and oil to wiener sausages, tuna, chickpeas, Mie noodles or pickles. You can buy all of these groceries in larger quantities if they are on sale and always have them in stock. This has two advantages: you save money and you always have long-lasting basic ingredients to combine great dishes from leftover, perishable ingredients.

Cooking cheaply Tip 3: Don’t shop hungry

You probably know that too: You already go shopping with a grumbling stomach and in the end there are chips, biscuits, mini salamis, a ready-made wrap from the cooling shelf, hearty waffles and lots of other products in the shopping cart that tend to satisfy the quick hunger . But do you really need these things? Or should they just satisfy your cravings? The fact is: If you go shopping hungry, you often grab delicacies that are not absolutely necessary – and the nice planning was in vain. Better get used to shopping on a full stomach and, above all, buying the things you need to cook something for yourself.

Cooking cheaply Tip 4: Shop in the right place

Fortunately, we have high food standards in Germany. In contrast to other countries, in this country you can also get goods that are okay in discount stores. So if you want to save, you can buy standard products in the discounter. Only supplement your shopping in the supermarket with products that are not available at the discounter. In the supermarket you should use the chains’ own brands for standard products, because these are much cheaper than the branded products. And in branded products and own brands in supermarkets, both packages often contain the same product. And another tip for shopping: You can often find the cheapest products in the bottom third of the shelves, so don’t just look at eye level.

Cook cheaply Tip 5: Shop seasonally and regionally

Strawberries and asparagus are good examples: If you want to buy them outside of the actual season, you have to dig deeper into your pockets, as these are then imported from North Africa, Israel or Spain, for example. Therefore, you should preferably buy seasonal products that come from the region – these are not only cheaper than the imported products, but also particularly fresh and gentle on the environment.

Cooking cheaply Tip 6: Assess your needs correctly

Buying in advance makes sense, but only if the food is actually used up. So don’t buy three-packs of peppers if you only need a single pepper. Perhaps the kilo price is not expensive, but what use is it to you if the leftovers spoil?

Cooking cheaply Tip 7: Use leftovers wisely

Speaking of leftovers: don’t let any ingredients spoil. That may sound obvious, but it’s not that easy to implement. The be-all and end-all here means optimal utilization of leftovers . What you cannot use for other dishes: Simply freeze remaining ingredients such as minced meat, vegetables or sauces. What you can conjure up with leftover pasta with other leftovers from the refrigerator, we show you in the video. Carsten Dohrs provides further tips so that nothing has to be thrown away in your kitchen.

Cooking cheaply Tip 8: Don’t throw anything away too soon

Basically, you don’t have to take the best-before date (BBD) too seriously – many products can be used a few days longer. For example, if you store rice, pasta, couscous or tea in a dry and clean place, you can use these products well beyond their best-before date. Even with more sensitive products such as yogurt, milk or butter, the best-before date does not have to be the throw-away date. Here you should take a close look at the products, sniff them and trust your senses. You can usually use such products unopened for a few days beyond the best before date. Only food with “To be used by” written on it should be disposed of immediately after the specified date. These products are more susceptible to germs, for example minced meat. 

Cooking cheaply Tip 9: Reduce meat

Cooking cheaply also means vegetarian – because meat is often the most expensive ingredient in many everyday dishes. You don’t have to do without meat entirely, but a few vegetarian meals per week can take the pressure off your wallet noticeably and eating less meat is also good for your health. Finally, nutrition experts like WHO advise eating a maximum of 600 grams of meat or sausage per week.

Cooking cheaply Tip 10: Take your time

Always prepares what you can do yourself: In many cases, finished products are unnecessary and too expensive and sometimes you don’t really save a lot of time with them. For example, ready-made baking mixes in which you have to add fresh milk and eggs anyway. Or the packed and washed lettuce – which not only spoils much faster than a fresh head of lettuce, but also often brings with it unwanted germs. Ready-made dough for tarte flambée only saves a little preparation time, but costs significantly more than the ingredients flour, olive oil, salt and water. The same applies to pizza dough – if you plan early, you will also get over the waiting time until the yeast dough has risen. Admittedly, these products may be practical, but certainly not cheap and also not really healthy.

Your children are at home, you work in the home office and your stomach growls? Then you need quick recipes that the whole family will enjoy. 

Now comes what goes quickly on the plate. Pasta, puff pastry, couscous and wraps – all of this is ready quickly and can be easily spiced up with fresh vegetables and little effort. In this way you can rediscover the standard fillers again and again and still feed yourself and your children healthy. 

A quick lunch is also healthy

It is important to parents that children eat healthily. Is that also possible when things have to be done quickly? Sure, because it works with very simple measures. Most importantly, children eat plenty of plant-based foods:

  • Colorful vegetables are best served every day. It can be raw food as a snack – or you can simply top the pizza with vegetables (zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, …). instead of salami and ham. It goes quickly anyway. Open sandwiches can also be spiced up with radishes, tomatoes or cucumber slices.
  • Fruit also goes well with hearty dishes: curry sauce with pineapple, mandarins or peaches taste wonderfully fruity.
  • If you make pasta or rice, just use the whole grain option.

You can use these simple tricks to prepare lunch quickly and healthily. You can find even more tricks and recipes in this article: Cooking for Children.

Cooking quick recipes with kids

Even if you only have a short lunch break, it is worth having the children help you prepare the dishes. This has two advantages: The children are kept busy and the children usually like it better if they were allowed to help with the cooking. So be sure to let your children with you in the kitchen.

Children can help wonderfully with a vegetable casserole: grease the mold, chop vegetables, sprinkle cheese on the casserole …

Here children can help with cooking: 

  • Give them (depending on the age of the child) a children’s knife to cut mushrooms or other soft vegetables into small pieces,
  • let them stir the (pancake) batter,
  • Even the youngest can make pizza toppings.
  • Pouring spices into the pot is great fun for children. And if the food is a little more seasoned, it’s not so tragic. Just be careful with salt and pepper … Better to start with dried herbs.

Banana bread is super juicy, quick to make and is always a delight for young and old. You can find out how to do it here.

I have to admit that I discovered banana bread very late, but now I don’t want to be without it. Fortunately, my initial skepticism that the bananas in banana bread dominate the taste too much has not been confirmed. Banana bread doesn’t taste as much like bananas as the name might suggest. The bananas only give the popular box cake a super juicy and very aromatic consistency.

In the meantime, I also like to vary my banana bread and try it with chocolate , nuts , fresh or dried  fruits and sometimes even more unusual with  avocado . There are no limits to your imagination.

I prefer to eat banana bread just plain or with sweet spreads such as jam, nut nougat cream or peanut butter, but cream cheese or mild sausage also go very well with a piece of banana bread.

Banana bread: the basic recipe

Whenever I have a few overripe bananas that I don’t want to use to make ice cream or smoothies, I make a juicy banana bread out of them. My basic “Banana Bread” recipe for a loaf pan (25 or 30 cm) usually looks like this:

  • 100 g soft butter
  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 200 g of brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 packet of vanilla sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 220 g of flour
  • 1 handful of walnuts

You can also leave out the sugar if you want to bake a slightly healthier banana bread or use it for hearty cold cuts.

Whether for breakfast or as a quick energy supplier on the go: banana bread always works.

Banana bread: simply replace ingredients

Banana bread without extra fat and sugar

Banana bread without extra fat and sugar

Delicious, wholesome and healthy

Banana bread is more cake than bread, but without the guilty conscience afterwards. Vegans can even bake banana bread without eggs or milk at all. Sugar and additional fat can also be safely left out and turn the banana bread into a real fitness bread . This makes it ideal for children or as a first birthday cake for babies. And so you can easily replace the ingredients:

  • The  egg  can you replace them with 2 tablespoons swollen chia seeds or flax seeds. An egg can also compensate for one more banana.
  • Instead of sugar, you can use agave syrup, honey or coconut blossom sugar (the ripe bananas, however, also give off a lot of natural sweetness).
  • You can swap milk for soy, oat, almond or rice milk.
  • Instead of butter, you can use applesauce, vegetable oil, coconut oil or quark.
  • As a substitute for wheat flour , light spelled flour (type 630) is suitable. If it’s gluten-free, coconut or rice flour and ground almonds are good choices. 200 g of tender oat flakes are also a good substitute for flour.

Have fun trying it out and enjoy your meal!

Find out here what little hobby cooks are allowed to do at what age when cooking – and why children develop a feeling for healthy eating in addition to the correct handling of food.

Roll out the cake dough with a rolling pin, help with weighing ingredients or sort out berries: many tasks in the kitchen are a lot of fun for children. At the latest when they re-enact the cooking and entertain cuddly toys, they have learned enough from the adults and are sure to be thrilled when they can help out in the kitchen. 

Recipes for cooking with children

Before we start with tips and tricks about cooking with children, we would like to give you a few recipes: Most children like our 10 recipe ideas and your little ones can help diligently with the preparation. In this way, the youngest members of the family are not only full, but are also meaningfully employed and, in the end, proud as bolle!

Cooking with children: from what age?

The best way for little beginners to get started with baking and cooking is to bake cookies – it’s fun and a little snacking in between is also allowed. Even beginners can knead dough, cut out funny figures and decorate the cookies as they please. Topping the pizza or pasta bake with sliced ​​vegetables, cheese or salami is just as easy. If they already have a little more experience, the little ones can turn fried potatoes, whisk the scrambled eggs or measure ingredients and put them in the mixing bowl – under the supervision of their parents, of course. The consumer advice center has summarized which activities are no problem for small children’s hands from which age :

  • From the age of two : sorting food, harvesting fruit and herbs
  • From three years : wash fruit, vegetables and salad, stir the dough
  • From four years : cut and peel soft food, butter bread, set the table and clear it, cook with the stove
  • From the age of five : weigh ingredients, help bake cakes, fry eggs

However, adults should always take into account their child’s level of development and consider whether the information also applies to their child. Between the ages of six and eight, children then have the motor skills and understanding to help with all activities and – depending on their experience – to cook small dishes themselves.

Children cook independently

  • When adults cook under time pressure, children should better not help
  • Attach safety items: protective grille for the stove, door and drawer locks, lids for hot plates
  • Cook on the back plates
  • Turn the pan handle backwards
  • Do not leave electrical appliances near water
  • Put sharp knives point down in the dishwasher and always close the door

But that doesn’t mean you have to turn the kitchen into a high-security wing. Rather, children should learn how to use kitchen equipment correctly right from the start. You can cut with a blunt children’s knife from the age of four. It also helps young chefs when mom or dad explain in the kitchen why they do certain things. For example, why you touch hot handles with the pot holder or why you always cut away from your body. Also important: Teach the little ones straight away that things are tidied up together after work. So after the work is done, throw away the leftovers, put everything back in its place and rinse together.

Cooking with children: creating a sense of achievement

For children it is simply the most important thing: fun! Let the little chefs mix colorful smoothies, put faces on the pizza or blindly sniff all the spice jars before seasoning. For adults, on the other hand, cooking with children is a bit of a challenge: in order to keep the children enjoying cooking, parents sometimes have to accept that the kitchen will become a battlefield – and their offspring will, for example, mix the sauce themselves despite the splashes on the wall to let. And if the result is not that successful, even adult cooking experts have to hold back with criticism. After all, no (cooking) master has fallen from heaven! Or what do the experts say?

Interview with Sonja Fahmy: “The important thing is having fun!”

Nutritionist Sonja Fahmy advises the German Nutrition Society on issues such as healthy eating in daycare. In an interview, she explains why experience with food is important for children, how they can best learn to cook and what adults should pay attention to when they leave their kitchen to the youngsters.

Ms. Fahmy, children are often picky about food. Do children spurn vegetables such as spinach & Co less often when they are allowed to harvest, chop and prepare them themselves?

It is quite normal for children to reject certain foods. Whether they like something or not is closely related to “knowing” the taste. If children are allowed to help with the preparation of the meal, it can of course help to familiarize them with unknown dishes and motivate them to try the “green stuff” too.

What do children learn about food when they come into contact with it early on by helping out in the kitchen?

Children are naturally curious and enthusiastic about many everyday tasks. This also applies to cooking. You will get to know the origins of food. For example, that a potato has to be cooked before it is soft and can be eaten. When helping in the kitchen, children also have the opportunity to perceive food with all their senses. You smell fresh herbs, taste salty, see how a dough is made from different ingredients or hear the meat sizzling in the pan. By spending time together in the kitchen, motor skills are also trained, which has a positive effect on other areas of life.

Many of us are currently in the home office due to the Corona crisis. We have put together a few recipes and tips for you so that we can eat healthily while working at home and do not put on unnecessary quarantine kilos.

Being in the home office presents many nutritional challenges, but also many advantages. So we are finally no longer externally controlled by the canteen offerings or the daily food trucks and are not incited to snack on sweets by colleagues. The risk of eating a much too large piece of birthday cake is also greatly reduced in the home office. At home we are our own chef and we determine what is on the table. To ensure that it is as healthy as possible and, in the best case, even serves as food for the nerves, it helps to take a closer look at the following tips and recipes.

7 tips for a healthy diet in the home office

  1. Do not take your meals in front of your PC , but instead sit at the table, on the couch or on the balcony – this way you eat much more consciously, you are more full and the change of location lets you switch off your head.
  2. Schedule fixed break times as if they were business appointments – otherwise it can quickly happen that you eat too much in between and therefore constantly.
  3. Allow yourself at least 20 minutes for each meal – only then will you feel full .
  4. If you get hungry in between , a few nuts, a carrot or pieces of tangerine are a good alternative to chocolate bars, biscuits and the like – this is how you provide the body with the vital substances it needs to stay healthy.
  5. Drink  at least 2 liters of water or unsweetened tea a day to stay focused and fit – you should avoid soft drinks and fruit juices because of their high sugar content.
  6. Plan your weekly shopping with a shopping list and check beforehand in the refrigerator and pantry what is already there – this saves time and money and prevents unhealthy purchases.
  7. Cook as freshly as possible and only use bag soup, ready-made pizzas, etc. in exceptional cases, otherwise performance will drop rapidly – our recipes show you how quick and easy this can be.

Supplies for a healthy diet in the home office

These products help you to eat healthily in the home office and are real brain food. You can buy them in advance when you go shopping for the week and change them into great recipes again and again. 

  • Whole wheat pasta and rice
  • Potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • Legumes like chickpeas, beans or lentils
  • Millet, bulgur or couscous
  • Onions and garlic 
  • Carrots, beets, radishes or parsnips
  • Frozen vegetables and fruits – great for smoothies or in yoghurt
  • Passed tomatoes and tomato paste
  • For exotic flavors: coconut milk, curry paste, ginger
  • Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts (this is also great for making nut milk – just mix with water)
  • Kernels and seeds such as chia seeds or pumpkin seeds
  • Smoked fish – plenty of healthy omega-3 fatty acids serve as food for the nerves

With this in mind, #stayathomeandcook and stay healthy!

Pre-cooking is more relevant than ever in times when more and more people are eating more consciously. We give you valuable tips and many meat-free recipes for pre-cooking.

With pre-cooking you can save time, money and tons of calories. If you turn it into a weekly ritual – for example shopping on Saturdays, pre-cooking for the week on Sundays – you will become real meal prep professionals in no time. The term Meal Prep (from the English “meal preparation”) brings together people from all over the world who exchange their favorite recipes and tips. This also shows that precooking has long been part of everyday life for many people.

Pre-cooking: veggie recipes

In our recipe gallery for vegetarian recipes for pre-cooking you will find all kinds of delicacies that you can prepare for your lunch break, for example. If you have a microwave or an oven available, you can jump into every recipe in this article. A lot can also (or only) be enjoyed cold , especially wraps and salads.

Particularly suitable for pre-cooking Incidentally, soups and stews are . These taste even better from the second day onwards. In addition, they fill you up without you falling into the famous eating coma. But casseroles and salads are also very typical meal prep dishes that you can prepare cheaply and quickly and freely adapt to your taste.

Pre-cooking: this is how it works

In our general article on precooking, we have already prepared extensive instructions that we recommend to absolute precooking newbies. There you can also find out which ingredients keep fresh and how long after cooking. Nevertheless, we would like to give you 5 tips for precooking , with which you can avoid typical beginner mistakes.

1. Start small

If you have little or no experience with pre-cooking, then we advise you to bake slightly smaller rolls at the beginning. What it means is that you don’t try two or three dishes at the same time, but instead concentrate on one recipe . Ideally, you have already cooked it and know that it will still taste good after a few days in the fridge or freezer.

This ensures that your first pre-cooking does not degenerate into stress and spoil your desire for a great thing. As first dishes we can recommend vegetarian chilli , a quick (and cheap) stew and couscous salad .

Feta and chard pockets

2. Plan properly

Before you go shopping, make a detailed plan of which dishes you want to pre-cook and when you want to eat them. If you’re only cooking one dish anyway, that’s less relevant. But if you pre-cook for the whole working week, you should make sure that at least one dish stays fresh in the refrigerator until Friday or you can freeze it until then.

You can also avoid leftovers by pre-cooking . If there are any vegetables left over from cooking a vegetable stew, you can cook them in the oven, for example, and include them as a light lunch with a sour cream. If you still have spaghetti left over, you can process it into hearty muffins that you can enjoy cold during your lunch break.

3. Let the food cool down quickly

Pre-cooking is really worthwhile if you cook large quantities. So you have lots of portions of delicious, home-cooked food in stock and you don’t have to go to the currywurst stand around the corner or ready-made meals from the supermarket during your lunch break. After cooking, you should quickly divide your large portion of chilli, soup or stew into small portions . These cool significantly faster than a huge portion.

We recommend that you simply have suitable plastic or glass containers ready that are well suited for a lunchtime portion. Do not put your freshly cooked portions directly in the fridge or freezer , but let them cool down until they are maximally lukewarm.

ADDITIONAL TIP: YOU BETTER NOT FREEZE THESE INGREDIENTS

 Dairy products, boiled potatoes and vegetables and fruits with a high water content – for example cucumber and zucchini – are unsuitable for freezing .

4. It depends on the equipment

In our experience, it is extremely helpful to use the right containers: if you divide your pre-cooked food into lockable storage boxes that are easy to transport and microwave-safe immediately after cooking, you have killed two birds with one stone.

In the USA in particular, many rely on so-called meal prep containers . These are practical boxes with several chambers that are specially designed so that, for example, potatoes are not soaked in sauce when they are stored. You can also get these Meal Prep Containers in Germany and of course they are reusable.

5. Practice makes perfect

Successful pre-cooking has a lot to do with experience . It can happen that you notice that after three days in the refrigerator a dish no longer tastes as good as it did after one. Don’t let this discourage you: little by little, your very own personal collection of great pre-cooked dishes will come up on its own, if you are only open to new ideas.

As a starting point, you can browse through the vegetarian recipes from this article. Everyone is guaranteed to find something to their taste here! If you register for free on Chefkoch, you have access to your very own cookbook , in which you can directly create a collection of dishes that are suitable for pre-cooking.

Casseroles or gratins are absolute favorites from the oven, because they are quick to make, varied and make a fine side dish or main meal that really fills you up. We’ll show you the best recipes for your next oven dish.

Potatoes, pasta, vegetables and meat can always be used to create new ideas, so casseroles and gratins are always a good idea when there is leftover food.

Casserole or gratin – what’s the difference?

casserole usually consists of different ingredients layered on top of each other, which are poured in a tall form with a spicy egg-cream mixture or a bechamel sauce and baked with grated cheese, breadcrumbs and butter flakes. In addition to filling ingredients such as pasta and potatoes, they usually contain vegetables, fish, meat or sausage and thus form a complete main meal. The prepared al dente ingredients cook in the oven and the cheese melts golden brown.

gratin is the slightly finer variant and usually consists of only one or two ingredients that are served as a side dish, e.g. potatoes or vegetables. The gratin shape is flatter, so that mostly only one layer is baked or “gratinated” at high heat, creating a very crispy surface. The transitions from gratin to casserole are now fluid and colloquially the terms are often exchanged. But the baked delicacies have one thing in common – they always taste delicious!

Casseroles and gratins – whatever your heart desires

The classic par excellence is certainly the pasta casserole : A perfect use of leftovers when pasta is left over from the day before, and when time is short, a pasta casserole in the oven makes itself almost automatically when the noodles can cook in the sauce. The second classic is the potato gratin, a popular filling side dish that is also served on festive occasions. But besides pasta and potatoes as the main ingredient, casseroles and gratins can actually be prepared with all the ingredients your heart desires:

You should always pay attention to the different cooking times of the ingredients when putting together cheerfully. Anyone who enriches a potato casserole with soft vegetables such as tomatoes or zucchini must expect the zucchini and tomatoes to come out of the oven very soft – or to pre-cook the potatoes. You should also be careful not to combine too many types of vegetables that contain a lot of water. For example, you can remove the seeds from tomatoes beforehand so that the casserole or gratin doesn’t get too runny. Unless you eat the casserole or gratin as a main course in combination with rice, for example – a good amount of liquid won’t do any harm so that the dish doesn’t get too dry overall.

Casseroles and gratins – the perfect cheese

When gratinating, you have the option of choosing a cheese according to your taste. Soft cheeses such as young grated Gouda, mozzarella or brie give the casserole or gratin a wonderful creamy cheese layer . Feta cubes, sheep’s cheese or fresh goat’s cheese on the casserole also give an intense taste. If you like it even creamier, you can add creme fraîche or cream cheese to the casserole. If you love a crispy crust on a gratin or casserole, you can choose between different methods

Sweets and desserts from the oven are also in great demand with those with a sweet tooth. Fruit in particular is ideal: pears, apples, peaches or berries can be turned into great gratins and casseroles.

Gratins are the finer variant of the casseroles. They can also be combined in many ways and put together according to your own taste. A purely vegetarian variant is ideal as a side dish. The refined gratins from the oven are tasty for young and old and are a great change from normal vegetable side dishes. Here you will find exciting recipes that are absolutely suitable for everyday use – quick, easy, delicious. Let yourself be inspired by our recipes and simply combine your favorite gratin yourself.

Almost five million tons of plastic waste are generated in Germany every year. A big factor: food packaging. There are alternatives!

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The discussion about the large amounts of garbage that is generated with every purchase is not new. It revolves around cucumbers wrapped in plastic or thin films that can be found between slices of cheese. The fact that the cheese is of course already shrink-wrapped in plastic hardly needs to be mentioned. As a result, purchases in conventional supermarkets are often anything but sustainable.

In May 2018, activists in some European cities, including Berlin, took a stand against plastic packaging in supermarkets – with so-called “plastic attacks”. They put the groceries they bought directly in the market in cloth bags and storage jars and left behind the packaging waste that supermarkets have to take back (to a certain extent).

The campaign has actually attracted attention and yet it is primarily politicians and supermarkets that have to deal with the problem in order to quickly improve the situation. This has actually already happened to a limited extent: plastic bags, for example, have not been free for a long time. Rewe and Penny have also carried out initial tests to label fruit and vegetables with laser engraving and no longer pack them.

What can be done against the masses of packaging waste?

 

Free food Deinet

 

If you want to take out the garbage less often and at the same time protect the environment, you can make sure to buy food with as little packaging as possible in the supermarket. If you try that seriously, you will notice that it is easier said than done.

So-called packaging-free supermarkets are a real alternative. Here you can bring your glasses with screw caps, cloth bags and the like from home and refill oatmeal, sweets and milk. There are now such markets in most of the larger cities. 

In Bonn, where the head chef is based, for example, there is free food Deinet. On their website, they explain  further advantages of a packaging-free food market that may not be immediately clear to everyone: 

  • Buy consciously: You can freely determine the quantities purchased. This avoids unnecessary leftovers when cooking.
  • Let yourself be inspired : Without packaging, you can better look at, feel and smell food when you buy it. 
  • Regional products:  Packaging-free grocery stores (as in the case of Freikost Deinet) often rely on regionally and organically produced foods. 

If you just want to try out packaging-free shopping, but don’t have enough containers to refill yourself, you can usually borrow them directly from the store. As with bottles, you pay a deposit, which you get paid back when you return it. The hurdle is therefore negligibly small to get involved in the environmentally conscious trend. 

Next step “Zero Waste” ?! 

Shopping in packaging-free supermarkets is just one of many ways to limit personal waste production. Meanwhile, a trend – or rather a movement – called “Zero Waste” has developed. You can imagine what it’s about: producing as little waste as possible – in all situations.

Above all, this requires one thing: commitment. In many situations, rubbish can be avoided if you just take the time to think about it briefly. It starts with not having a receipt printed out or using your own reusable cup instead of to-go cups for coffee. Insights into the movement can easily be found in numerous places on the Internet. On blogs and video platforms such as YouTube, for example, you can get helpful tips on how to avoid unnecessary rubbish in everyday life without much effort.