As far as prep. ahead meals go, slow cooker or one pot ones are the ultimate. Absolutely nothing needs doing on the night itself, unless you want to add mash / rice, etc. I must say, I simply cannot cook rice (it needs too much attention) so I’ve taken to buying those microwave packets. They always seem to be on offer and I try to choose the whole grain, brown or wild rice packets which have ‘green’ indicators for salt etc. I’ve also taken to cheating with mash, buying it frozen since it’s simply potatoes and butter. That way, even if you want to pimp your stew, it’s a case of throwing something into the microwave.
Now on to the bourguignon. It’s a really easy one. You’ll need small round shallots, a small onion, button mushrooms, pancetta or streaky bacon, red wine and stewing or braising beef. Peel the shallots, wipe the mushrooms and chop the onion and pop into the freezer bag. Chop the steak, coat in flour and add that too. Sprinkle in some seasoning to your taste, I just used pepper, some dried mediterranean herbs, and a bay leaf or two. I always find meat cooked in alcohol alone a little bitter, so tend to add a large dollop of redcurrant jelly too. Now pour in red wine, enough to cover the ingredients, and seal the bag. I then put this into a bowl in the fridge so if it leaked, I’d still be able to rescue the juices! You could always use tubs /  tupperware etc. instead of plastic freezer bags, but freezer bags do lie nicely flat if you’re going to freeze them.
The great thing about this is that you tip the bag into the slow cooker, or a lidded casserole into a low oven, in the morning and when you return home from work, it’s ready to eat. I shoved some broccoli and mash into the microwave and served. Really really easy, especially when you’ve done all the hard work (like peeling shallots) in advance. A treat to come home to!

By andrei