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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Meal Planning

Ah, now this can be boring, you say? Yep, but is a great way of saving time, and also saving money! Ever been in the supermarket procrastinating, and wondering if you have enough meals for the week, and then throwing an extra meal in the trolley? Trouble is, it ends up costing more, and kills creativity. What about using the stuff we have left to make into a meal. Something different, even?
I don't cook the same meals every week. I try to vary it. I think some of us can remember from our childhood, having set meals on set days. Not that it is a bad thing, but it can become a bit predictable, and let's face it 7 meals the same is not exactly exciting!
There are several staples on my shopping list. Apart from the obvious, I always buy pasatta, minced steak, and free range chicken. Pasatta is so versatile. I can use it for tortillas, lasagne, bolognaise, pizza, soup.....the list goes on. As for minced beef steak, I can make at least 5 different meals out of it, and we always have once, or twice a week, rotating the meals.
The mince can be used to make tortillas, cottage pie, bolognaise, chilli con carne, and lasagne. Guess what? I also use pasatta in all of those dishes;0)
So, that is what we have one one, or two days of the week. It will take at least a month before one of those is repeated. One thing we have almost every week, is free range chicken, and I make a stew out of the bits, bobs and bones the next day. Really yummy served with fresh rolls.
That is 3-4 meals sorted. Once, or twice a week we will incorporate a simple meal into the menu. Home made pizza is a favourite, and we often have this weekly. Great, cos you can use anything to go on top. Another simple meal might be pasta bake, home made quiche, or eggs chips, and home made baked beans.
Another choice is fish and chips, home made fishcakes, home made fisherman's pie, or just salmon.
All we have left is a sunday dinner choice, and I like to have my sundays simple. So, often we will have a slow cooked casserole, cottage pie, or just a beef/lamb joint, or lamb chops.
When I have time, I like to experiment with new dishes. If we like them, then I put them in my special book.
I find once you have sorted a week's menu out, the rest falls into place quite nicely. Try making a list of all the possible dishes. I came up with about 30! Always open to new recipes and ideas, so please give yours in the comments.


  1. Jerk chicken is a favourite here-doesn't need too much chicken and the black beans to go with it are very cheap. Fairly fast too which is always a plus.

  2. Sounds good. what type of black beans?