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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Meal Planning

Why meal plan? I used to ask that question. However, there are quite a few good reasons to plan meals in advance. 1) It helps you to budget. 2) It helps you to get through the week, without running out of something for dinner. 3) It really does save time. Dinnertime can often get boring. I can remember as a child, always having liver casserole, and mash on a Wednesday. Saturday was our roast day, but I loved that. What I didn't love, was Wednesdays! To avoid boredom with meals, I rotate around 30 different meals. I follow a process each week, which ensures only a few real favourites are repeated. I also like to make sure red meat is not more than 4 times, and at least one meat free meal per week. Here's how it works: 1) We always have at least one minced beef meal. (for this I use lean minced steak, as it has not got the extra fat, and yukky taste) This is done in rotation of lasagne, bolognaise, tortillas, cottage pie, and chilli. 2)We usually always have chicken, and the second day I pick bones off the chickens, boil up and make a stew. Now, every stew I cook is different. I sometimes add Indian, sometimes Mexican, Chinese, or just traditional. I don't always add the same veg either. I do add lentils, or beans for extra protein, but use whatever veg I have, or whatever is in season. 3) On Sunday, it is either a roast, casserole, lamb chops, or cottage pie. Again, in rotation. 4) Once a week, the non meat meal will be pizza, (home made of course;) pasta bake, or quiche. 5) If you are counting, you will see I have 2 meals to fill, now this might be curry, sausages, fried beef, fish pie, salmon fillets, fish fingers and wedges, risotto, egg chips, and home made beans, or meat pie. To vary this, the pie may be beef, or just cornish pasties, the casserole might be beef, or lamb. Again, I always add different flavours. So, this makes it really easy to plan in advance, and if I see offers in the supermarket, I can tailor the menu to meet that. I make sure I always have a few emergency meals on hand in the cupboard. I can save money buy using pasatta, instead of sauces, and buying sauces on offer. These can be stored for long periods of time. Beef joints, can be bought when half price, and frozen. We are still eating the ones I froze before christmas! I also love to look at cookery books for inspiration, and often incorporate ideas into a meal I already use.

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