menu planners are us.......(23 Posts)
We're trying to budget better/ have less waste so am in need of some foodie ideas/cheap meals.
we're going for 3 days of meat 2 days of fish and 3 days of veggies so any thoughts greatfully recieved.
so far we've not come up with too much.
Not exactly answering your question but I am always amazed on Mumsnet at the amount of 'proper' meals that families have. At least a couple of nights a week we just have a very easy sandwich/boiled egg/cheese and biscuits type meal as we are out and about rushing to after school activities etc.
However my DH is away quite a bit so that probably helps ! Am I a slattern or is this pretty normal?
that's waht we're having now - an example this week so far:-
sunday roast beef
monday erm....... I can't recall can't have been that good.
tuesday DS has swimming until 5.30 so was macdonalds
weds, dogs at the vets at 5 so was a 'plowmans' ie sandwiches, salad stuff/chunks & drink.
tonight - at my folks for dinner (prob something 'proper' ie cottage pie)
tomorrow - pie/mash.
mostly we're doing ifit's which isn't good, even if DS does have school dinners - besides I miss cooking.
We have a proper meal every night. As we are semi-rural takeaways are out and to be honest rubbish for what you can make.
Hubby and I love to sit down in evening to a lovely cooked dinner and for his hard day its a delight for him!
Fish - fish pie (you can use value white but rec always having undyed smoked haddock), Cullen sink (fish soup), salmon warpped in bacon/parma ham stuffed with cream cheese, baked chunky fish say pollock with mash and cheese sause.
Mince is fab - endless cheap meals. Use the best mince you can get. Pies, bolognaise etc.
Chicken pie - using thighs.
Know your cuts too - lamb - shoulder & neck, beef - brisket, slow roast, braising etc chicken - always thighs, pork - shoulder and belly.
Batch cook - ie cook one freeze one works brilliantly.
I would recommend using websites like BBC good food, UKTV, BBC food all great sites and you can list some ingredients and get a recipe.
Its a hard habit to get into but planning your meals on a weekly basis payes off. Once you have planned you can efficently shop.
For busy evenings then pre-frozen meals like bolognaise work fantastic as you can defrost in microwave.
I try (and fail on many occassions) start meals in the morning so have very little to do in the evenings.
Using the cooker timer works very well - on & off while out. Slow cookers are used lots.
thanks bacon, I think for my part it's laziness, however no 2 due any day and me on maternity leave means that the meals should improve 10 fold.
like you also think that DP should be walking into a dinner made (proper one) not getting in and having to think about his own tea - even if I work as well/have DS - i'm still in 2 hours earlier.
anyhow I digress, are chicken thighs white meat? (i'm fussy )
The thighs look white to me. When in pies it makes very little difference and the extra bit of fat adds flavour and no rubberyness you get with cheap chicken breasts. I understand traceability, nutrician and animal welfare so good animals make good meat produce great food. Better quality meat makes for better meals. Bones in meals also add to taste and nutrician. I do like to throw a lamb shoulder (dead!) in the pot with wine, onions, pulses etc (no frying off sorry) cook slowly on low temp for 4 hours. Then using forks scrap off all the meat (no waste left on bone either) gives a lovely texture and bulks up the meal.
We dont eat till late, hubbys dinner is hardly ever on the table on arrival. On average 7.30. But I have tried to stop cooking too late as it envelopes my whole night and by the time I wash up tidy and make packed lunches I'm exhausted.
Once you get in the swing of planning and eating well you cant go back!
We had this week:
Sun roast beef
Mon salad with slices cold roast beef
Tues steamed haddock, new potatoes and veg
Wed vegetable chilli( big batch, half in freezer for next week)
Thurs macaroni cheese ( froze small portion of sauce for kids pasta next week)
Fri will be avocado, corn and black bean salad
I've also used the leftover new potatoes in a Spanish omelette for lunch
This week's plan has been:
Monday - DH and I ate out, DH had been playing cricket, DD was at grandparents overnight
Tuesday - fish and chips (fom chipshop, late night back after a meeting for me and DH)
Wednesday - tuna, potaoes (home grown ) and salad (home grown )
Thursday - sausages, potatoes and veggies
Friday - DH's birthday so platters of salads, meats, breads, olives, dips, etc
Saturday - eating out with friends for DH's birthday
Sunday - brunch of sausage butties before family leave, not sure about evening
Just done next week's plan:
Monday - salmon with a spiced fruity cous cous
Tuesday - DD has friends round for sleepover, they're having a big platter of cold foods; DH and I are having chilli (his meat, mine veggie - made them last week)
Wednesday - DH/DD are having a chicken and chorizo paellla, I'm having a seafood one (DD will end up having both!)
Thursday - tuna pasta with crusty bread
Friday - off on holiday for a fortnight, so nothing planned!
Sat: chicken curry (includes loads of veg)
sun: lasagne, veg (kids) and salad (grown ups)
mon: pizzas, home made, kids put toppings on, tuna and salad onion, cheese and Tom sauce
Tue: Spanish omelette (potatoes, onions, sweetcorn and peas)
Wed: hummus, grapes, berries of some description, toast triangles, cheese sticks
Thurs: chicken loaf, made with chicken thighs, mash and veg
Fri: beef stew and dumplings
Some days DH gets in so late he eats away from home. Always feed the DCs around 5 pm, I eat with the kids if DH is working late, DH and I eat at 8 pm ish if he gets home at his usual time.
Do lots of meals that can be reheated without ruining! Plus will cook for all of us at once and then assemble 2 lasagnes in different dishes for example - a smaller dish for the kids and a bigger one for DH and me. Can then heat up to serve separately but without it taking up a lot of extra time.
I meal plan as I don't like having to think about it every night. Put an hours work in on online order at the weekend and its done. That said, we don't have a complicated dinner from scratch each night. The meat/fish ones tend to involve more work. I try to do veggie for us all 2-3 nights per week.
Here's some stuff we have every month:
Eggs - Fried egg on toast/Dippy Egg with soldiers/Omelettes
Cheese on toast with raw veg
Macaroni cheese ( sometimes with bacon and tomatoes )
Numerous pastas eg with tomato sauce and parmesan
Margarita pizza - sometimes homemade, sometimes not - time dependent with raw veg
Basmati rice with soy and sugar snaps
Quesadillas with cheese and pesto
Shepherds Pie or Shepherds Tacos
Meatballs with tomato sauce and pasta
Sausages and rolls or Toad in the Hole with veg
Chicken stir fry with noodles
Chicken parmesan with broccoli and carrots
Roast chicken, lamb and beef with veg and roast pots
Spicy pork meatballs
Chicken souvlaki in pitta (homemade)
Fishfingers and chips
Baked Salmon with new pots or rice and soy etc
Sea bass with new pots or chips and veg
We get an Indian takeaway for the family about once every two months.
Since going back to work after DD I have to meal plan otherwise it all goes to pot and we eat rubbish, have takeaways or there's no food in. So I do my meal plan mid week, order everything online to be delivered on a Friday night and am set for week.
It's been hard to get into the routine but the organisation is worth it as I don't need to think what are we having for tea every night or am rushing about picking up stuff in my lunchhour and it's worked out cheaper as I'm only buying what we need. When I make stuff like pasta or a curry I make more and freeze portions.
There's only DP and I during the week as DD eats at nursery, but we have quick food during the week when we have evening stuff on or are eating at different times. Here is this week's plan
Fri - prawn thai curry and rice
sat - hot and spicy Chicken drumsticks, garlic bread and salad
Sun - honey and mustard pork chops, baked potato and veg
Mon - tuna pasta bake
Tues - freezer surprise (ie using up stuff from freezer)
Wed - chicken and veg fahijtas
thurs - veggie chilli and rice
I find the hardest thing is coming up with food ideas for the menu plan, I'm always trawling about here for inspiration
We started using resourcefulcook.com and I think it's brilliant although some of the meals are a bit too much cooking to do with two toddlers demanding my attention but it's all very tasty!
Just doing mine for next week.... Tired so feeling unable to decide etc... hmmmm
This week we are having
Roast dinner (pork this week)
Reggae Reggae chicken (cheese for ds) with wraps and salad
HM pork burgers with salad and wraps
Falafels and rice/curry sauce (kids will have falafels with the leftover wraps and salad)
Chicken kievs, chips and corn on the cob
Gammon with pineapple, chips and beans (peas for the kids)
On the other night we'll eat seperately - kids will have ploughmans type meal and me and dh will have pasta and tomato sauce (with bits of bacon).
I don't plan for which day - although the salady stuff we'll have at the beginning of the week while its still fresh. We usually have our roast on a thursday.
For lunches I eat leftovers or stuff on toast (usually mushrooms, sketti hoops or beans). Dh has spicy noodles or leftovers. Kids tend to have bread roll/cheese/ham and then a mixture of fruit/raw carrot/pepper/cucumber/raisins and yoghurt. Dd sometimes has omelette or cheesy mash with peas (she's nearly 1yo) when ds is at school.
Apart from falafels dh won't eat a meal without meat and I try not to cook seperate meals at the moment. Kids don't particularly like sauces or wet foods (so no stews or similar - though they will eat the components seperately usually) and ds won't eat mixed foods (like sandwiches) but will usually eat the same things seperately.
Mon- stir fry, with any left over meat.
Tues- fish, usually salmon
Wed-a mince dish
Thurs- gammon steaks cut in half with potatos and salad.
Sat- burgers, with mash and salad
Steak pie, new potatoes & peas
Cheddar & broccoli soup, sticky toffee pudding (one night a week is soup & pudding night)
Homemade cheeseburgers, salad & sweet potato chips
Honey sesame chicken, stir fry veg & noodles
Pea & bacon creamy pasta
I tend to do a two week plan, I am halfway through this one at the moment
Sun - Roast Chicken
Mon - Chicken curry with leftovers from the roast (made soup from the bones and put it in the freezer for next week)
Tues - Jacket Potatoes and beans
Wed - Pie and Mash with veg
Thu - Pasta with pesto, cherry tomatoes and cheese
Fri - Carpet picnic
Sun- Roast Lamb
Mon - Spaghetti Bolognese and garlic bread.
Tues - Jackets with tuna and salad
Wed- Paprika chicken drumsticks with patatas bravas and green beans.
Thu - Sausage risotto
Fri- Tomato and lentil soup with crusty bread and sponge and custard. (we do a soup + pudding night too!)
Sat- Home made pizza with salad.
i do a 4 week plan, i always leave sat eve's free for either a takeaway or leftovers or whatever got bumped from earlier in the week!
every so often i redo the meal planner so it doesn't get to samey!
( iuse turkey mince for anything mincey as i don't eat red meat)
Here are some eg of our meals
Spag bol and garlic bread
Shephards Pie and veg
chicken drumsticks pot wedges and peas
corned beef hash
honey and mustard chicken(chicken tonight jar)
lasagne (veg or mince)
curry ( veg, chicken or green thai)
Chilli con carne
bacon and mushroom tagletelli
honey and 5 spised salmon and chips and seetcorn/veg (this is lush!)
tuna pasta bake
toad in the hole and mash and veg
sweet pot, sausage and bean cassorole
chicken and chorizo stew
fishfingers and chips and beans
hot dogs and mash
ham, egg and chips
omlette/dippy egg and chips
we usually eat 5/6 as oh gets in from work then. If i need to be out early eve i make sure i do one of the last 4 on that day as they don't take long to do.
i find i have to do a 4 week rota as i get bored with the food too quickly otherwise!
oooh, we too have been menu planning for the last 6 months or so, managed to knock 20 quid a week from our shopping. i`ve always cooked as much as poss from scratch & have worked in catering for many years so have picked up some ideas along the way. But i was amazed that we could actually save that much by domestic menu planning. It helped, i think by including takeaways/lunchout/treats into your weekly budjet. What we spend doing this we knock off the shopping budget, it makes you work harder in the supermarket, look for reduced stuff to freeze etc.
but it is do-able. Plus, i love lunch out, its good for the kids to do this, i`m not prepared to go without family treats
I check the cupboards, fridge & freezer on a sunday eveing & make a list of thingd to buy to make up meals with ingredeints we all ready have, somme weeks I may only have to pick up freah stuff. Bulk cooking is KING! Freezing made up meals is great ( as long as you remember to take out of freezer in time!) I also freeze smaller potions of stuff, like a cup sized portion of chilli, ideal amount for quick chilli nachos, the same for soup, easy lunch.
usually I only plan 4/5 meals. Some nights our sone may have fishfingers/nuggets - easy freezer stuff & me and husband will have bread, olives & cheese etc - picky tea - we call it.
My husband takes packed lunch to work, usually made up of left overs from night before. He`ll eat anything cold tho, so thats a bonus.
To save time/energy I often double cook (not sure if this is a real term) If i`m boiling/steaming veg, i`ll often trow in (gently) a couple off eggs to boil - theres always a couple ready in the fridge for eggmayo. I`ll often cook a full pack of bacon instead of putting a couple of slices back in the figde. leave the extra to cripy up u bit, cool & chuck in fridge, great for cold sandwiches - mixed with the eggmayo,to chuck in soup, or crunched on salad, 2 slices of bacon will make one person a sandwich or garnish 3 peoples salad
heres our last months list (just taken down from kitchen cupboard!)....
roast - Gammon, chicken, pork
omellete, ham & mush, salad
jacket spuds, cheese bean & salad
puffpartry tart with cheese & tomato
three bean & smoked bacon soup
mackeral & new potatoes
baked salmon & veggies
america picky tea - corn, nuggets, hotdogs
chilli & rice
chilli cheese nachos
chicken peices with paprika/garlic/bbq etc coating.
Always popping on here for new ideas.......
About that chicken loaf? recipe?
Monday - stuffed courgette with lemon potatoes
Tuesday - chicken satay
Wednesday - peanut stir fry
Thursday - toad in the hole
Friday - chicken satay and honeyed (something)
Saturday - sweetcorn fitters
Sunday - roast veg and feta
( I need to use up my jars of stuff for chutney making!)
This week our dinners look like this
Irish Stew x2 (well, the second day I may turn it into a pie or summat)
Pasta with cheese sauce and green veg
Roast chicken, mash veg and gravy
Home made pizza and salad
Soup and rice
Pasta with a tomato based sauce
I plan snacks too, as the DDs are grazers, so we have yogurt lollies, carrot and raisin muffins as the things to make.
Lunches will be sandwiches, frittata, scrambled eggs on toast.
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