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Can we do another meal planning/shopping list thread because I am rubbish.

(17 Posts)
WilfSell Wed 20-Aug-08 16:48:25

You'd think, after all this time on the planet, I'd be able to go to a supermarket and come back with enough food to feed my family of five for a week?

Instead, I'm any one of:

- the bloke from the Fast Show who says 'even better' and comes back with everything except the thing he went for

- someone with a wellstocked spice and cleaning product cupboard but no actual food

- a well-meaning lentil weaver, with a boot full of dried pulses, strange organic vegetables and some Quorn. All of which ends up in the bin, rotten, after some considerable time drying unused in the fridge

- someone stocking up for a crappy children's party: enough carbs and snacks to keep an army of premenstrual women away from the carving knives but no actual, er, vitamins to feed my poor deprived children.

If only I could somehow combine these people with a bit of forward planning. I imagine I've got it all in my head when clearly I'm a disaster. Unfortunately it is costing too much money now to waste food etc.

So... can you help? I'd be VERY grateful to see you 'growing family' weekly meal plans and shopping lists. Or is there a website for idiots that can help (I want to type in a meal I already cook, or some easy new ones, and have it build up a shopping list, with amounts for me... Hmmm?)

Much appreciated.

Mercy Wed 20-Aug-08 16:55:56

I don't have a set meal plan, it varies from week to week.

A couple of questions; how many in your family, do you all eat together? etc

One way to start off is list everything you already have in the fridge/freezer/cupboards and see what you can make with them.

Get the family together and write a list of what meals you like.

Compile a list of meals and note what ingredients you you need to make each meal and base your shopping list on that (don't forget things like leftovers, bulk cooking)

WilfSell Wed 20-Aug-08 17:03:52

Good ideas mercy, thanks.

There are 5 of us: me, DH (who is a meat freak, I'm a bit more veg focused!), 3 DSs (who do have high carb needs cos they run around such a lot) including one baby who often eats a snack earlier than our main meal but sometimes has some of that too...

We do try to eat together but don't always manage it: sometimes kids have something rushed. We're not very organised about cooking either.

Mercy Wed 20-Aug-08 17:11:01

My dh used to be a vegetarian but now eats fish and ds is a fussy eater, so yes it can be a problem.

Tbh, we only really eat together during the holidays and at weekends (and even that doesn't always work out)

Do you want some ideas for meals?

WilfSell Wed 20-Aug-08 19:17:01

Yes please. Meal ideas. And your shopping lists for 4/5 people. And someone to hold my hand and beat me around the head saying 'no, you don't need the buy 2 get the third free on washable outdoor vacuum cleaners'...

lucysmam Wed 20-Aug-08 19:35:59

pmsl@washable outdoor vacuum cleaners! i'm off in the shower in a mo but did a shop for a month the week before last so will root out my list and post with meal plan for the month (only a rough guide though i don't always stick to it if we fancy something else) if that would be any use to you. it's only for 3 but always have enough to put 3 baby sized portions aside

Sparkletastic Wed 20-Aug-08 19:43:17

Ahhhh WilfSell you are me..... But I am trying hard not to be me..... To show solidarity of disorganisation this is going to be a somewhat 'stream of consciousness' response grin

Meals the 4 of us all like:

Spag Bol
Chicken drumsticks, new potatoes, cherry tomatoes, random veg, sloshed in olive oil and roasted
Toad in the hole
Pittas, hummous, tzatziki, ham, cucumber, olives
Sausages, mash and beans
Jacket potatoes, cream cheese, chopped bacon, salad
Roast dinner

Make a shopping list - try and be anal and organise it under protein / veg / fruit / dairy / storecupboard / freezer / booze grin

Try Lidl - it has been a revelation for me.
Try 'My Supermarket' website - makes you put more thought into the whole thing.

Mercy Wed 20-Aug-08 19:50:26

Using sparkletastic's meals as an example I would

Double the spag bol and freeze. Either have another spag bol or use for lasagne

Roast chicken; use the carcass for stock and and make soup or if enough meat left over, then use for stir-fry the next day or sandwiches or salad for lunch (ditto any roast)

Brain has gone dead now, i did have some ideas for you.

janeite Wed 20-Aug-08 19:54:00

I try and meal plan around the carbs, as I cook veggie 90% or so of the time.


Rice - could be veggie curry and rice; rissotto; chilli and rice etc (not in the same week)

Cous cous - could be peppers stuffed with cous cous; cous cous and a chickpea taginey thing etc

Pasta - could be veggie lasagne; pasta pesto with roasted vege; tagliatelle with creamy sauce etc

Potatoes - could be baked pots with veggie sausage casserole or ratatouille or something; dauphinoise with veggie sausages; new potatoes with quiche and salad etc.

Breadish - could be fajitas; pizzas; naan or chapati with curry or mataar paneer; garlic bread and beany goulash etc

We then usually have a soup meal of some sort (with a cooked pudding) and a takeaway = 7 meals altogether. Then I have a list of the fruit, bread, cereal, lunch box stuff, drinks etc that we generally buy; then just add any tempting offers! All done online - sorted.

mamabea Wed 20-Aug-08 20:00:04

we are mostly veggie and our weekly diet consists of:

veggie lasagna: veggie mince/ lentils/ tin of toms/ various veg/ marigold stock/ cheese sauce

veggie spag bol: as above!

dahl: onion/ lentils (leave some for weaving, tins of chick peas/ stock/ spices

baked pots & cauli cheese

stir fry: veg/quorn

a veg soup for left over veg

a chicken or salmon with seasonal veg (whatever I managed to pick up at shops)

risotto: pea/ mint/ arparagus at moment or butternut squash and mushroom in autumn.


beans on toast!

mamabea Wed 20-Aug-08 20:01:22

janiete- like your method

WilfSell Wed 20-Aug-08 20:01:39

See, we have some quite good quick and freezer/cupboard meals but somehow - because I don't plan ahead - my mind goes blank when I get to the supermarket.

I'll chuck our staples in for good measure...

Pasta, halloumi, baby broad beans or soya beans (from the freezer), coriander pesto

Quorn curry (DH makes it with tomato puree, curry paste and coconut cream). Sometimes we even use microrice blush grin

Spag bol also

Cous cous with roast veg

Veggie cheesie 'thing': like cauliflower cheese but without cauli cos we all hate it grin. I usually chuck some mustard in the cheese sauce and chuck on some chopped nuts or seeds and bake. Would love to find an excellent non-plastic lovely tasting but ready made cheese sauce but don't suppose it exists.

Stir fry. Everything prechopped, precooked noodles. Sometimes chicken, sometimes not.

janeite Wed 20-Aug-08 20:10:12

Mamabea - I am actually nowhere near as efficient as it makes me sound!

Wilf - there is NO SUCH THING as a decent ready made cheese sauce (shudder!). It is dead easy to make in the microwave though.

If you all like soy beans a fab, mega-easy meal for the children (on a night when you and dp may need to eat later for example) is to cook some soy beans and add some soy sauce, a bit of honey, a few chilli flakes and some tofu if liked/have got. Meanwhile soak some rice noodles in boiling water. Drain the noodles, sprinkle with a bit of sesame oil and mix with the beans. My two girls say this is their favourite meal ever!

I have a microwave rice cooker that my mum got me from Bettaware or somewhere. It makes cooking rice soooooo easy - you just bung the rice into the baskety bit, cover it with boiling water, put the lid on and cook it for 12 minutes in the microwave. It's got to be better for you than microrice whatever that is!!!

WilfSell Thu 21-Aug-08 10:05:12

thanks janeite, great idea <adds rice noodles to newly organised word processed shopping list...>

Hmm, how do you make cheese sauce in the microwave please?

janeite Thu 21-Aug-08 21:37:03

I just melt some butter in a glass measuring jug then stir in some plain flour or cornflour bit by bit; then add milk drop by drop, whisking it in each time - then shove the whole thing in the microwave, stirring every minute or so until it thickens. It's smoother with cornflour but fine with normal flour. Sorry, I don't measure it, so I'm not sure how useful this is.

janeite Thu 21-Aug-08 21:37:50

Oh and I add the grated cheese, salt and pepper and maybe a spot of mustard after it's thickened. Don't microwave it again once you've added the cheese.

willali Thu 21-Aug-08 21:57:53

What I do each week is sit down wih the recipe books and a notebook for the purpose, decide what I fancy cooking each day of the week for the adults, using post its to mark each recipe and as I'm going along I write down the ingredients I need from each recipe. If it is a recipe for 4 that is easily freezable I make the whole lot and freeze half so some weeks my menu might include these left overs and reduce the shopping list. Children will eat separately and often something different esp in term time as they have main meal at school, but the method is the same.

Sme stuff will go straight in the freezer if to be used later in the week, and I sometimes have to make a note to buy veg later in the week if it would go off before then IYSWIM

I will also check stocks of staples eg bread, butter, eggs, stock cubes etc and write on a list when things run out during the week eg cornflakes, ketchup etc to make sure I remember these.

This method ensures you have all you require for the week and you can tailor it to use up stuff from freezer and store cupbaord as necessary.

It is all a bit anal but it means you really do stick to the list amd menu. I also write up the menu on a wipe off board on the fridge so children know what is on the menu that day and so no arguing!!

If you set aside half an hour to do this on your shoppping day then I'm sure you will reap the benefits!

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