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How early in the day do you know what you are going to have for dinner today?

(14 Posts)
AutumnHues Thu 06-Oct-11 09:59:16

Hi all, Just looking for help advice about dinner times/food.
I know someone done a similar thread to this not long ago. It's just some days it gets to dinner time and I really don't know what to cook and we end up having something really basic/boring!
So how early do you know what you are you going to cook?
Do you plan it all before you do your shopping and then buy accordingly?
We are a family of two adults, one 8 year old (sometimes fussy) and a 2 year old (also fussy).
Can you give me any ideas of what to cook and how to go about deciding / meal planning?

gemma4d Thu 06-Oct-11 11:54:34

When everything is going according to plan: Do a week meal plan, shopping list, then shop. So I know what I am having every day for a whole week!

When going bad, pop to shop EVERY afternoon and buy one meal sad

For my meal plan, I sometimes get a cookery book or magazine and flick through that, or sometimes try and use up stuff in the freezer, other times I just think "1 meat, 1 pasta, 1 fish, 1 veggie", come up with meals based on that, and then try and double up stuff - like this week Monday was fish n chips in the oven, so I got a mince out the freezer and made a quick meatloaf and cooked that at the same time - so Tuesday was spagetti meatloaf-bolognese (very easy and saves pennies not having the oven on). Thursday is roast chicken so Friday is chicken fried rice. You get the idea!

I have been known to buy a fair few ready meals, but can't do that now I am baby-led-weaning a 6 month old (too much salt) - so now I'm deciding which ready meals I might fancy and making them myself. I also make double and freeze (if M&S can freeze it then so can I!).

I shouldn't say this, but I have been known to thow some bernard-matthews turkey nuggets into the oven to feed my v fussy 3 year old. Its waaaay to difficult to cater to a fussy husband, 6 month old and fussy 3 year old EVERY meal.

Also not sure if I should point you to another site? forums.moneysavingexpert.com - the old style board. Every week there is a post (search meal plans on the old style thread) where people post there meal plans for the week. Good for inspiration, or if your just nosey!

Hope that helps.

FoxyRoxy Thu 06-Oct-11 11:57:31

I sit down on a Friday and plan the next weeks meals, usually 4 cooked from fresh and 2 leftovers from the freezer. Then I make a list of what I'll need, check against what I already have (for example if I need chopped toms for spag bol I check the cupboard before I put it on the shopping list).

I find the fridge is pretty much empty by the end of the week and we have minimal food wastage. Then I just check my list the night before in case I need to take something out from the freezer or buy a last min fresh ingredient i.e a herb.

With regards to recipes I think there's loads of good ideas in the food forum, my ds is 10 and eats anything so can't really help with picky eaters that much, but spag bol, toad in the hole, pasta bake, fajitas, stews and casseroles are all pretty friendly.

HTH

AutumnHues Thu 06-Oct-11 12:21:02

Can I ask aswell, Do you buy Fresh veg or do you get frozen veg or even tinned veg??
TIA

gemma4d Thu 06-Oct-11 13:37:18

All 3! Many veg won't last 5 or 6 days, so I put fresh veg meals at the start of the week, and tinned etc veg (like fish chips and beans) at the end of the week.

FoxyRoxy Thu 06-Oct-11 16:19:20

I might pop and get fresh veg toward the end of the week but I also use a lot of frozen, especially peas, broad beans, sweetcorn... Carrots last ages so I get fresh ones but frozen are good. And those mixed bags of carrots, broccoli, cauli etc are a great stand-by to have in the freezer as well as a bag of stir-fry veg!

RitaMorgan Thu 06-Oct-11 16:26:21

I meal plan monthly (actually it's a 2x2 week plan) and do a monthly online shop. I buy pretty much all our veg frozen - the only fresh stuff we get is salad veg, plus apples and bananas.

Basically once the monthly Asda shop is done we shouldn't need to do any food shopping - milk and bread is delivered - and we just get fruit, salad veg etc from a local shop.

Hulababy Thu 06-Oct-11 16:30:25

I try to menu plan for the week when doing my weekly online shop, so in thery know in advance what we are having. Because of DD's activities after school sometimes she eats with us, other times not.

I buy fresh veg which normally lasts fine from a Monday shop to Friday. I will nip to the local grocers if I need too. I also have some frozen veg in most of the time too.

I don't menu plan for weekends as we are often out.

Dawndonna Sat 08-Oct-11 18:35:52

I too do a menu. Most of our veg is fresh, either grown, pinched from the neighbours, or there is a good weekly market stall in our village.
We use frozen too. Kids seem to like sweetcorn, peas, broad beans and spinach. We also use a lot of tinned beans, I have two veggies, so stews with cannelini beans and/or kidney beans, mixed beans are good, quick and easy.

valiumredhead Sat 08-Oct-11 23:09:10

At dinner time I look in the freezer and get out whatever meat or fish I am going to cook for the next day.

EttiKetti Sun 09-Oct-11 21:01:50

I menu plan, with my diary, so I know where everyone is each evening <anal>

If I don't fancy cooking whatever we planned, I might rejig, but mostly we stick to it. Saves me hassle and money!

BlackCatinaWitchesHat Sun 09-Oct-11 21:06:37

Thanks for all the replies on here, I am trying meal planning now and so far it is going well.smile

DreamTeamGirl Sun 09-Oct-11 21:44:53

I menu plan for the week when ever possible.

Use mainly frozen veg as fresh goes off before I use it

Tomorrow nights tea is cooking now (Spag Bol) ready for reheat cos 1) it is Beavers so no time to cook, and 2) its nicer when its reheated

crazycatlady Sun 09-Oct-11 22:05:43

We menu plan for the week on a Sunday. Do Ocado order for it to arrive on the Monday. Meanwhile we will have cooked a big family dinner on the Sunday which will give us enough leftovers to make an easy tasty meal on Monday night when we're tired and uninspired.

It's generally either a roast or a big 'one-pot' meal on a Sunday - so a chilli, a curry, a casserole for example. This extends into Monday.

Tues-Thurs it's something quick:
- some form of protein that we cook up with a basic recipe (teriyaki salmon fillets, grilled honey and mustard pork fillets, lime and chilli chicken) - served with a mountain of stir fried veg or salad. Sometimes rice or noodles.

Friday - treat night, e.g. rib-eye steak and veg. Or, rarely, a take away.

Breakfasts during the week for all of us are porridge, eggs, cereal or yogurt and fruit. Weekend treats - bacon sandwich, bagels, pancakes or pastries.

Always have the following in the house for easy, on the hoof meal making for fussy eaters or if we don't manage to shop on time:
- pasta, risotto rice
- frozen king prawns
- a chorizo and some cubed pancetta for quickly adding flavour to dishes
- heaps of veg - fresh and frozen
- beans and pulses, tinned tomatoes
- stocks of various types
- lemons, limes, chillis, ginger and spring onion

Fruit for snacks. And homemade flapjacks or muffins.

That's pretty much it.

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