Meal planning oh ok, it’s Tuesday.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I’ve spent the last more days than I care to count hip deep in xml exports and unfamiliar theme menus. But I’ve got it all under control, and alongside it, I *still* managed to provide home cooked food last night and tonight.

Go me.

I am superwoman, right?

So Monday was toad in the hole. I always do two – one with sausages and one with leek, mushroom and cheese. There are two eggs involved, milk, bargain flour, and in this case, reduced sausages. And there’s usually a sausage or two left over for someone to have in a sandwich the next day.
Tonight was chicken, mashed potato and cabbage.
Tomorrow may be takeout. Or it may be something from a well known freezer store. Undecided yet. (the well known freezer store is cheaper.)
Thursday is always pizza night. Sadly the bread machine is out of commission, so I have to make the pizza dough by hand. Which is time consuming but rewarding in that I know I’ve really put effort into it. Or something like that. Really I’d just like the bread machine to work please.
Then we get to Friday, Saturday, Sunday. And my inspiration runs out.

I’m struggling, folks. I do one night a week of something like baked potatoes. Not everyone here is a fan. I need easy recipes, things I can set going and forget – I keep considering the whole slow cooker thing and I’ve been browsing for slow cooker recipes. But my problem is that various of the family don’t like mixed foods, and I’m worried that it won’t go down well.

We’ve had some success with curries before, notably camp curry while at Melrose. And bolognese always goes down well, preferably with tagliatelli rather than spaghetti. But I’m getting bored of doing it week after week. I mixed things up last Sunday, and served up fridge free for all – basically got all the left overs out and people had whatever they fancied. Which worked, but relies on there being leftovers, and given that I try for zero waste does at least fit with my philosophy. But it’s not exactly inspiring. So what do you all do to spice up budget menu plans with quick and easy meals?

Help me out here folks. Got any suggestions?

About Jax Blunt

I'm the original user, Jax Blunt I've been blogging for 14 years, give or take, and if you want to know me, read me :)

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  1. We cook deliberately to have leftovers! But we’re a smaller family so cooking for 6 gives 2 meals for us. We don’t plan either so sometimes spend more and sometimes less if I spot a good reduction.

  2. The leftovers thing is something I’m trying to train myself to consciously do so that I eat something substantial at lunchtime when I’m alone! I agree it seems to go against the food waste thing.

    I always do a 7 day plan before I do my (online) shopping. If we are going to eat meat or fish it will always be the first night after delivery.
    We eat a lot of the basics – curries, bolognese, chili, cauli cheese etc. I always try to incorporate at least one new recipe a week and that’s usually placed on the quietest day. One night a week we eat soup (can be made in a big batch and frozen for ease) and something home baked like a garlicky focaccia (I throw the dough ingredients into the breadmaker at 3ish and bake 20 mins before we plan to eat, which is a pretty low bother meal. Pizza is also a favourite and can be jazzed up in a variety of ways. An alternative is calzones (it’s easier to get more veg into these than onto a flat pizza, I find).
    Baked potato is a good standby to have in the fridge for when I’m too tired to do what I’ve planned and I’m never without eggs because in a pinch there are a myriad of things I can do with them.
    Towards the end of the week it’s usually something like vegan mac and cheese or gluten free pasta (pesto, sundried tomatoes, peas & parmesan accompanied by a bit of salad..), whatever is on the list with the least perishable items.
    Sometimes if I know it’s going to be a busy week I’ll purposely schedule a day to order takeaway. If all else fails, breakfast for dinner doesn’t hurt every once in a while ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Not sure if this is exactly the sort of thing you’re looking for, but it’s my favourite easy meal ever. Get four chicken breasts, chop them up, fry them till they’re cooked through, add a tin of asparagus, add a tub of single cream (Elmlea tastes just as good as the real stuff) and then just bubble for a little while. It’s gorgeous and the easiest thing ever.

  4. My lot like red lentil pasta sauce – take about a mug full of red lentils, wash and boil for about 15 minutes, Meanwhile in a different pan fry an onion, maybe some garlic, and/or peppers. Stir in a tin or two of chopped tomatoes, some puree, add a splash of red wine vinegar if you have it, and some herbs (basil works well). When the lentils are cooked, drain and add to other ingredients, stir and serve. Can go with pasta, or on jacket pots, and if there is any left over its quite nice the next day on toast with a bit of grated cheese! We don’t thow anything out here…

  5. Tough when cooking for such a mixed audience. A great book is Economy Gastronomy which has batch cooking at the heart of it’s ideas. You could be making up several batches of pizza dough (bread maker or not) and freezing some either as dough or as rolled and part baked pizza bases. Deliberately over catering for things that are leftover to eat again and maybe do that over a few days and then have a weekly leftover night where stuff is either from the last few days or defrosted from earlier in the week and everyone gets a favourite. We did Come Dine with Me evenings a while back which worked well – kids and adults all do a meal (we went for fancy 3 courses but just the one would also work) and got votes – having seen the effort put in and keen to not get too much negative feedback themselves everyone tried everything the others made even if they’d not normally eat it.
    Soup / hearty broth with home made bread rolls (soda bread cooks super quick) could work as a dinner as you mention it as a lunch you eat. Large pan of pasta or rice to suit all with whatever each person has as a topping…

  6. 6 of us here, a few fussy eaters in the pack!! We rarely have leftovers left!! But leftovers are often frozen and used as a meal for one. We have a pizza night, cheesy pasta, (both with salad), Fishcakes and rice with veg, I do thai curry (from a jar) instead of a take out, spag bol, homemade soup and bread, chicken or sausage casserole and veg and occassionaly a roast chicken…. Those are our basic meals, but often I have to do an alternative, thats where the meals for one come in handy!!

  7. Like others, I do a plan each weekend before doing the big food shop. I still spend a fortune on food, but I’m never stuck for ideas and we all enjoy the variety. The kids help me with the plan and we plan literally all our meals: breakfast and packed lunches as well as evening meals. This week are evening meals are: fish casserole, mince and mash, sausage & lentil casserole, jacket potatoes with beans & cheese, salade nicoise, pesto pasta and roast chicken. I have just cancelled tonight’s salad though, because there are so many left-overs in the fridge, so tonight will be a free-for-all.

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