Meal Planning

If you’ve been watching the recent TV series “Eat Well for Less” you may have noticed that having a meal plan is suggested as a good way of cutting down on your food bills – it is also a good way to avoid waste.  Checking my fridge before going shopping means that I can come up with ideas to use what is left over from last week and sometimes this drives new creative ideas too.  I don’t always create a strict plan for all meals, but I do find that having an idea for most of them really does help, it also saves me from reaching for an easy option from the freezer because I can’t think of what else to do.  I am still continually surprised by how much we don’t eat, not only because of having 2 fast days, but because our appetites are smaller than they used to be. So I am as bad as anyone for buying more than we need… Plus my freezer is groaning with home grown produce, leftovers and various bargain buys….

So, despite not having been shopping for nearly a week due to having a cold, today I have the following to use up:- ¾ of a pumpkin, some broccoli, a few carrots, a leek, ¼ red cabbage, some potatoes that are about to sprout, goats cheese, lardons, duck strips, smoked tuna, peppered mackerel, blue cheese, halloumi, half a pack of feta, tofu, a little chestnut puree, kiwi fruit, some nearly ripe pears, a coconut, some long-life pre-packed beetroot. I also have some cooked cherries and some leftovers from last night’s dinner. I hardly need to go shopping at all really, but we do need some fresh salad and fruit. I have to try and include eggs in my plan, as our chickens are producing 4 most days.  We will often have a boiled egg for breakfast.

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Here’s my plan.

Tues for lunch :  
Fennel, Grapefruit and Blue Cheese Salad (leftovers), Peppered Mackerel and  Horseradish yogurt dressing (see above). Fresh Fruit

The recipe for the salad is in my book 5:2 Healthy Eating for Life

dinner:
Thai style Mushroom Soup (leftovers)
Smoked Fish Tart with Orange Gremolata, Steamed Broccoli and Carrots.
Pancakes with Lemon and Maple Syrup

The quiche could be a crustless one, which would be excellent for a fast day, but as it’s a non-fast day, I will make some shortcrust pastry using half and half wholewheat and plain flour. The gremolata will be finely chopped parsley, capers, garlic and orange zest, with some virgin olive oil. I’ll use one of the blood oranges for this and use slices of orange for garnish. Recipe here

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Wed lunch: leftover Smoked Tuna Quiche. Green Salad. Fruit.
Out for dinner

butternut squash soupDSCF1767Thurs, Fast day: Spicy Pumpkin Soup (using leek)
Marinaded Tofu and Broccoli Stir Fry with Cashew Nuts
Poached Cherries with Cinnamon-spiced Fromage Frais

 

 

 

I marinaded the tofu in garlic, ginger and tamari soy sauce. Damn! I forgot to add the cashew nuts!

 

 

 

Fri lunch : Omelette with Lardons, Onion and Potatoes
dinner: Duck, Pumpkin and Coconut Curry, with basmati rice
some kind of dessert using Eggs and Chestnut Puree…with some marrons glacé left from Xmas, maybe an ice cream or a soufflé. Update: Chestnut Meringue Tart, see below… – a triumph!

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I’m looking forward to dealing with the coconut. I will make coconut milk and toasted coconut flakes from the flesh – and drink the water as a treat!

Sat lunch: Homemade Pizza with Salad. Fresh Fruit
dinner: Steak Haché (from freezer) with Blue Cheese Sauce, Red Cabbage Slaw,  Oven Fries
Lime and Coconut Ice Cream with Toasted Coconut

Pizza

Sun lunch: leftover Pizza and Salad. Fresh Fruit.
dinner: leftover Duck Curry, with homemade Naan or Chapatti

Mon fast day: Spicy Pumpkin Soup
Warm Butter Bean, Halloumi and Beetroot Salad

So I managed to shop without buying anything off my list, which was mostly household items, salad and fresh fruit, plus topping for the pizza. My treats are a bag of small Pink apples and 4 blood oranges. If I’ve got it right, my fridge should be pretty empty by Tuesday!

10 thoughts on “Meal Planning

  1. Hi Belinda,
    Inspiring as ever. Thanks for yet more ideas. A question – I’ve been searching for Halloumi over here and can’t find it – where do you get yours?
    Barbara

  2. Hi Belinda, very interesting.. You use a lot of different ingredient than I do in my cooking which is inspiring, thank you.
    You seem to only eat lunch and dinner… Do you not have breakfast?

    Thanks Sarah

    • Yes I do have breakfast on non-fast days, but it is very boring – either a boiled egg and slice of wholewheat toast, or toast with almond butter or greek yogurt with prunes; so not really worthy of planning! Once in a blue moon hubby does bacon, egg and tomatoes for us.

  3. i’m impressed,sooooo organised! lol …..i have 3 freezers full of stuff but my problem is remembering to take them out before i need them! think its an age thing…lol Must try harder….

    • Oh yes, I know that problem, especially as I don’t have a microwave in my kitchen. But if I think of it too late, I usually take it out then, so that we can have it the next day… I am trying to include using up freezer food too, maybe I’ll feature that next!

  4. Hi Belinda,
    Kyn has developed a freezer app for the iPhone for me so I can track what in my freezer . It’s called EZFREEZE, it’s free at the amount, if any of you want to download it.

    • I eventually found EZ FREEZE by doing a google search, as I couldn’t find it directly on the App store – here’s the link for anyone that wants to give it a try :-

      https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ez-freeze/id893109615?mt=8

      Unfortunately it is only for iOS 8 – at this point I am still resisting the downgrade to this version, which I think is only suitable for new devices. I see that there was a previous version, would Kyn be able to do one that would also work with iOS 7 ? Pretty please? It looks like it would be useful!