Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Meal-Planning Wednesday - 8th Feb, 2012

Most families make meal-plans or menu-plans at the weekend, or on Mondays. Our day for planning what we're going to eat for the next week depends on our timetable. Last semester, we did our grocery shopping on a Thursday because we both have the afternoon off. (Being students and not owning a car, we have to plan in the 20 minute walk to and from the supermarket). This semester it's Wednesday, for the same reason. So while I'd love to jump in with the various blogs that feature menu-planning topics, I'm totally breaking the rules as everyone else on the planet seems to plan their meals on a Monday!

So, I'm a rule-breaker. I'm also probably one of the few students that makes a specific plan of what meals I'm going to eat every day. When I first came to university I'd outline meals for the week, but not give them specific days. But I've found that planning what I eat on each day means that I do actually eat what I planned, and not go hunting in the freezer for emergency chicken kievs because I'm too lazy to make the last remaining meal on my list. And now that Simon and I cook and budget together, meal planning has been a massive help. Meals that would previously have fed me for four days and still had leftovers now feed us for one meal and maybe enough for one person to eat for lunch the next day. He eats a LOT! So now we cook more meals, or in bigger quantities so that we have more for leftovers. We're starting to freeze leftovers to eat the next week rather than the next day so that we have more variety to our weekly meals. And we're experimenting a lot, thanks to Pinterest and Gojee. 

Typically, we try to have one meal including fish, one vegetarian meal, one chicken dish and something involving red meat. Then we fill the rest in with frozen leftovers, slow cooker experiments and typically more chicken, as it's cheap. We also try to eat vegetables with every meal, particularly those high in soluble fibre because of my dietary restrictions. We tend to avoid most pork for the same reasons.

Here's our meal plan for this week:

Wednesday - Chicken in white wine sauce with rice and steamed carrots
I recently called my mum and asked her for the white wine sauce recipe that I remembered from my childhood. She laughed and told me that it came out of a can! I went searching in Tesco and discovered the very same can hidden away on the bottom shelf, so we've decided to try it. I'll post our results of this experiment later this week, since Simon isn't keen on using jarred sauces, let alone canned ones!

Thursday - Borscht with sour cream and part-baked rolls
This is our "leftover" meal for the week, as we made a large quantity of this last week and froze half of it.

Our vegetarian meal for the week, high in fibre and relatively cheap. We both love chili and sweet potato and it gives me a chance to experiment with our slow cooker more. It also means I can cook in the morning and study in the afternoon, which I prefer.

Saturday is date night and Simon usually cooks. This was his choice, which I approve of as we both love Mexican-inspired food.

We were struggling to come up with an unusual fish recipe for me to cook (normally we have egg fried rice with mackerel or salmon mixed in, which is quick and easy but not very inspiring) and came across this. Looks like I'm using the slow cooker three time this week! But it allows me to get dinner ready before we go to church. We'll probably leave out the shrimp and add some more herbs.

Our red meat meal. Typically we use some sort of mince as it's cheaper but brisket isn't too expensive and we both loved the look of this recipe. We'll serve it with a salad as there's no veggies in the recipe. This is another slow cooker meal, which is perfect as I'm in classes from 2 - 4pm every Monday.

Tuesday - Chrorizo Hash Browns with roasted courgette/zucchini 
We forgot it was Valentine's Day until after we made this menu but this meal looks pretty posh. This is Simon's second choice. There's courgette in another meal so we figured we could use some more for this one, and it uses up the venison chorizo we received as a gift.

Breakfasts - We normally eat cereal for breakfast, except on Saturdays, when I cook something a bit more substantial. This week, Simon has requested scones, which we'll eat with margarine and jam.

Lunch - This is normally a combination of leftovers (if there's not enough for another full meal), noodles or toasties. I want to become more inventive with lunches, though, just without costing us too much extra!

— Rachel

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