For me, planning my week’s meals is an essential part of sticking to my food budget. I check my cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what I already have and what especially needs using up and this is my starting point. I look at the diary to see who will be home on which days, when I will be out or home late so that I know how much time I will have to prepare the meal. When I am feeling skint, I reduce the amount of meat that we eat and stick to a more basic menu. In the summer, when I have lots of produce from the veg patch, I plan our meals around what we have ready to harvest.
I don’t like waste so I frequently have lots of small bits of leftover food sitting in the freezer, so I incorporate these into my plan as well.
I only roughly plan lunches and breakfasts but make sure I have plenty of bread and cereal and don’t buy more if we have some to use up. I also make vast pots of soup!
Because I am a busy person though I do sometimes get stuck in a rut: macaroni cheese, spaghetti bolognese, chicken stew, chick pea curry….if I am not careful it can get a little dull. So tonight I have made a list of different recipes. I have been through my ancient copy of Delia Smith’s Frugal Food and A Girl Called Jack’s first book, plus the internet, and come up with the following list that I will be working through:
Macaroni au gratin
Spaghetti with meatballs
Spaghetti with tuna and olives
Cheese and mushroom quiche
Leek, carrot and potato pie
Pancakes with spinach and cheese
Lentil and vegetable curry with rice
Potato and cheese baked eggs
mushroom and spinach pasta
Smoky red lentil burgers in pittas
Brie and bacon risotto
Sort of paella
Ratatouille and rice
Ham, mushroom and cheese crepes
Vegetable masala curry
Creamy mustard chicken
Macaroni cheese with leeks and bacon
Most of these will be acceptable to the hungry hoards and help me stick to my budget, although Mr S will moan if he doesn’t see enough meat!