A meal plan to lose weight

Meal plan to lose weight

This week’s meal plan has got to be healthy! I need to stop reaching for comfort food like chocolate and… no, it’s just chocolate that is my downfall at the moment. so I need a meal plan to lose weight.

As I am home a lot and nowhere near as active as usual, I have been piling on the pounds and I don’t like it. No jeans with elasticated waistbands for me, thanks.

Exercise

I have been taking a daily walk, as I said I would in my post Seven Days to be the Best Version of Myself.

Time to develop some better habits with my eating too. Also, potentially time to feel hungry a lot!

I hate dieting. However, when I have needed to drop a few pounds in the past sticking to an eating plan has been the way to go.

A meal plan to lose weight

Better snacks

Snacking is my downfall. will make sure I have lots of chopped up fruit and veg around for snacks, as well as some fat free Greek yogurt. I will also buy some crackers for the evenings when I snack the most, with a low fat topping such as lactose free cottage cheese.

Breakfasts will be muesli or porridge with fruit, as usual. Lunches will be a sandwich with a hard boiled egg or some low fat grated cheese and lots of salad.

This week’s meal plan isn’t a hundred miles from what I usually eat but I will cut out a lot of the cheese and some of the carbs. I will also keep my portion sizes small.

meal plan to lose weight

Saturday

Mozzarella, basil and courgette frittata with a large green salad for me and some new potatoes for Mr S.

Sunday

Salmon with lots of vegetables. Mr S can have more new potatoes with his.

We always have a dessert on Sunday, so fruit and yogurt.

Monday

Chick pea curry with a chapati.

Tuesday

Vegetable and aduki bean bolognese. Broccoli.

Wednesday

Vegetable stew with a small portion of mashed potato. Mr S will have some baked chicken with his.

Thursday

More veg stew with a piece of baguette.

Friday

Cod fillet with home made tomato sauce and lots of veggies.

It sounds a pretty healthy meal plan to lose weight, doesn’t it? Now all I have to do is stick to it!

Are you trying to lose a few pounds? Do you follow a particular plan?

As usual, I am linking up with Katy Kicker for her weekly meal plan linky.

Sticking to the meal plan…

meal plan

Last week’s meal plan went awry! We were out when we were supposed to be in, Mr S was off doing stuff so it was just me a few nights and I couldn’t be bothered…. I ended up eating eggs and chips instead of making something ‘proper’. We also had an unplanned dinner with my parents. Never mind, meal plans need to be flexible and it did mean I only had to spend around £15 topping up and didn’t buy much at all.

This week hopefully we shall sticking to the meal plan. Generally speaking, I love meal planning for the time and money saved with a small amount of organisation and forward planning.

Saturday

Smoked salmon pasta. This was one of the meals we didn’t get around to. The smoked salmon was frozen so it is fine to use this week. We will use up a bag of salad I bought a few days ago.

Sunday

Chicken casserole for Mr S, roast potatoes and kale.  I shall have one of my veggie meals from the freezer.

If I feel OK, I may make a cake! Not sure what yet but will try to use what is in the cupboard.

Monday

meal plan

Lentil dahl

Some of the lentil dahl I made last week and froze. It was yummy!! Served with rice and a naan from the freezer. I played around with this, and will publish the recipe next week.

Tuesday

Spaghetti Bolognese. I have  minced beef in the freezer for Mr S and will freeze half of his Bolognese sauce for another time. I will have a simple tomato and pepper sauce with grated cheese.

Wednesday

Salmon from the freezer with potatoes and vegetables. I have a packet of hollandaise sauce in the cupboard so will cheat on that!

Thursday

meal plan

Aubergine and chick pea tagine

Just me in for dinner, so will see what is leftover or eat something I made earlier from the freezer. I still have some of the aubergine and chickpea tagine in there. This was delicious! Perhaps that with some rice.

Friday

Valentine’s Day! We will have a home made but easy dinner as I said in this post.

I will have another go at getting rid of the burgers in the freezer, with air fried chips and salad or veg. Still loving my air fryer, even if I’m not very adventurous with it.

So, this week’s meal plan is pretty straightforward, but as I am still in pain it needs to be. Do you meal plan? If so, what are you eating this week? Let me know in the comments below.

As usual, I am linking up with Katy Kicker for this week’s meal planning linky. Hop over and see what she has on her meal plan.

For more of my frugal food ideas, have a look at my recipes page here.

Using it up: Cheap meals from the freezer

 

cheap meals

Our freezer is rammed full with the possibility of lots of cheap meals. It looks as if I have been unconsciously storing stuff up for a no deal Brexit… We need to eat it! Here is what is there:

What’s in our freezer

A ton of redcurrants and blackcurrants from the garden.

Two bags of foraged blackberries.

For some odd reason, two packs of fish fingers. We hardly ever eat them, but a fish finger sandwich makes a nice lunch.

A large pack of diced beef, bought yellow stickered.

2 packs of lean steak mince, again yellow stickered.

Pack smoked salmon trimmings.

3 fish in breadcrumbs

2 bags Yorkshires

6 pots home made soup

3 beef burgers – I bought these when we had our last language student

2 vegeburgers

Pack of vegetarian butternut squash sausages

Half pack vegetable falafel

A giant pig in blanket – seemed like a good idea at Christmas…

Jam roly poly

Frozen peas

1 steak

1 salmon steak

4 chicken thighs

2 lots of vegetable tagine, home made

Box of ready to bake sausage rolls

2 packs pitta bread

2 lots of home made chick pea curry

1 lot of home made chicken and chick pea curry

1 naan bread

2 loaves bread plus various odds and ends saved for bread pudding

A container full of veg ends for soup making

Ready for Brexit?

cheap meals

The start of our Brexit stash

I don’t even know how some of this arrived in the freezer! I think the girls must have bought the sausage rolls and jam roly poly when they were here at Christmas.

Anyway, the meal plan this week will incorporate some of this. I want to make space for some frozen fruit and veg, just in case there are shortages if there is a no deal Brexit. Despite my comment at the beginning of this post, I have started a Brexit store of tins and non perishables in the last couple of weeks.

The media may well be scaremongering, but it pays to be prepared. We will be stocking up on seeds to grow some of our own fresh food this summer as well. We had a year off last year, but now is the time to get the wellies and spade out. (Well, as I can’t dig with my trapped nerve, I will have to stick to the light stuff for now!)

As I have rambled on, here is  a rough meal plan to create cheap meals and use stuff up.

Cheap meals from our freezer

Saturday

Beef stew for Mr S and defrosted aubergine and chickpea stew for me, with kale and potatoes. This will be one of my vegan days.

Sunday

The same for Mr S as there is a lot of beef in that pack! I will have a chick pea curry and we can both have rice.

Jam roly poly and custard for pudding.

If we are home, fish finger sarnies for lunch.

Monday

cheap meals

Chicken and chick pea curry

Another vegan day for me. I will have lentil dahl with rice . Home made soup for lunch.

Tuesday

Burgers, home made chips and peas.  My daughter is round for lunch so will shall have some of the pittas with falafel, humous and salad.

Wednesday

I will make some kind of pasta dish to use the smoked salmon in. This one looks nice. I will substitute the double cream for a Lactofree version. We will have some broccoli with this.

Thursday

Just me for dinner so I will eat leftover pasta from Wednesday.

Friday

Butternut squash sausages, with mash potato and vegetables.

This week of cheap meals from the freezer should free up a little space, hopefully.  I am hoping my neck pain will allow me to finally make some currant jelly too at some point. Do you plan your meals and find it saves you time and money? Check out some of my favourite frugal recipes here.

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog.

Don’t forget to come follow me on Instagram and Twitter to check on our money saving efforts. I also have a Facebook page – follow me and you will know when a new post has been published on the blog.

 

More healthy dinners: this week’s #mealplan

healthy dinners

I am planning more healthy dinners this week. Being unwell for so long has made me determined to be super healthy and get better! I take so many pills at the moment I can’t wait to get this trapped nerve sorted once and for all. Still waiting for my MRI… I am doing some extremely gentle exercise whilst I wait, but plan a mega fitness regime as soon as I am sorted!

My two vegan days went well last week so I am doing the same again this week, on Saturday and Sunday. I didn’t enjoy almond milk in my tea at all, although it was OK in my coffee and porridge. This week I am buying oat milk instead.

A week of healthy dinners

Saturday

healthy meals

Aubergine and chick pea tagine. This sounds delicious. I haven’t made it before but came across it in an old recipe book that cost me 20p in a library sale. I use it a lot. It’s called The Cancer Prevention Cook Book, and it is chock full of lovely, healthy recipes with great photos. You can find it on Amazon still for about 40p! I recommend it!

There is couscous in the larder that really needs eating so I will serve some of that with this dish.

Sunday

We will have a roast dinner today. Mr S will have roast chicken or a chop and I will have a nut cutlet, with roast potatoes, lots of veg and a Yorkshire pudding.

I will make plum crumble with our home grown plums that are in the freezer. If I use the vegan margarine this can be one of my vegan days and I will attempt to make custard with oat milk. Not sure how that will work out but I can but try!

Monday

Not strictly a vegan day, but I really fancy making a tomato and lentil dahl, again from the Cancer Prevention Cookbook. It uses ingredients I have in the cupboard anyway. We will have it with brown rice.

Tuesday

Salmon with potatoes and vegetables, with a hollandaise sauce. One of my favourite simple but healthy dinners.

Wednesday

Spaghetti with a simple tomato sauce and grated cheese. Mr S can have mince in his, as I bought lots of yellow stickered stuff which is in the freezer. I will make extra and freeze for some ready meals once I get back to work. We will have salad or veg with this, depending on what’s left.

Thursday

healthy dinners

A nice bit of comfort food – macaroni cheese with a large salad and avocado. I will use whole wheat macaroni.

Friday

Probably the same again – I don’t mind eating the same thing two days in a row! Less cooking.

So this is our week of healthy dinners. Not much meat or fish, some pulses and lots of vegetables. What are you eating?

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog.

Don’t forget to come follow me on Instagram and Twitter to check on our money saving efforts. I also have a Facebook page – follow me and you will know when a new post has been published on the blog.

A flexitarian diet? This week’s meal plan

The Flexitarian DietA flexitarian diet?

Did anybody see the story in the news this week about the ideal diet we should all be adopting? This so-called ‘flexitarian diet’ promises to make us all healthier, feed 10 billion people and prevent the catastrophic damage our current food and farming practices do to the planet. You can read the details here.

It reminded me that my new year’s resolution was to eat vegan twice a week and has inspired me to get on with it. Because we had the cheese mountain left over from Christmas I didn’t start it as I didn’t want to waste the cheese. We still have some but it is at a more manageable level, so now is the time to belatedly start my resolution. I am going to do it on Sundays and Mondays as a minimum.

Now that I have heard of the flexitarian diet, it seems it is well established, with a plethora of books available to get you started. I like the look of this one on Amazon,
The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way To Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, And Add Years To Your Lifeflexitarian diet

I like the idea of losing weight and adding years to my life!

When I go shopping I will buy almond or oat milk for my breakfast porridge. I can’t stomach soya. I already have some vegan margarine that needs eating. Otherwise, I actually eat quite a lot of vegan meals at dinner time anyway. I will buy some dairy free dark chocolate though! A girl needs a treat, flexitarian diet or not.

A pot of humous should be fine for my lunches with pitta bread and salad.

I have to be mindful that this is my resolution and not Mr S’s. He doesn’t want to give up meat or dairy altogether although he is happy to eat more vegetables and grains.

Saturday

Vegetable spaghetti Bolognese, made with tomatoes, peppers, garlic, celery and half a tin of mung beans that have been frozen. This could be vegan, but I will grate some of the cheese up to eat with this. Mr S has a meat Bolognese batch cooked from the freezer.

We have strawberry yogurt in the fridge that needs eating for dessert.

Sunday

Sarah Brown’s spiced almond risotto with salad. Mr S will have a couple of chicken thighs with his.

For some reason we have a ton of ground almonds, so I plan to use some of them up in this vegan lemon drizzle cake. No idea how it will come out without eggs, but I am happy to experiment. This will be good for dessert this week or just a snack with a cup of tea.

Monday

Chick pea curry, with added spinach and chapatis.

Tuesday

Probably chick pea curry again. Chicken curry for Mr S.

Wednesday

Penne with tuna and black olives. Steamed broccoli.

Thursday

Leftovers. Whatever is hanging about from this week’s meals.

Friday

Baked potatoes with an omelette and large salad.

So there you have our meals for this week. My version of the flexitarian diet. Not strictly vegan or even vegetarian, but incorporating a lot of plant based meals and not much meat, fish or dairy. Hopefully, this will make us healthier and perhaps a bit leaner. What are your thoughts on trying to feed yourself and your family using the flexitarian diet?

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog.

This post contains affiliate links.

 

This week’s frugal meal plan 12th January 2019

Frugal meal plan

Again this week I want to spend as little as possible on groceries to go along with my no spend January. So it is another frugal meal plan!

We mostly stuck to last week’s meal plan, although ended up eating spaghetti Bolognese two nights in a row as I made quite a lot. There are two portions in the freezer too, as well as some of the spicy parsnip soup that I made. The cheese mountain is still in the fridge, so I will be incorporating cheese into our meals as well.

Frugal meal plan, 12th January

Saturday

Kipper kedgeree with hard boiled eggs. I often make this. It is super cheap as kippers cost so little compared to smoked haddock, for example. Still lots of healthy fish oils, too. Grated carrot salad and avocado on the side.

Sunday

Nut cutlet or pork chop with roast potatoes, broccoli, Yorkshire puddings and home made gravy.

Apple crumble with windfalls given by a neighbour with natural Greek yogurt or custard. I was recently delighted to find that, despite being lactose intolerant, I can cope with proper stained Greek yogurt, which I love. Apparently, when it is strained it loses a lot of the lactose.

Monday

Macaroni multi-cheese (i.e. mac cheese made with various hard cheeses from the fridge) with more carrot salad and avocado.

Tuesday

Chick pea curry with rice and poppadoms. Might do a chicken curry to go alongside this for the carnivores.

Wednesday

We are having a little party to celebrate my daughter’s 21st birthday! The plan is to make afternoon tea, with sandwiches, sausage rolls, a giant pig in blanket that I bought at Christmas but never used and an assortment of crisps. This will be followed by birthday cake (which I will make) and some shop bought cream cakes. We also have lots of Prosecco left from Christmas. I can’t drink it because of my painkillers, but I expect the others will have a glass or two.

I don’t think we will want a big dinner after that little lot, so will just do some baked potatoes with cheese and salad for tea.

Thursday

Salmon fillet with home made air fryer sweet potato chips and peas/broccoli.

Friday

Fish in breadcrumbs from the freezer, with home made air fryer chips and frozen peas.

So this is my frugal meal plan. What are you eating this week?

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog.

A meal plan for a low spend January

Running alongside my no spend January I am doing a low spend food month. Like many people, we have lots of food in the house post Christmas. Mainly cheese! For some reason we went a little mad on the stuff. Luckily it lasts a long time if it isn’t opened. I want to spend as little as I can get away with on food this month to maximise our savings, so here is my meal plan for a low spend January.

low spend January

Meal plan for a low spend January

Saturday

Blue cheese pasta with salad and garlic bread. This will use up some of the Stilton and some lettuce that needs eating too. I don’t usually have ready made garlic bread in the freezer but my daughter bought some when she was home.

Because there is a lot of frozen fruit from the garden, I will also make a plum crumble to have over the next few days with custard. Mr S is a sucker for an old fashioned pud.

Sunday

Fish pie. We have cod in the freezer but I will need to nip to the shop for some more spuds to make this. We will eat broccoli and carrots alongside this and have more of the crumble for dessert. I have one sad sweet potato in fridge so will add that to the mash.low spend

Monday

Fish pie again. There should be leftovers. Peas from the freezer to accompany it this time with more carrots as we have a large bag to eat up.

Tuesday

Sausages, onion gravy and mashed swede (there is some in the freezer) mixed with potatoes. I have meaty sausages as well as the veggie sort. Probably peas and carrots again with this.

Wednesday

Spaghetti Bolognese. I will make two lots, one veggie and one meaty and freeze whatever we don’t eat. Then we will have some quick and easy ready meals for when we are too busy or can’t be bothered to cook! There is Quorn mince in the freezer so I will use that up.

Thursday

Veggie burgers with home made chips from the air fryer. I will make a salad of grated carrots, chives and tinned sweetcorn to go alongside this.

Friday

Cheese omelettes, bakes potatoes and carrot salad.

low spend

In addition, I will make some spicy parsnip soup to use up a bag we have. As I type this, I have a big pot of home made vegetable stock on, made with all the peelings and odds and ends of veg from the last couple of weeks. I keep old ice cream containers in the freezer and fill them up as I go along. This makes a super thrifty, nutritious and delicious base for a soup.

I can foresee quite a few versions of cheese on toast to go alongside the soup for our lunches. We also have tinned sardines so may go for sardines on toast too. No one can say we aren’t wildly adventurous!

Because we have so much cheese in the house, I am putting my plan to eat vegan twice a week on hold. I don’t want to waste any food!

Are you on a low spend January too? What are you eating this week?

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog.

What are we eating? This week’s budget meal plan

budget meal plan

At this time of year, when there is so much to spend your money on, it is particularly important to stick to the budget. Meal planning keeps me organised, stops me spending too much and prevents food from going to waste. We buy what we need and no more.  Here is this week’s budget meal plan.

This week’s budget meal plan

Saturday

We have all three daughters for dinner – quite a rare occasion these days. We are having Spanish cod bake. It should be made with chorizo, but I substitute this for tinned anchovies. It is a delicious dinner from the Ocado website. They have lots of lovely recipes on there.

We will have it with chopped greens and carrots. No 1 daughter is bringing pudding.

Sunday

We are out for the day and will probably have lunch out. So tea needs to be easy. We will have jacket potatoes with beans and cheese, accompanied by a green salad.

Monday

Macaroni cheese and salad. I like a lot of sauce on my mac cheese. If there is veg hanging about, such as mushrooms or sweetcorn, I will throw those in too to use them up.

Tuesday

I quite fancy a quick and easy mushroom stroganoff, like this one. I can’t eat soya so I will substitute this for Lactofree cream. If there is salad left we will eat that or maybe have a corn on the cob from the freezer.

Wednesday

budget meal plan

Pie, mash, broccoli, peas and gravy. Another quick dinner for after work as I bought these mushroom and camembert pies from Tesco Groceries the other week. They have a 3 for £4 offer on a lot of their frozen vegetarian products still, which is good value I think. I hope these are as nice as they sound!

Thursday and Friday

Red wine and mushroom risotto.  I will make enough of this to last two meals as it is going to be a busy week and it gives me a night off cooking!

As I type this, I have just realised that this week’s budget meal plan is heavy on the mushrooms! Never mind – I love mushrooms!

What are you eating this week? For inspiration on a budget meal plan see my Favourite Frugal Recipes page.

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. Thanks!

Money saving meal plan

This week’s meal plan is a bit late, as we actually started it yesterday! I can’t stress how important it is to me to plan our meals. It means we eat healthily for less, and we don’t waste food. As we approach Christmas, we can’t afford to throw our money in the bin, so a money saving meal plan is essential.

Money saving meal plan

Saturday

money saving meal plan

The weather here in Essex is cold, grey and wet, as it probably is anywhere in the UK right now. So a hearty, warming vegetable casserole is a good plan. I used celery, carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, peas with a good veg stock, thickened with a little flour and flavoured with rosemary and bay leaves.

The slow cooker is out and will be quite a lot through the winter I suspect. We will eat this with creamy mashed potato.

Sunday

money saving meal planningA ready made nut cutlet for me and a pork chop for Mr S with roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy. Tesco do a really nice nut cutlet I have discovered, and they are currently on offer at three packs for £4. A good price!

Monday

Work is always super busy on Monday and I am likely to be tired. I will go for a vegetable stir fry with noodles and toasted cashew nuts. It takes very little effort and is really delicious. I will post this recipe soon!

Tuesday

Tuna pasta casserole with salad. This is super cheap and easy budget food.

Wednesday

Fisherman’s pie. I will keep this simple and cheap, using frozen haddock and hard boiled eggs in a white sauce with mashed potatoes on top.

money saving meal plan

Thursday

Spaghetti cheese casserole. This is the ultimate comfort food and we have it regularly.

Friday

Cheese omelettes with air fried chips and peas. I am still enjoying using my air fryer! Chips cook so quickly in it – just as quick as frozen oven chips, just healthier.

This week’s money saving meal plan uses up food we already have, which means I won’t have to do any extra shopping this week, apart from some cheese, salad and milk.  What are you planning food wise?

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. Thanks!

money saving meal plan

Super healthy meal plan!

Why a super healthy meal plan?  Well, last week we had no meal plan. We were both ill with a nasty winter vomiting thing and didn’t feel much like food. As soon as I started to feel more human I made vegetable stock and a big pot of veggie soup from that. I wanted maximum nutrition but could only eat something very light.

This week I want to be super healthy so that we can ward off any of the flu bugs that seem to be rife! Got to love winter!healthy meal plan

Our kitchen spoons are mostly plastic and seem to have all started breaking. I have invested in this set of stainless steel ones, since I am trying to avoid plastic wherever possible. It’s a shame the plastic ones can’t be recycled. Hopefully the stainless steel ones will last forever.

This week’s super healthy meal plan

Saturday

Out for dinner at a friends so I don’t have much control over this. I will offer a fruit salad for dessert.

Sunday

We have some haddock and salmon in the freezer so will make a parsley sauce and have broccoli, carrots and mashed potatoes with it.

I also plan a banana loaf with three bananas that are past their best. Don’t want to waste them.

Monday

Salad of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, grated carrot and avocado. We seem to have a lot of pre-prepared vegetarian items like rissoles and burgers in the freezer. I had a tidy up and found some lurking at the back. They will go with the salad, maybe with some boiled potatoes.

Tuesday

Tuna with penne and olives. There should be leftover salad to go with this. We eat this a lot as it is quick, healthy, cheap and easy to make.

Wednesday

Vegetable casserole made in the slow cooker with carrots, onions, celery, peas, parsnips and mushrooms. Everything in the fridge, basically. Mr S can have the same thing with a couple of chicken thighs in his. We will have this with rice.

Thursday

healthy meal plan

Vegetable Lincolnshire sausages with mash, gravy and kale.

Friday

Our usual easy end of week dinner. Cheese omelette with a baked sweet potato and whatever vegetables are left in the fridge.

I am buying black grapes and oranges this week. We have loads of apples donated by a neighbour, so we can snack on fruit. Plain Greek yogurt with honey is another nice dessert option. I buy the lactose free version from Asda when I am passing. The packs of mixed nuts from Lidl are also good for healthy snacking.

That doesn’t mean I won’t eat chocolate or drink wine! But as I have had neither for a week, I won’t go crazy. Silver lining – I managed to lose 4 lb!

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. Thanks!

The importance of meal planning

I am finally coming out the other side of having a ridiculously painful trapped nerve in my neck. After 8 weeks, I can keep it under control and have been back at work full time. Meal planning is even more important when you are unwell. I have organised meals that don’t take long to prepare with easy ingredients. I will carry on in this way until I am completely better.

Meal planning is something I do because it saves us time and money. I don’t know about you, but as we approach Christmas there seems to be little of either. Meal planning may very well help save your sanity too!

meal planningSaturday

Basa fillets with crispy potatoes, vegetables and parsley sauce. I would love to say I am making the sauce from scratch, but I’m going for speed and convenience on this one with a 30p sauce mix.

I have to get the cat to the vets and clean the house today so need to save time where I can.

Sunday

We have guests for lunch today. They are pescatarians like myself, but I am planning on a proper veggie dinner. We are having red dragon pie with vegetables and onion gravy. For pudding we will have fruit crumble and custard. I love this recipe from Jack Monroe, but will add some apples since we have some needing using.

Monday

Something from the freezer as it’s just me. If there happens to be leftovers from Sunday that will be good….

Tuesday

We have lots of stuff in the freezer. My daughter purchased quite a few packs of vegetarian sausages, fritters, etc but never got round to eating them so left them with me. I will give them a go! Mr S will have pork chops and we will both have mashed potatoes and broccoli.

Wednesday

Tuna pasta bake.  Something warm and comforting. I think I will go for this recipe, or might just make it up as I go along.

Thursday

Leftover tuna pasta bake.

Friday

I bought some lovely sweet potatoes the other day so we will have one baked with an omelette and maybe salad if we have some kicking around.

meal planning

Lunches at this time of year are generally home made soups, salads or sandwiches. We still have plenty of the curried pumpkin I made last weekend in the freezer. If I have time I will make a fruit cake. This recipe is an all in one super easy one.

So that’s our meal planning done for the week. What will you be eating?

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog.

 

 

This week’s meal plan: low waste shopping

low waste shopping

I am going to try to do our grocery shop a little differently this weekend. I may have to hit the supermarket at some point, but I intend to get into town today and buy as much as possible from the food coop that I recently joined as well as a fabulous greengrocer and international store I have just discovered. My aim is to buy food with as little packaging as possible so I am going for low waste shopping. It still needs to be low cost though, so I am not going to bust the budget!

It will be interesting to discover how I get on with this. However, I don’t always have time to travel into town. Nipping into Aldi on the way home saves a lot of time.

This week’s meal plan is therefore subject to change, depending on what I pick up. To be honest, it is always subject to change, depending on my mood, the time available, etc. However, sticking to a general meal plan always saves both time and money.

The plan is to use up as much of the Halloween pumpkin as possible in soup this weekend, but if I have time I might make some pumpkin muffins too.

This week’s low waste shopping meal plan

low waste shoppingSaturday

Some kind of fish with mini roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Maybe smoked haddock. I will see what looks good!

Sunday

Pork chops or vegetable rissoles with creamed mixed root vegetables. We have parsnips, sweet potato, carrots and swede.

Monday

Pumpkin soup with a jacket potato and grated cheese.

low waste shopping

Tuesday

Prawns with vermicelli – love the look of this! Simple and tasty food.

Wednesday

Creamy egg curry with rice and poppadoms.

Thursday

Risotto from the freezer with vegetables.

Friday

Stir fry vegetables with noodles and toasted cashews.

Sadly, we no longer have a fishmonger in town so my fish will come from the supermarket. However, we still have one butcher and a couple of greengrocers, some bakeries and a couple of health food shops so I will attempt to get the other ingredients we need from them.  We also have a small market but it sells very little food – just fruit and vegetables. Low waste shopping may not be as easy as it once was, but I am going to give it a try.

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog. For more of my tips on meal planning, try this post.

 

 

A no shopping week: this week’s meal plan

I am not planning a shop at all this week, as we still have quite a lot of food in the house. Our meal plan will be based on what we can find in the fridge, freezer and cupboards. It is a no shopping week!

I am still recovering from my trapped nerve, although it does feel a little better. Even so, I am keeping it super easy.

no shopping week

A meal plan for no shopping week

Saturday

Cheese omelettes, jacket potatoes and salad. We need something really easy as we were up at 4 in the morning taking our student for her bus. 4 am on a Saturday!!!! How did I get talked into that?

Sunday

We will have a roast today. Mr S has chicken thighs and I have nut cutlets in the freezer. Will have roast potatoes, lots of veg and Yorkshires.

Monday

All being well with my neck pain, I hope to be back at work. I expect to be tired and I am not planning on any major cooking. Mr S won’t be here, so I will make do with bread and soup.

Tuesday

Penne with tuna and black olives. This is a healthy store cupboard favourite that is quick to make too.

Wednesday

Prawn risotto, as I have both prawns and peppers in the freezer, with salad.

Thursday

Fish and chips – nothing home made here. Both from the freezer. We will have peas with this and some salad if there is any left. I have a massage booked for my neck and shoulder so I need something quick anyway.

Friday

Slow cooker vegetable casserole. I will chop it all up before work and chuck it in the slow cooker. I love coming home to something warming from the slow cooker.

Not the most inspiring of menus, I realise, but I am not pushing myself until I am completely better! I will embrace my no shopping week as it saves time and money.

One more thing before you go…

One more plea to vote for Shoestring Cottage in the SHOMOS Peoples Vote, if you haven’t already. You need to do it before the 31st October. Here is the link.

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog. For more of my tips on meal planning, try this post.

Feeding a teenager: this week’s meal plan

We have a French language student arriving later today for the week. I have been doing this long enough to know that feeding a teenager is not the same as providing food for anyone else. Sure, some of them are pretty adventurous and will eat all of the meals we usually eat. More often than not, however, they are fussy!

Feeding a teenager could mean eating just brown food for the week. I am not prepared to go that far, but I will adapt some meals to include common foods beloved by teenagers the world over. As long as there isn’t lots of waste, I don’t mind this.

If she was  MY teenager, I would make her eat all the weird stuff. However, as she is a guest, we will eat quite conservatively for a week.

We will provide all meals each day. Breakfast will be cereals, toast or baguettes, jam, marmalade, etc. Lunch is two rolls with ham or cheese, some crisps, fruit, cake and water (they will get theirs in a reusable bottle as I refuse to buy it in disposable plastic). Then each evening we will eat our main meal together.

feeding a teenager

A meal plan for feeding a teenager

Saturday

Pizza and salad. The coach is arriving quite late and I don’t think they will want a heavy meal before bed. Fruit or yogurt for pudding.

Sunday

The students are off on a coach tour to Harry Potter World today. I plan to make a beef and mushroom casserole for them and Mr S. I will make a veggie stew for me and put any spare in the freezer. Chocolate cake for pudding.

Monday

Macaroni au gratin from Delia’s Frugal Food. This contains bacon, so I will make a smaller separate one without bacon for me. Fruit, yogurt or cake for pudding.

Tuesday

Burgers, buns and air fried chips, probably with some salad too. I will have a veggie burger. Fruit, yogurt or cake for pudding.

Wednesday

Creamy mustard chicken from A Girl Called Jack. I will make one without the chicken for me and serve both with rice and vegetables. Fruit, yogurt or ice cream for pudding.

Thursday

Chicken or Quorn kievs with vegetables and jacket potatoes. Fruit, yogurt or ice cream for pudding.

Friday

Cheese omelettes, home made chips and corn on the cob. Fruit, yogurt or ice cream for pudding.

We only have dessert once or twice a week usually, but I am obliged to offer a pud to my guest. Does anyone else host language students and what do you feed them? Do you have any tips for feeding a teenager?

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog. For more of my tips on meal planning, try this post.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

 

Buying nothing: this week’s vegetarian meal plan

Mr S is away this week, so it is just me, the lodger and the cats! The lodger can take care of her own meals, thank goodness, so I can please myself.  I am still trying to get through the bulk purchase of Quorn that I bought on offer months ago, before I realised nobody likes Quorn…. my challenge is to use up quite a lot of it in this week’s vegetarian meal plan.

I am also giving myself an easy week by doubling up on meals. I will make enough for four, eat two portions over a couple of days and freeze the rest for another time. I barely need to buy anything – just milk, fruit, some oil, some salad leaves and maybe some broccoli, so it is going to be a very cheap week.

A vegetarian meal plan

Saturday

vegetarian meal plan

Quorn spaghetti bolognese. I will use this recipe from BBC Good Food, as I think the addition of red wine will make it more tasty. We have a bottle open and I am not drinking alcohol at the moment so I need to use it up anyway.

I will make a salad from lettuce, spinach and grated raw carrot.

Sunday

You guessed it – I will have the Quorn spaghetti bolognese again and eat it with more of the salad.

Monday

Potato curry. I will try to publish this recipe next week. I really enjoyed it and it is so cheap and tasty. I will make four portions and freeze two.

Tuesday

My daughter will be round for tea. She is not a curry fan, so instead we will have veggie burgers from the freezer with sweet potato chips cooked in my VonShef Digital Air Fryer and some salad.

Wednesday

More of the potato curry with rice.

Thursday

vegetarian meal plan

Vegetable sausages from the freezer with mashed potatoes and broccoli. I am still on the search for the perfect non-soya veggie banger. These are from Asda and are butternut squash, sweet potato and red pepper sausages. They are OK, but not really what I call a sausage – more a vegetable pattie.

Friday

My usual Friday omelette, possibly with air fryer chips, maybe just salad, depending on how hungry I am.

So, a really simple vegetarian meal plan this week. Next week I have a French student for a week, so I will have to do some shopping and have a good think about meals they might enjoy.

What are you eating this week?

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at their blogs. For more of my tips on meal planning, try  this post.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

Cheap and filling spuds for this week’s budget meals

budget meals

I found a very promising potato cook book in the charity shop this morning for 50p, all about cooking with potatoes. Spuds are delicious in so many forms. I am hoping this makes me a bit more adventurous when using this very cheap and filling ingredient.  Going to use some of these for our budget meals this week and in the coming weeks.

This week’s budget meals

Saturday

Fish pie. We have all three daughters here for this. I am using cheap frozen blocks of cod with a few prawns and some hard boiled eggs, topped with a creamy sauce and finally mashed potatoes. We will have this with kale.

Sunday

No cooking today. We are off to my sister’s house to see my nephew. He lives in Thailand now and we haven’t seen him for three years. We are all so looking forward to catching up.

Monday

Vegetable burgers with home made chips cooked in the air fryer and salad. I  tried some from Amy’s Kitchen, but I have to say I am not keen on the taste or the texture. They are incredibly bland. Still they will be fine with some ketchup, hopefully. I can’t waste them!

Tuesday

budget meals

Potato curry from my bargain potato cookery book. The recipe calls for cauliflower. I can’t stomach this sadly, so I will replace it with broccoli to add some colour and nutrition. Mr S loves a curry. We will eat this with poppadoms and mango chutney.

Wednesday

Spanish tortilla and salad. Again, I will use the recipe in my potato book.

Thursday and Friday

Macaroni cheese with lots of vegetables. This is a quick and easy after work supper. I will make double quantity and have the same on Friday, as I am bound to be tired at the end of the week.

budget meals

This is a relatively easy week of budget meals. The fibromyalgia is still playing up and I still have a lot of pain in my shoulder, so I am taking it easy. What are you planning to eat this week?

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog. For more of my frugal recipe ideas, see here.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. Thanks!

This week’s shoestring meal plan 29th September

shoestring meal plan

Something has triggered my ongoing neck and shoulder issue and it is killing me! I am rubbing on the ibuprofen gel and stuffing painkillers at regular intervals. This week’s shoestring meal plan needs to be straightforward in case it continues. Otherwise it will be egg on toast made by Mr Shoestring or the chippy. This is where I really wish he could cook!

It’s a good job he does lots of other stuff. He never stops. The garden is looking incredibly tidy at the moment and he has been cutting back great swathes of greenery at his mum’s too. He will have biceps like Desperate Dan at this rate!

This week’s shoestring meal plan

Saturday

Chicken or mushroom chasseur with rice. I tend to use Jack Monroe’s recipes for both from A Girl Called Jack: 100 delicious budget recipes. The plan was to give you a link to these on the Cooking on a Bootstrap website, but alas – they don’t appear to be there. This book is so worth buying if you don’t have it already. Darling Daughter no 3 is home this weekend so she will lend a hand.

I am intrigued by this peanut butter and jam crumble from Jack. We have lots of apples so if I have time this weekend I shall adapt it slightly to use these. Sounds delicious! We all love pretty much anything with custard. I will make this the old fashioned way with custard powder so that 1) it’s lactose free and 2) I don’t have any packaging to throw away.

Sunday

Mr S will have a pork fillet and I will use the last slice of the cashew and mushroom roast from last weekend – both from the freezer. I will serve this with roast potatoes and vegetables.

Monday

Sweet potato, chick pea and spinach curry from Jamie Oliver. I have the day off work so will have time to make this, although it looks pretty straightforward. We have leftover chapatis in the freezer, which were lovely, so we can use those up with this.

Tuesday

Cheese and onion burgers with air fried chips and peas. If there are sweet potatoes left from the curry I will use those for the chips rather than ordinary spuds.

Wednesday

Sardine spaghetti. Cheap, healthy and easy.  I tend to use the sardines in tomato sauce for this, rather than in olive oil, as this recipe suggests. If there are salad leaves left we will use these as an accompaniment. If not, I will just make a quick salad of tinned sweetcorn and grated carrot.

Thursday

Pho. We still love this Vietnamese noodle soup dish and it is very quick to make. We replaced the bean sprouts with pak choi last time we made it and it was nicer, so shall do this again. Darling daughter no 1 will be over for dinner and this is her speciality so I will leave her to it.

Friday

End of week omelette, chips and salad. I can never be bothered to mess around on a Friday night!

So, this is my shoestring meal plan for the week. Here’s hoping the neck pain abates and I can get on with things. It is hard to sleep and then even harder to concentrate at the moment. Still, no point moaning. Onward and upwards.

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog. For more of my frugal recipe ideas, see here.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. Thanks!

This week’s frugal eating plan

As I have been having fun this week using up the grape harvest, this week we will be mainly eating grape jelly! I haven’t made any jam for ages. In truth, I hadn’t even thought about preserving grapes in this way, but someone suggested it on Facebook, so I thought ‘Why not?’ I love pottering around in the kitchen when I have the time and I really didn’t want to waste them. This week’s frugal meal plan continues to use up odds and ends and keep waste to a minimum.

Frugal eatingI am determined to have an easy week though, so won’t be doing major cooking whilst I am working.

This week’s frugal eating meal plan

Saturday

Frugal eatingLeftovers from my dinner party: Cashew nut and mushroom loaf, roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy. Apple and almond pudding with home made custard.

Sunday

Smoked mackerel with new potatoes and salad.

Monday

frugal eating

Tuna penne with black olives. I will make enough of this to eat on Tuesday too. We will have this with carrot salad as we have a large bag in the fridge.



Tuesday

As above. I can save my energy to do a bit of yoga or just chill with a glass of wine :).

Wednesday

We have various odds and ends of fish in the freezer and a can of anchovies in the cupboard. I think I will make Delia Smith’s utterly delicious baked fish with potatoes. A simple but filling and tasty dish.

Thursday

A risotto ‘ready meal’ from a large batch cooked last week and stored in the freezer, with whatever veg or salad needs using.

Friday

frugal eatingWe always seem to have at least one meal based around eggs. I just love them in any form, but will probably have them fried with some home made chips from my Air Fryer . I am still using this regularly and it really does make lovely chips!

Are you going for frugal eating this week? What is on your meal plan?

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at her blog. For more of my tips on meal planning, try  this post.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. Thanks!

Meal planning to save time

meal planning to save time

Although it can seem like a faff, meal planning really does pay dividends. It saves both money and time. The latter I seem to be particularly short of at the moment. There aren’t enough hours in the day! Meal planning to save time is essential this week.

We have a student from China staying for a fortnight from tomorrow. She has finished her studies at the university and is obliged to leave her accommodation, but wants to hang around for a couple of weeks. As our lodger left yesterday and we don’t have anyone long term at the moment, this suits us. We do have a few people asking to view the room, though, so I hope she keeps it tidy!

A deep clean

I have been spending time giving the house a deeper clean than usual. Sorting and cleaning drawers, the oven, the fridge and freezers, for example. When you have someone new coming to stay, it makes you hyper critical!

We also couldn’t let our grape harvest rot on the vines so have pulled some off to make grape liqueur. It is a very basic mix of grapes, a small amount of sugar and some cheap vodka. Hopefully it will be ready for Christmas! I need to find time at some point very soon to make some grape jelly too. We offered the grapes to everyone we know to see if anyone fancied making wine, but had no takers. They aren’t really sweet enough to just eat, so we need to find ways to preserve the harvest.

With all this activity and our usual hours at work, no wonder time is short!

Meal planning to save time: this week’s dinners

Our student is happy to sort out her own food, so that’s something. It means I don’t have to fuss. I do have friends round on Friday for dinner, though! I will have to make it all the evening before as I am working on Friday. Everything apart from the food for Friday is quick and easy to put together.

Saturday

Pork chops or veggie burgers with new potatoes, broccoli and peas.

Sunday

Nut burgers with roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, carrots and broccoli. We have quite a few bananas that need eating, so will have those with custard for dessert.

Monday

Haddock with parsley sauce, new potatoes and green beans from the freezer.

Tuesday

The last of the chilli for Mr S and chick pea curry for me, both from the freezer, with some Indian wraps I found in Lidl.

Wednesday

meal planning to save time

Vegetable risotto and salad. Mr S can have a chicken breast with his. I shall just top mine with some grated cheddar.

Thursday

Something really quick so I can get on with cooking tomorrow’s dinner! Just an omelette and chips I think or maybe some leftover risotto is there is some.

Friday

This is the evening I have the girls round! We are having cashew nut and mushroom roast, with roast potatoes, onion gravy and vegetables. For pudding I am planning apple and almond pudding – a Delia Smith recipe that I really love. It is easy to make and gluten free to boot. We won’t have a starter – just some nibbles.

Do you do meal planning to save time and money? For more on this see my post here.

As usual, to keep my shopping budget on track,  I am linking up with Katy Kicker . If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look here.

Using it up to keep food bills low

using it up

Even though Zero Waste Week is now over, I am continuing to use the items I identified as ‘forgotten’ when I did my stock take last week. I don’t want to waste food or money! So I will continue using it up this week.

My ‘using it up’ meal plan

Saturday

Roast chicken or nut roast for dinner (this was a special request from my daughter for her birthday)! We will have roast potatoes and parsnips, broccoli cheese, Yorkshire puds, stuffing and peas with this.  Dessert will be home-made chocolate birthday cake.

Sunday

Red wine and mushroom risotto from A Girl Called Jack. This is  hearty and delicious!

Monday

using it up

Macaroni cheese. We have a big jar of macaroni that has been sitting around because we are eating mainly gluten free for my low gluten diet. As the girls will all be round it is a good time to be using it up. I will cook and chop up some of the unwanted sausages I mentioned in last week’s plan for Zero Waste Week  in theirs.

Tuesday

Prawn korma with poppadums. We have a couple of jars of curry sauce that need eating and will use one of them.

Wednesday

Veggie burgers or pork chops, vegetables and mash. I will deliberately do too much mash. I plan to make soup and it‘s a great thickener.

Thursday

Home made chunky vegetable soup. Tuna and cheese pittas.

Friday

using it up

More of the soup, probably with a jacket potato. This will be an easy end of week tea.

Snacks and treats

Our fantastic little plum tree is still going strong, so I will be stewing some to have as my fruit pots at work next week. I ran out of time to make the gluten free peanut butter cookies last weekend as we ended up doing a lot of work in the garden. That huge jar of peanut butter needs to be used, so I will have another try this weekend.

I like this using it up mentality as it makes me more creative. It gives me a warm glow of satisfaction to know I am saving money and preventing food waste.




Other meals

Lunches need to be portable and are usually leftovers, home made soup or sandwiches. Breakfast tends to be either muesli with yogurt or porridge. As we have a lot of the latter and it is getting cooler, I think porridge will be favourite this week.

As usual, to keep my shopping budget on track,  I am linking up with Katy Kicker . If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look here.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. Thanks!

A meal plan to reduce your food bill

If you read my recent post How to Slash your Food Bill, you will know that our grocery bill has been creeping up. Meal planning is absolutely crucial if you want to reduce your food bill. By planning every meal, using up what you already have, writing a shopping list containing only what you need and then sticking to your list you really can save lots of money.

With money saving on my mind as we move into Autumn and towards Christmas, here is what I have planned for this week.

A meal plan to reduce your food bill

Saturday

Spaghetti cheese casserole. This is one we eat regularly, made with cheap store cupboard ingredients. Aldi had two corn on the cobs on their specials when I popped in last week at 35p for two! Bargain. We will eat the last of these with the casserole.Reduce your food bill

Sunday

Red Dragon Pie. This is a classic from Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Kitchen, and is delicious. This is a really old book, but you can pick it and some of her others up on Amazon from time to time. It is worth having.

Monday

Chick pea curry and rice. I will make a large batch of this and freeze some.

Tuesday

Pho. We all loved this Vietnamese noodle soup last time and it was so easy to make!

Wednesday

Chilli con carne with jacket potatoes and chilli sin carne for me! Both will have as a base some of the batch cooked tomato sauce I am making this weekend.

Thursday

Spanish omelette, using any leftover veggies that are hanging around.

Friday

Chick pea curry again. End of the week laziness with a large glass of white wine!

For lunches we still have quite a lot of courgette soup on the freezer. I will also have salads with either hard boiled eggs or tinned tuna. If we are at home it will be sardines or eggs on toast.

Breakfasts are almost always muesli with yogurt or microwaved porridge.

Snacks will include fruit, mixed nuts from Lidl (as they are a good price in there), cereals such as cornflakes or cheese and crackers. I need to keep these at a minimum though to stop our waistlines expanding!

Are you looking to reduce your food bill? What are your top tips to save money on groceries?

As usual, to keep my shopping budget on track,  I am linking up with Katy Kicker and the Organised Life Project. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look here.

A home grown meal plan

meal plan

I popped into Asda mid week for some milk and cat food. Whilst I was there, I managed to pick up some yellow stickered fish – salmon and kippers. We also have a fridge full of vegetables. No home grown ones this year, but as people keep giving us their excess runner beans, courgettes and salad ingredients we haven’t felt deprived! I just need to factor the home grown food into my meal plan this week.

We also have eggs, veggie burgers, prawns, pork, white fish, sausages, frozen broccoli and peppers. This means that, apart from fruit, we really don’t need to buy anything else.

I have made a huge batch of courgette soup. Some will go into the freezer and some will be taken for lunches. Mr S and his brother also managed to find and pick some samphire. A rare treat!

This week’s home grown meal plan

meal planSaturday

Salmon with parsley sauce, new potatoes and runner beans.

Sunday

Prawn and samphire spaghetti (inspired by this recipe, which will just be a starting point. I love to adapt!).

Monday

Veggie burgers and chips, made in my air fryer. We have lots of donated cherry tomatoes to have with this.

Tuesday

Sicilian fish stew. I don’t have any capers, but will add some olives at the end instead to get that same salty hit.

Wednesday

Sausages, mash and whatever veg needs using up.

Thursday

Cheese and parsley omelettes with salad.

Friday

Tuna with penne. An easy, end of week dinner using store cupboard staples.

What’s in your meal plan this week? As usual, to keep my shopping budget on track,  I am linking up with Katy Kicker and the Organised Life Project. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look here.

Meal planning and using my new air fryer!

I have an air fryer and I’m not afraid to use it! Actually, I am a bit scared. It is quite alien! I thought I would build some air fryer recipes into this week’s meal planning. I was totally inspired to try one by Katy Kicker, who uses hers regularly it seems (blog link below).

meal planningAfter scouring the internet for recipes, I have a few promising ones to try. Air fryers are  quite versatile, it seems. As well as cooking things with very little oil, you can bake, roast, grill and reheat too.

(Full disclosure: I was gifted my new air fryer for review purposes, a VonShef Digital Air Fryer 3.5L. A full review will follow when I have tried it out properly. This is an affiliate link.)

I love meal planning mainly because it saves me time and money. It is just so much easier when I am busy not to have to think about what to make for dinner. I can just get home from work and get on with it.

Meal planning this week

Saturday

I am going to use the air fryer to make some sweet potato chips tonight. Mr S has a lamb shank from the freezer and I have some mackerel. I will make a quickly parsley sauce to go with mine.  The sweet potatoes will be one of our five a day, of course, but we will also have some broccoli.

Sunday

It’s too hot for a roast at the moment, so we are having spaghetti Bolognese. I will make a meat version as well as a veggie version for me. Ages ago I bought some Quorn burgers on offer. I really don’t like them so they have been sitting in the freezer for ages. The plan is to chop them up for my veggie sauce. I hate wasting food! That is half the point of meal planning, after all.

Monday

meal planning

We have some home grown courgettes to use. For once they weren’t grown by us! We decided to have a year off growing our own as I felt so unwell early in the season. I feel much better now, thank goodness. Everybody else is growing them, of course, and a friend gave me some. I plan to make an old favourite from my Favourite Frugal Recipes page, courgette and tomato eggy bake. We will have this with some lettuce leaves in a salad, gifted by the same friend.

If I continue to be given courgettes, I will be dipping them in egg and breadcrumbs and air frying them!

Tuesday

A nice easy tea. Fish in breadcrumbs from Lidl with some home made air fryer potato wedges.

Wednesday

Minted lamb, which mysteriously appeared in the freezer. My daughter must have bought it whilst I was away. She and Mr S can have that with new potatoes and vegetables. I will have some salmon and perhaps a nice hollandaise sauce.

Thursday

I thought I would give these chick pea nut burgers a try from the BBC Good Food website. Some can go in the freezer. If no. 1 daughter turns up for tea, she will turn her nose up at these. Fortunately I keep some Aldi beef quarter pounders in the freezer. My family are such carnivores!

Friday

End of the week and it has to be simple. Spanish omelette with salad should do the trick.

I have found some good hints and tips on using my air fryer hereWhat are you doing about meal planning this week? Are you super organised or do you wing it?

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker and the Organised Life Project. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at their blogs. For more of my tips on meal planning, try  this post.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

My eating from the larder meal plan

I have done a proper stock check of the freezer and barely need to buy any groceries this week. Because I buy cheaply when I find items on offer, I sometimes forget what is in there! To keep on top of food bills it is really important to know what you already have and plan it into your meals. Otherwise it is too easy to buy more and more and waste what you already have. I popped into Asda last night to get their version of lactose free milk, yogurt, fruit, cat food and a couple of other items. I am hoping not to need anything else for the week. Here is my eating from the larder meal plan.

eating from the larder
Eating from the larder

Saturday

I am eating out! I love getting my dinner cooked for me for a change. My friend Wendy is a fabulous cook so I am looking forward to a night with her and the girls. I have bought meringues and Lactofree cream to go with her fruity dessert.

It really is my turn to cook next time so I will get my thinking cap on to think about what I can make that is impressive but won’t break the bank.

Sunday

I still have the job lot of pork chops I bought reduced from Asda in the freezer. Mr S and darling daughter will have these and I will have some of the nut roast I forgot was in hiding behind a loaf of bread in the freezer. My daughter does a great marinade for the pork with soy sauce, honey and ginger.  We will have roast potatoes, some frozen beans, frozen broccoli and Yorkshire puds.

I like to keep a stash of frozen veg in the freezer for when the fresh stuff runs low.

Monday

I have potatoes that are looking a bit sprouty so I will make these into home made oven chips to eat with omelettes and some salad. We eat fewer potatoes in the summer so I buy small bags. Sometimes they do get forgotten about and I hate wasting food!

Tuesday

We shall have tuna pasta bake. This is a great eating from the larder meal. We always have pasta, tuna and tomatoes! Actually, my daughter brought a jar of sauce back from uni, so if I am tired I will use that up. There is a jar of black olives in the fridge so I will throw some of those in too.

Wednesday

Sea bass with vegetables and hollandaise sauce. This is in the freezer and had also been shoved to the back. I love fish of any sort and eat it once or twice a week generally. I have fresh carrots that I will use up but will also use some of the frozen veg again.

Thursday

eating from the larderSardine spaghetti. This is becoming a staple, although I vary the ingredients slightly each time, adding peppers if I have them or some chilli if I want a bit of a kick. It may sound unappealing but sardines make a really great sauce for pasta. Even my eldest daughter, who is fussy as hell, enjoys it. I will try this version I think, although I don’t have whole wheat spaghetti so will use the normal stuff.

Friday

Chilli chicken or salmon with roasted new potatoes and vegetables. The chicken was another yellow sticker bargain that I split into portions and froze. I also have a single portion of salmon so I shall have that. New potatoes are obviously delicious just as they are, but I really love them roasted with a little olive oil and garlic.

So, my eating from the larder menu plan is pretty straightforward and mostly uses what we already have.  I would love to hear what you have planned for the week. All inspiration gratefully accepted!

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker and the Organised Life Project. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at their blogs. For more of my frugal food ideas see here.

This week’s easy meal plan

meal planningI am still feeling crazy tired and awaiting more tests to see what is ailing me. It’s a long old process! This means I continue to look at meals that aren’t too time consuming to make after work, hence the easy meal plan.

 Meal planning saves time and money. It is so much easier to make and stick to a budget if you know exactly what you need to buy. I love the fact that I don’t even have to spend energy thinking about it when I have an easy meal plan such as this.

Saturday

Sausages, jacket potatoes and baked beans. After a hard week, we need an easy Friday night tea! I will have a bit of fish in breadcrumbs rather than the sausages though.

Sunday

Curry night! I will make a good veggie curry then add some cooked chicken breast to the carnivores’ version. We will have basmati rice and poppadums and maybe go crazy with some mango chutney.

Monday

I found a large pack of pork chops in the reduced section in Asda recently. They were frozen individually. Mr S and darling daughter can have those with creamy mash and vegetables. I will have a nut cutlet with mine.

Tuesday

five frugal thingsEggs benedict with sweet potato chips.

Wednesday

Kipper kedgeree. This should be made with smoked haddock, but kippers are cheaper and work equally well.

Thursday

Home-made tuna pasta bake with black olives. We will have the remaining spinach from the eggs benedict with this.

Friday

Tortillas with loads of spicy vegetables and grated cheese. We will probably have home-made chips with these and salad if there is any left.

 So, that is our easy meal plan for the week. What will you be eating?

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker and the Organised Life Project. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at their blogs. For more of my frugal food ideas see here.

 

A Cooking on a Bootstrap meal plan

I waited a long time for Jack Monroe’s new recipe book to arrive. Well over a year! By the time Cooking on a Bootstrap hit my doormat, I had pretty much given up on the hope of ever seeing it. It came a few months ago and to be honest, after a quick flick through, the recipes didn’t inspire me and I haven’t tried any. This week I am going to give it a chance and do a Cooking on a Bootstrap meal plan!

Looking for inspiration

I’m not sure why I haven’t greeted this new book with as much enthusiasm as I did Jack’s first one, A Girl Called Jack. This is still one of a handful of cookbooks that are my go-to sources of inspiration. It isn’t that she became vegan during the writing of the book and so there are very few meat recipes. I have become vegetarian since I signed up on Kickstarter to help fund it. Partly it is just circumstance. In a bid to sort my IBS I no longer eat mushrooms and eat just a few types of pulse in small quantities. Both are  staples in Jack’s recipes, as they are for any frugal cook.

Nevertheless none of the above is Jack’s fault so I figure I should at least make an effort to try some of the recipes. Not all of the below are from Jack, so I have asterisked those that are.

My Cooking on a Bootstrap meal plan

Saturday

Self-love stew. This is a mix of root veg, chick peas and white fish. Sounds interesting! *

Sunday

A roast. Probably chicken, with nut cutlets for me.

Monday

Parsnip mac and cheese. This is pretty much what it says on the tin. I am not sure about parsnips combined with pasta, but will give it a try.*

Tuesday

Sausages with sweet potato mash and peas.

Wednesday

Spaghetti alla puttanesca. Basically spaghetti with a tinned sardine tomato sauce. I make this type of dish quite often.*

Thursday

Smoked mackerel kedgeree. I have made a similar rice, egg and fish dish in the past with kippers. *

Friday

End of the week, so it needs to be easy. Probably left over kedgeree if there is any or an omelette with salad.

So that’s this week’s meal plan. What are you cooking?

Cooking on a Bootstrap is published on 23rd August and is available for pre-order on Amazon now.

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker and the Organised Life Project. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at their blogs. For more of my frugal recipe ideas, see here.

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. Thanks!

 

A meal plan for food intolerances

Food intolerances are a pain in the gut! I generally don’t make too much of mine on this blog. In reality, they have got so bad this year that I am having to be more careful than ever about what I eat.

food intolerancesFood intolerances can be expensive, but they don’t need to be. What I find, is that the more I cook myself the more control I have over what I am eating. The upside is that the more scratch cooking I do, the cheaper it is.

Buying cheaper

It helps a lot that both Aldi and Asda now sell the lactose free milk that I drink. It is still more expensive than the bog standard stuff but is cheaper than the branded Lactofree that I have been drinking for years. This can cost as much as £1.65 for a litre! Aldi charge £1.15 and Asda £1.20. I still look out for the buy three for £3 type offers on Lactofree as well.

I eat a very low gluten diet. Rather than go for the expensive and not very nice gluten free versions of bread, I tend to avoid it altogether. I do buy gluten free rolls for picnics etc. and have found a couple of brands that I enjoy. I also make my own spelt bread. It’s not gluten free, but much lower in gluten than traditional wheat. Asda seems to be the cheapest for gluten free stuff, but Aldi and Lidl have some good specials.

I don’t eat onions; where you find them in my recipes, I will actually be substituting them for chopped celery. I avoid cauliflower, sprouts, cabbage and, most recently (and sadly) mushrooms. I can eat pulses in small quantities. I make my life more difficult by not eating meat, but I still have fish to give myself a break.

What I have found recently is that if I avoid processed stuff containing weird sounding additives, I feel a lot healthier.

I am continuing to eat low fat, as with last week’s meal plan. Meals have become a lot less fussy and more simple, which saves time.

Food intolerance meal plan

food intolerancesSaturday

Fish pie with vegetables. I use a mix of fish and some hard boiled eggs. I will make a white sauce with lactose free milk.

Sunday

Rice and cashew pilaff – I have an idea of what I will put in this so if it turns out OK, I will publish the recipe.

Monday

Just me, so I will have an omelette, a baked sweet potato and salad. I eat a lot of eggs!

Tuesday

Saag aloo and rice. I use a recipe from Jamie Oliver. I love spinach.

Wednesday

Cod in parsley sauce with new potatoes and veg.

Thursday and Friday

Vegetable casserole. I will make a big pot and chuck everything in. We can have this for two nights, maybe with mashed potato.

Lunches will be simple soups, salads or maybe a couple of gluten free rolls. We will snack on fruit, nuts, hummus and crackers.

So, this is my meal plan for food intolerances. I don’t think you would notice!

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker and the Organised Life Project. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at their blogs. For more of my tips on food intolerances on a budget see here.

Healthy, low fat meal plan

So we have been on holiday – eating, drinking and being merry! We did walk a lot, so that may be our saving grace. However, I am still planning a low fat meal plan this week. I will focus on light, healthy meals to try to lose a few pounds. You can’t tell when Mr S puts on weight as he is so tall but it tends to sit around my middle and make all my clothes feel tight.

I will be shopping mostly at Aldi, but will top up at Asda. Asda sell their own brand low fat lactose free Greek yogurt, which is delicious. It will be good with fruit for snacks and puddings. The plain variety adds a little low fat creaminess to savoury dishes too.

low fat meal plan

My low fat meal plan

Saturday

I bought a soft taco meal kit from Aldi to take on holiday with us. We didn’t use it so we shall have it with some chicken strips for Mr S, plus lots of peppers, sweetcorn and what ever other chopped vegetables look good. I will have a little cheese on top but will buy the reduced fat variety. My daughter left a bag of salad in the fridge so we will be using that up.

Sunday

Roast chicken pieces for Mr S and a Quorn fillet for me, with some garlic and chilli to spice them up. We will have lots of veg with this and some sweet potato wedges baked with some cooking spray.

Monday

Brown rice with Mediterranean vegetables. Another easy dinner as I’m not sure what we are doing on the bank holiday.

Tuesday

Chick pea curry with basmati rice. This is so easy and simple. I am back to work on Tuesday after a week and a half and it will be a busy day.  This takes just minutes to make.

low fat meal plan

Wednesday

I thought I would try this salsa spaghetti with sardines from the BBC Good Food website. I am not sure it is super low fat, but it is full of healthy omega 3s. I will keep the spaghetti portions small and make a carrot salad to go with it.

Thursday

Just me at home on Thursday, so I will keep it simple and have a Spanish omelette with whatever vegetables we have lying around. I will use tinned potatoes in the omelette but won’t have any more carbs with it.

Friday

low fat meal planSalmon and vegetables. Frozen salmon from Aldi with lots of veg, stir-fried with soya sauce.

To supplement my low fat meal plan, I intend to make a big bucket of vegetable soup over the weekend, which we can have for lunch most days.

I am a devil for snacking in the evenings. This is where I gain weight. A bag of crisps, cheese and biscuits or a bar of chocolate whilst I am chilling on the sofa soon increases your waistline! I will be buying some low fat hummus to have with carrot sticks and some fat reduced cheese triangles to have on my rice cakes. I know they are processed rubbish, but they won’t kill me!

So this is my low fat meal plan. Anyone else trying to shed the pounds? Please share your ideas for easy, budget friendly low fat meals. I have another couple of ideas here.

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker and the Organised Life Project. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at their blogs. For more of my tips on meal planning, try this post.

 

Holiday meal plan

holiday meal planHow to plan your meals when you are on holiday? Do you even need a holiday meal plan?

We are going self-catered – a nice week in beautiful Norfolk, leaving my daughter and the lodger to take care of Shoestring Cottage and the cats. It’s difficult to properly plan meals as we will eat out sometimes and haven’t planned our activities each day.  We will also be joined in the week by my parents and one of my daughters. So the holiday meal plan is more a series of ideas….

However, because meal planning is such a great way to save time and money, I can’t let it go altogether. Here is what I have in mind for our holiday meal plan.

Our holiday meal plan

Breakfasts

We do know that we will need breakfast each day. So we shall pack milk, cereal, bread, butter, jam and honey. When we get there we will buy eggs too.

Packed lunches

Our cottage is only a couple of hours up the road so we won’t pack a picnic for the journey. However, we will take a flask and some snacks. I have bought a load of cereal bars and crisps from Aldi, plus some rolls. As I eat mainly gluten free these days but only like one brand of GF rolls (Genius) I shall be stocking up on these at Asda. They aren’t always easy to find! Cheese and ham will also be in the cool box, plus some pickle.

holiday meal plan

Basic dinner ingredients

We always take some basics so that we can have a meal without needing to hit the shops immediately. I will pack pasta, rice, some sauces, tinned tomatoes, salt, tuna, pepper and some herbs. Sausages and veggie sausages will be packed in the coolbox too for tea when we arrive, with some new potatoes and broccoli.  I also picked up a pack of soft tortillas in Aldi, so will do something with those one night.

We will do small shops as we go along, so that we don’t buy more than we need. I certainly don’t intend to be cooking complicated meals every night, but we enjoy buying local specialities when we are away. I can see Cromer crab on the menu!

Do you bother with a holiday meal plan when you are self-catering? What have you got on your plan for next week? If you need some inspiration, check out my Favourite Frugal Recipes.

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker and the Organised Life Project. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at their blogs. For more of my tips on meal planning, try this post.

 

Mainly vegetarian: this week’s meal plan

mainly vegetarianI am doing a minimal shop this week and intend to use up what we have. To this end, this week’s meal plan is mainly vegetarian.

Saturday

I picked up chilli and garlic rice dinner kit recently in Aldi, so thought I would give that a try tonight.  You are supposed to add peppers and chicken, but I am doing it with Quorn instead.

Sunday

Roast chicken for Mr S. I have some home made nut roast in the freezer that needs to be eaten. We will have roast potatoes and whatever veg I can find, plus Yorkshire puddings as there is a big bag of them in the freezer too.

We don’t often have anything much for dessert apart from yogurt or fruit, but we have rhubarb from the garden so I will be making a crumble.

Monday

mainly vegetarianCourgette and tomato eggy bake. We don’t have any of our own courgettes yet, of course, but they are cheap enough and Lidl always has big bags of nice tomatoes at a good price.  This is light and fairly easy to make on a Monday. We will have the leftovers for lunch on Tuesday.

Tuesday

Sausage and vegetable ragu. I have Quorn sausages in the freezer but I really don’t like them! They might taste OK in this kind of dish – I hope!

Wednesday and Thursday

Cheesy mushroom and lentil cottage pie. I have all the ingredients for this already, apart from the mushrooms. As it will just be me for dinner on Thursday, I will make enough for then as well.

Friday

Spaghetti cheese casserole. I love this! Even Mr S enjoys it, which is good, because he will be bemoaning the lack of meat at this point in the week! I might be able to find him a pork chop or something to go with it.

So, that is my mainly vegetarian meal plan for the week. I am making slightly more effort after last week’s ‘can’t be bothered’ plan! What are you cooking?

For more of my frugal recipes see here.

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker and the Organised Life Project. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at their blogs. For more of my tips on meal planning, try this post.

 

My ‘can’t be bothered’ meal plan

can't be botheredI know I am always going on about meal planning. Truly, if I don’t do a meal plan for the week, it all goes to pot. We end up eating omelettes and things on toast rather than perfectly good food that is sitting in the fridge or freezer.  But I can’t be bothered with cooking at the moment and it all seems a bit of a faff. Anyone else get that feeling?

However, my ‘can’t be bothered’ moments are exactly when meal planning is most helpful. If I spend 15 minutes making a meal plan and shopping list it actually saves me time. I can then spend more time doing the things that I can be bothered to do!

We have the bank holiday weekend coming up and the weather looks promising. We are likely to be out and about having fun, or working in the garden. I really don’t want to spend more time that I have to in the kitchen. Mr S is allergic to cooking so he can do the washing up!

This week’s ‘can’t be bothered’ meal plan

Friday:

Garlic mushroom Quorn steaks with vegetables (these were on offer a while back).

Saturday:

Spaghetti Bolognese and salad. I will have home made ratatouille as the veggie option. Mr S won’t mind if I use a jar of sauce for the Bolognese. Remember, it is my ‘can’t be bothered’ plan!

Sunday:

Pork chops/nut cutlet with more ratatouille. I will make a big panful to spread over two meals and save time. I bought the nut cutlets from Asda – they are really nice!

Monday:

Lamb chops (yellow stickered in Asda and frozen) and another nut cutlet for me, with roast potatoes and veg.

Tuesday:

Omelettes and salad/veg plus baked sweet potatoes. Work is likely to be busy after the bank holiday so opting for a super easy dinner.

Wednesday:

Chicken drumsticks with a Nando’s rub. I will have another garlic mushroom Quorn thingy. Whatever salad and veg needs using most.

Thursday:

We will be treating ourselves to a Toby carvery with my daughter to celebrate her new job. I hear they do a nice range of vegetarian and vegan options now.

So, there you have it. My ‘can’t be bothered’ meal plan. What are you cooking (or not) this week?

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker and the Organised Life Project. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at their blogs. For more of my tips on meal planning, try this post.

 

Meal planning and keeping it simple

As you know, I find that meal planning saves us so much time and money. Just 15 minutes spent doing meal planning is time well spent. Surely during the course of your busy week, you can spare this much?

It involves going through the cupboards, fridge and freezer to see what we already have and then having a quick look through our recipe books and online to see what can be produced. Then I write a shopping list. Simples!

Keeping it simple

meal planningI honestly don’t plan fussy and time consuming meals. Life is too busy to make a cordon bleu three course meal every night after work. Keep it simple and give yourself a break.

This week I have a foreign language student coming.  As well as being quick and easy to prepare, meals when I have a student tend to be fairly conservative and unadventurous. I have had enough teenagers in the house to know that they don’t like fancy food. Given the choice, most of them would be happiest eating burgers, pizza and pasta!

I am tired at the moment too. Maybe winter has just dragged on too long and I need some sunshine. I booked the day off work today. Instead of traffic, I had a nice deep bubble bath and an hour’s yoga to start my day. I feel better already!

So here is this week’s meal plan:

Friday:

Chicken drumsticks with baked sweet potatoes and salad. I have a huge sweet potato from last week’s shopping so will share that with darling daughter. It is only us for dinner tonight. I found the chicken drumsticks lurking in the freezer so they need using up. I will have a veggie burger, also from the freezer.

Saturday:

Chicken pasta bake. This should ease the student in fairly gently. There is a jar of sauce to use from Lidl and I always keep a ton of pasta. I will make two versions – a vegetarian gluten free one for me and the chicken one using standard pasta for everyone else. Mixed peppers from the freezer and cans of corn from the pantry will go in both versions.

Sunday:

Roast chicken thighs, roast potatoes, lots of vegetables, gravy and Yorkshire puds from the freezer. I will have sweet potato patties that I made a few weeks ago and froze.

Monday:

Beef burgers in buns (we have some nice brioche ones in the freezer), coleslaw and frozen corn on the cob. I will have another veggie burger from the freezer.

Tuesday:

Home made spaghetti Bolognese. I have Quorn so will make a batch for the freezer. The student will get a meaty version.

Wednesday:

Fish and home made chips, with peas. I have fish and peas in the freezer plus a big bag of spuds in the cupboard already.

Thursday:

Sausages and mash with gravy. Well, you have to, don’t you! I will have a veggie sausage or two.

Friday:

meal planningPizza and salad. I found two gluten free pizzas in the reduced section at Asda the other day so they are in the freezer. I wouldn’t pay full price for them though. They were reduced from £3 to £1.89 each. Even that’s expensive for a single pizza, but good for a gluten free one. I have a normal one for my student.

Puddings will be fruit, yogurt or ice cream for the student. I have some chocolate mini rolls in if the student or anyone else fancies one. I rarely bother with dessert – too bad for my waistline!

Meal planning linky

So this is my eight day meal plan. I won’t shop after work whilst the student is here as I need to be here to see her in from her classes. Luckily my daughter will be here for some of the week before she returns to university. Mr S is away with his mum, so he will miss all the fun!

I love having foreign students in the house. It is lovely to see their confidence growing and to learn about where they come from and all about their lives. This one is a 16 year old French girl. I hope she is nice and likes cats!

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker and the Organised Life Project. If you want more ideas on meal planning and saving money, take a look at their blogs. For more of my tips on meal planning, try  this post.

Meal Planning for any weather

If you live in the UK you are doubtless feeling perplexed by our current weather. On Friday we had the most perfect sunny, spring day. They birds were singing, the insects were buzzing and all the daffodils were up. The following day we had snow!! As I have said in a previous post, I find meal planning essential. But it is hard to know the type of food to cook when the weather is so erratic and unpredictable.

Meal planning when the weather is weird

Meal planning

Lola and Dora are not amused!

Do we go for warm, comforting soups and stews or is it time to make some salads to suit the longer, lighter days and (theoretically) milder weather? I have hedged my bets and done a bit of both.

I love a bit of meal planning. Using up as much what we have already saves time and money on shopping and encourages us to eat healthier meals. Meal planning also enables us to incorporate what is in season and what we may be growing in the garden (nothing yet except herbs!). Being organised stops those moments when you have a fridge full of food but no idea to do with it. That’s when the urge to get fish and chips and be done with it can hit your budget!

I have a whole post on meal planning here.

My meal planning efforts this week are focussed on things I can batch cook to save time and money. I have gone for:

Sweet potato and Quorn curry

Meal planning

Saturday night ‘fakeaway’!

I have a jar of tikka masala sauce and inexplicably about 4 packs of Quorn pieces. A couple of sweet potatoes and lots of other veg will transform this into a fine ‘fakeaway’. Some of this will go into the freezer to make a quick ready meal or two.

Coq au vin

There is half a bottle of red wine sitting around and some chicken pieces so I will make this for Mr S, whilst I have a veggie version. Yes, those Quorn pieces will make an appearance again!

Tuna olive penne with salad

This is a quick and easy dinner after work. I bought salad so we need to eat it. Mr S can have his with some of the garlic bread hanging around in the freezer. I will post this recipe later in the week as it is an old family favourite, cheap and healthy.

Omelettes, home made wedges and salad

Home made oven chips are so quick to do and so much more satisfying than the type you get out of the freezer. You can make the healthier with a little cooking spray. I like to add garlic oil to mine, or a sprinkle of paprika. There is a bag of spuds to eat this week, so these are a good way to use them up.

Spaghetti cheese casserole

Talking of family favourites, this spaghetti cheese casserole is another one. I have been making this for years. The addition of a little white wine in the cheesy, carroty sauce makes it very moreish.

A ping meal from the freezer

A home made one, though! Only me for tea, so I will have a bowl of hot veggie stew with some of my home made spelt bread and perhaps a sprinkling of grated cheese on top.

Steak and vegetables

I bought a cheap pack of 4 steaks a while back and there is one left in the freezer. Mr S will enjoy that for his dinner. I will be having a vegetable burger from Lidl. There vegetarian range is pretty decent and ideal after a hard working week. Sometimes you need a rest, not a fuss.

So these are my meal planning thoughts for the week ahead. Are you organised with your meals? I know that Ilona over at Life After Money eats around her yellow sticker bargains rather than rigidly meal planning. This is a great idea if it is just you and you have the time to hunt out the reductions. If I find any when I am out and about I build them in to my plan and change things around. I don’t think this approach would work if you have a family, though.

meal planning

This week I am linking up with Katy Kicker and Naomi from the Organised Life Project. Hop over to their sites to see what other meal planning inspiration you can find.

Have a great week and I hope you aren’t too cold or snow bound where you are.

Meal planning: the benefits to your wealth and health

I can’t believe that once upon a time I never thought about meal planning. However, once I had discovered just how much time and money it saves me, I never looked back.

Meal planning saves money

If you buy too much food on your grocery shop you can end up throwing some of it away. If you buy too little, you are likely to find yourself making extra trips to the shops. You might then be tempted by more items than you actually need while you are there. The times I have done this and come out with an armful of chocolate or crisps….no will power!

Meal planning helps you stick to your budget. If you have your whole week’s food planned (or even your whole month’s food for those of you who don’t mind deciding that far ahead) you are far less likely to give into fast food, a takeaway or convenience food on your way home from school or work.

meal planningNot that I am against convenience food per se. I work full time and will happily cut corners when I need to. I frequently stock up on items such as Bolognese or casserole sauces from Approved Food for those occasions when I have less time to cook. Then I make sure they get used by factoring them into my meal planning. (DISCLOSURE: this is my refer a friend link and if you click through to make a purchase I will earn a small commission.)

Meal planning saves time

If you buy all the food you and your family are going to need in one go that will clearly save time. You can do a weekly shop and cut out all the extra trips because you have run out of cheese, fruit or whatever.

You won’t be scratching your head when it comes to dinner time, trying to work out what to cook with some eggs and half a wilted cabbage.  Your shopping list will be based on your plan and you will have all the ingredients you need for that day’s planned meals.

You can factor in events that mean you need to produce a meal quickly. You are working late, need to cart children to swimming lessons, have a parents evening, are off to the cinema, etc.

Meal planning helps prevent food waste

I hate wasting good food. You might as well be throwing your hard earned cash in the bin, as explained in this post. Meal planning means that you only buy what you will eat during the course of the week. You are therefore less likely to let perishables spoil. When you check your cupboards to start your meal plan you can see what you have and use it up. You will avoid buying duplicates too.

Meal planning encourages healthy eating

When I was trying to lose weight, meal planning was essential. I was on a low fat diet and counting calories at the time. Having all of the ingredients needed for each meal really helped me to stick with my eating plan.

However, you don’t need to be on a diet to find meal planning beneficial to your health. You can plan your nutritious meals for the week and be much less likely to splurge on fast food and take-aways. You can factor in some treats too.  I actually think this is essential in order to stick to your plan and also your budget.

I always buy a bottle of wine, maybe a few crisps or nuts, some dark chocolate or maybe some of Aldi’s delicious but still healthy paleo bars. We also enjoy lots of fruit, rye crackers with cheese plus the odd biscuit to snack on. We are realistic! If I don’t buy a few treats we are much more likely to nip off to the corner shop and have a splurge! I do try to keep them pretty healthy though.

Where to start with meal planning

Begin by finding somewhere to write your plan. A chalk board or plain old piece of paper will do the job. Alternatively, you can download mine by clicking on the link below.

Weekly Meal Planner

meal planning

Next check to see what you already have and which items have the shortest dates. Plan those into the meals you are going to make early in the week. Make sure you look in your fridge, freezer and cupboards.

I keep a folder of meals that I have found in magazines or printed off the internet for inspiration. I have also started to save some interesting looking recipes on Pinterest.  It is a good idea to keep a list of meals that you and your family enjoy to refer to when meal planning.

Think about the week ahead. What are you going to be doing each day? Are you out in the evening? When do you need something quick and convenient and when will you have more time? I tend to plan our evening meals but have just a rough idea for lunches. I keep a stock of items in for those – eggs, rolls, canned sardines and tuna, home made soups in the freezer, etc. You might prefer to be less fluid. I don’t bother planning for breakfast as it is nearly always porridge or toast.

Once you have planned your meals, you can write your shopping list.

So, these are the benefits of meal planning. It saves you time and  money, prevents food waste and helps you to eat healthily. What are your tips for planning your meals?

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