Tag Archives: meal planning

Meal Planning Monday: Shaking off the January Blues

It’s the end of January and I’m shattered. If it were just me, I’d happily exist on a diet of things on toast; but the boys need a proper meal on the table and I need to eat a bit better too. January is about as down in the doldrums as it gets. There’s not a great deal of seasonal veg about and the dark evenings lend themselves to stodgy comfort food dishes. We love a hearty stew as much as the next family, but we’re all starting to crave slightly lighter meals.

I don’t write a meal plan every week, because I don’t do a shop every week. I do a big online shop about every 2-3 weeks and plan 12 meals or so for the next fortnight. The meals are not fixed to specific days, I just cook what I fancy depending on what needs using up and how much time I have to cook. I’ll make quick meals like pasta on days when dinner time needs a speedy turnaround. We almost always eat at the table and I like to cook a nice family dinner a few times a week so we can sit, chat and take our time over it all.

My big shop will arrive on Monday evening and I’m more excited than I should be that my empty fridge will be full again. I’ve spent a smidge over £100 on my shop and it should be enough for 12 meals. I’m blogging a weekly recipe post (each Friday, keep an eye out as some of them are really, really lovely). In my shop this week I’ve also bought baking things for six new and original recipe blog posts. I’d say 12 meals and six bakes for around £100 makes me a slightly smug but very frugal shopper!

This coming week feels like a bit of a lazy one for me. Most of what I’ve planned are meals which are quick to prep and cook; or things I can throw in a slow cooker and forget about.

Meal Planning Monday: Shaking off the January Blues

Saturday night is Dad cooks night and he’s promised us his signature dish – the Full English (sausages, beans, egg, tomatoes, mushrooms and toast). It might not be the healthiest meal, but he does make an effort to cook things without fat and loads up our plates with the healthier veg.

I think veg is going to be a real focus for me over the next few weeks. Whatever meal I’m serving, I’ll make sure there’s a big pile of fresh veg to go with it. I’m really craving a fresh, zingy salad with lots of herbs too. I’m so done with boiled carrots right now.

If you’re looking for meal planning inspiration, check out my 55 family meals your kids will actually eat!
Hijacked By Twins

Meal Planning Monday: New Year, New Menu?

Christmas Day 2017 was a really lovely day. We all got nice presents and we all had a really good Christmas dinner. I’d cooked enough so there would be leftovers aplenty for the next few lazy days and I was feeling quite content with myself. Then I got flu and spent the next 10 days in bed. I’m still a bit wobbly and woozy; but worse still, my fridge is festering with the Christmas leftovers we didn’t get to eat. My job later this morning is to clear out the fridge and prepare it to be filled with normal food once again.

Tomorrow morning our first food shop of the year will be delivered and I can’t wait. I feel like I’ve had too long away from the kitchen and I’m ready to start cooking nice things for my family again. Admittedly I’m still not feeling 100%, so what I do cook will hopefully be a balance between really quick and easy and something tasty but full of good healthy stuff to build us all up again.

Here’s what is on our menu this week…

Meal Planning Monday: New Year, New Menu?

I’m so excited about getting back in the kitchen, I dread to think what the boys have been feeding themselves on while I’ve been in my sick-bed.

I’m a big fan of meal planning, having a menu can save me so much time and money. There’s something really comforting about knowing what our evening meals will be for the week and that I’ve done all the shopping I need to do to prepare those meals. If I’m thinking ahead I’ll try to make extra to eat another day, or for lunch the next day or maybe even freeze for a rainy day in the future.

One thing I have done which has really helped me is to create a list of 55 family meals my family will always eat. If you’re meal planning and you need some inspiration, it’s definitely worth having a look through my list. Each time I sit down to meal plan my list is always close to hand.

What’s on your menu this week?

55 ideas for family meals your kids will actually eat

If you’re looking to save money and eat well for less, the key really is meal planning. Sitting down each week, planning a menu of tasty family meals and only buying what you need can save your family an awful lot of time and money. I try where I can to meal plan, setting out a fortnightly menu and then doing a big online shop for everything I need. This saves me so much time and money, plus knowing what I’m cooking on whichever night takes the thinking out of it.

It’s easy for me to say the meal planning is the key to success, but I can guarantee that when I sit down with my blank piece of paper to plan out the next 14 family meals, I cannot think of one single family meal. Over the last few months I’ve been putting together a list of the meals I’ve made, so when meal planning day arrives I just have a quick look through my list for inspiration and then get down to work.

Family meals: Rich and Creamy Fennel & Potato Gratin

If you’re stuck for ideas for family meals your family will actually eat, below you will find a list of 55 family meals that we cook on a fairly regular basis, where there is a recipe for that dish on my blog I have included a link to it.

55 ideas for family meals your family will actually eat

Baked butternut squash
Baked fish and vegetables
Battered or breaded fish and chips
Beef or mushroom stroganoff
Beef stew
Burgers
Cauliflower cheese
Chicken casserole served with potato gratin
Chicken Kievs
Chilli con carne
Cottage pie
Curry and rice
Dahl
Egg and chips
Fajitas
Fish pie
Fish wraps
Fishcakes
Fishfingers chips and beans
Full English
Galette (a bit like a pie)
Gnocchi
Homemade Chicken nuggets or goujons
Homemade soup
Hot dogs or these pizza hot dogs
Imam Bayildi (Baked aubergines)
Jacket potatoes
Jacket sweet potatoes with sour cream and spring onions
Jamie Oliver’s Butternut Squash Penne Pasta
Lancashire Hotpot
Lasagne
Lentil cottage pie
Macaroni cheese
Macaroni peas
Omelette
Pasta bake
Pesto pasta
Pie and mash
Pizza – shop bought or homemade
Quiche
Risotto
Roast dinner
Sausages and mash
Sausage casserole
Sausage ragu
Shepherds pie
Spaghetti and meatballs
Spaghetti Bolognese
Spanish style sausages in bravas sauce
Spinach and ricotta cannelloni
Stir fry
Sweet and sour pork or chicken
Thai style curry
Toad in the Hole
Tuna and Sweetcorn Pasta Bake

55 family meal suggestions – that’s not a bad place to start from is it? I hope you’ve found some inspiration. I’ll be adding to this list as time goes on, so expect it to grow and grow.

What are your favourite family meals? Have I missed anything essential off my list?

55 ideas for family meals your family will actually eat

Meal Planning Monday – Costly Convenience Foods

This week, despite being organised and strict with my spending, I’ve still ordered over £100 worth of food for us. Our house is currently the house of the plague, so I’ve planned a few convenience food meals to make mealtimes a bit easier this week. That’s almost certainly helped bump up the cost of mealtimes.

When I sit down and plan our meals for the next week or so, I also write a shopping list. This makes me feel really organised. When I shop online I tend to use MySupermarket because I feel like to helps me to shop in a more pocket friendly way. If I need tinned tomatoes and I’m not fussed about the brand; then I can easily find the cheapest or what’s on offer. I feel like a super savvy shopper when I do this.

You’d think with me being very careful about what I buy it would mean I had a fairly modest shopping bill. Not so, somehow I’ve just spent £100 on about 9 days worth of food for three people; not including the dog. Admittedly this week I’ve bought more convenience foods than normal, because I’ve got a chest infection and I’m feeling quite poorly. I don’t have the energy or inclination to stand in the kitchen cooking from scratch every night.

Despite this, I think I’ve put together a fairly wholesome menu for the next seven days. What do you think?

Meal Planning Monday - Costly Convenience Foods

Admittedly I’ve bought in the kofta, meatballs, pie and burgers, but the rest will be cooked from scratch. I’ve tried to offset some of the convenience aspect by adding healthier sides and not beating myself up about it.

I’m veggie and I know I need to eat to get well but my appetite isn’t great at the moment. Where the boys are eating meat I’ve planned a veggie substitute. I’ve treated myself to a Linda McCartney pie for on Friday and I’ll have chopped up Quorn sausage instead of meatballs. Incidentally the Quorn meatballs are the best in the business, but sadly not yet available from Morrisons.

So that’s our menu for the week. It’s not exactly adventurous, but it should be fairly easy to prepare and keep us going until we’re all at the other side of the various bugs we’ve got.

What do you think of our menu?

Meal Planning Monday: What’s in my shopping trolley?

I’ve started doing Meal Planning Monday again. Partly because it’s quite interesting for me to look back and see what we’ve eaten. Partly because I’m really busy (and skint) and need to feel a bit organised when it comes to feeding my family. This week I’m also sharing the contents of my shopping trolley and asking for your thoughts.

Although I do like to cook from scratch almost all of the time, I sometimes reach for convenience when I’m in a hurry. This week is half term and I’ve got a million things to do before I even think about cooking dinner, so I’ve reached for a packet of frozen chicken kievs and some breaded plaice. I’ll also be pulling some of the beef stew I batch cooked a few weeks ago out of the freezer. I’m not going to even start beating myself up about it, because life is too short.

Here’s what we’ll be eating this week…

Meal Planning Monday: What's in my shopping trolley?

On Saturday night (because I am such a party animal) I sat and did an online shop from Morrisons. I’m not able to drive and I can’t carry heavy bags home from the shops, so once or twice a month I like to do a big-ish shop and stock up.

I thought you might like to have a look at the shopping I ordered on Saturday night. The grand total of £118.59 not including delivery for my bumper shopping trolley. This is quite a big shop for us, I’ve bought lots of extra snacky things because it’s half term and I have a hungry mouth to feed during the day. I’ve also been running my pantry down a little and it needed topping up.

There’s not a huge amount of meat in my shopping trolley, purely because I went to the butchers on Saturday and bought meat to put in the freezer. I also bought quite a lot of nice looking veg from the grocer and I didn’t need much more than I had.

So that’s it. What do you think of my shopping trolley? I’d really love to know your thoughts.

What’s in my shopping trolley?

Cupboard
1 Morrisons Sliced Fruited Teacakes £0.80
1 New York Bagel Co. Cinnamon & Raisin £1.60
1 Blue Dragon Dark Soy Sauce £1.00
2 Branston Baked Beans (pack of four) £3.30
1 Dr Oetker Vanilla Extract £3.00
1. Green Giant Baby Cobs Sweetcorn (410g) £1.40
1 Hartley’s Lime Jelly £0.55
1. Heinz Squeezy Tomato Ketchup £2.16
1 John West Tuna Chunks in Spring Water (4x160g) £3.50
3 Morrisons Corned Beef £5.76
1 Morrisons Golden Breadcrumbs £0.74
1 Morrisons Green Pesto £1.00
2 Morrisons Macaroni £1.10
1 Morrisons Penne £1.00
2 Morrisons Pineapple Slices In Juice (425g) £1.50
1 Morrisons Prawn Crackers £1.00
1 Morrisons Red Pesto £1.00
4 Morrisons Sardines In Sunflower Oil (120g) £1.80
1 M savers Chocolate Hazelnut Spread £0.80
1 M savers Honey £1.00
2 M savers Mushy Peas £0.50
1 Nestle Carnation Cook With Condensed Milk £1.27
1. Snack a Jacks Caramel Flavour Jumbo Rice Cakes £1.00
1 Cadbury Fairtrade Drinking Chocolate £2.00
8 Diet Coke, Delivered Chilled £10.00
4 M savers No Added Sugar Orange Squash £1.32
1 Dr. Beckmann Glowhite Intensive Whitener Powder £1.47
1 Aquafresh Big Teeth 6+ Years Soft Toothbrush £1.00
2 Colgate Triple Action Toothpaste £2.00
2 Morrisons Cool Mint Mouthwash £1.00
1 Radox Feel Uplifted Shower Gel £1.50
1. Right Guard Xtreme Cool 2 in 1 Shower Gel £0.90
1 White Glo Coffee & Tea Drinkers Formula Toothpaste £3.87
1 Huggies Pure Baby Wipe Single £0.72
2 M savers Fragrance Free Baby Wipes £0.92
1 Morrisons Halloween Balloons £1.00
1 Morrisons Halloween Wicked Wig £5.00
2 Morrisons Dog Loaf Chicken Beef Lamb & Turkey £9.50

Fridge
2 Cheestrings Original £2.00
1 Morrisons Baby Corn £1.00
2 Morrisons Breaded Plaice Fillets £5.00
2 Morrisons British Salted Butter £2.90
1 Morrisons Broccoli £0.43
1. Morrisons Butternut Squash £0.76
1 Morrisons Cheese Singles 20 Slices £1.90
2 Morrisons Lake District Mature Cheddar £8.00
1 Morrisons Low Fat Smooth Strawberry Yogurt £1.00
1 Morrisons Mature Grated Cheddar £3.21
2 Morrisons Pumpkin 16 – 22cm £1.00
2 Morrisons Seedless Red Grapes £3.00
1 Morrisons Selected Pink Lady Apples £1.20
1 Morrisons Shortcrust Pastry Sheet £1.00
2 Morrisons Unsalted British Butter £2.90
1 M savers Low Fat Fruit Yogurt Multipack £0.33

Freezer
1 Morrisons Eat Smart Oven Chips £0.98
1. Morrisons Nacho Cheese Dippers £2.00
1 Quorn Frozen Mince £1.00

Meal Planning Monday w/c 16th October 2017

Although I meal plan every single week, I rarely blog about meal planning. I thought I’d share what we’re having for dinner this week at Casa HodgePodgeDays. Our evenings are busy; husband runs, the boy has after school things and homework. Plus I am often finishing off work or going out to things.

Dinner needs to be quick, easy, fairly well-balanced and tasty enough for us all to eat without complaint. It usually falls to me to prepare and serve dinner. I’m trying to persuade my husband to cook once a week for us. I’ve told him it doesn’t need to be fancy. It just needs to be tasty and not something I’ve had to think about or prepare.

To his (sort of) credit, he did go out and buy the ingredients for hot dogs for last Saturday night, he just never got round to actually cooking them, which I ended up doing. The dream would be to have someone do meal prep and delivery every night, but my fairy godmother hasn’t come up trumps with that yet.

Meal Planning Monday – What’s on our menu this week…

Meal Planning Monday w/c 16th October 2017

It’s all pretty simple fayre this week. It’s meals like beef stew or sweet and sour pork which can sit bubbling away gently in the slow cooker for the afternoon. Or quick to cook meals like spaghetti or risotto which I can have on the table in half an hour.

I am a hider of veg, so every meal will contain several vegetables finely chopped or grated into them. Pretty much anything which goes in the slow cooker ends up with a carrot or two finely grated into the sauce. Once it cooks the carrot disappears like magic. Vegetable magic!

I’m also a veggie, so where meat is mentioned, eg pork, then I portion off some sauce before the meat goes in and add a substitute; maybe tofu, paneer, quorn or just my favourite chunky veg. Sometimes we all eat the veggie alternative, quorn meatballs are brilliant and we have them a lot!

The menu is a little potato heavy. I’ll mix things up with sweet potato mash, or pile extra veg onto their plates and put fewer chips on there. What do you think of my menu?

Is meal planning something you would like to read more about on my blog? Let me know in the comments box if you think I should do this more often. Thanks for reading!

Meal Planning Monday w/c 10th February 2014

When my self-employed husband came home on Friday and announced he wouldn’t be able to pay himself for the next few weeks, I had horrible flashbacks of the time we didn’t have enough food or money to feed our son. But this time I was prepared.

I think we can ride out the next few weeks on the food I’ve been stockpiling in the freezer and pantry, yes we’ll need a few fresh items, but a few frugal weeks won’t do us any harm at all. We always meal plan, but this week I needed to be super organised. Challenge accepted.

What’s on our Meal Planning Monday Menu?

Monday – Homemade chorizo burgers, veg and couscous. I mixed up a mega-batch of these a few weeks ago and tucked some in the freezer for a rainy day, the couscous lives in the pantry. Sorted.

Tuesday – Pasta with homemade cheesy courgette sauce. Pantry and freezer to the rescue again.

Wednesday – Homemade pea and paneer curry with rice, just need to buy the paneer. Highlight of my week!

Thursday – Daddy’s homemade pizza and potato wedges. Yum.

Friday – Valentines Day tea, spaghetti vongole but without the vongole.

Saturday – Fajitias. Kit from the cupboard, quorn burgers sliced up with some veg, simple, tasty and fun.

Sunday – Whoopsie fishcakes, homemade potato wedges & peas.

Meal Planning Monday w/c 10th February 2014

We’ll manage, we always do. Just need to persuade the little lad that lentils can be fun. Wish me luck!

Meal Planning Monday w/c 2nd December 2013

I’ve long thought meal planning was the secret to making a little money go a bit further It also makes life infinitely easier for the person who stares puzzled into the fridge every evening trying to figure out what to feed the starving hordes. This week I’m taking part in Meal Planning Monday.

Our meal plans are slightly complicated by the fact I’m a vegetarian and the boys love meat, really love it. Often we’ll eat veggie food so we can eat the same thing as a family, but they quite often have meat which I really don’t mind cooking. Sometimes I just can’t be bothered, so they’ll have a lovely meat and two veg meal and I’ll have a bowl of cereal. I do like cereal.

We meal plan every week and have done for years, but here’s our Meal Planning Monday plan for the week…

Monday
Hodge has a work meeting quite late, so I’ll need to rustle up something which will happily sit and be re-heated when he gets in. I’m thinking (Nigel Slater’s) beef in beer stew, mash and kale from the garden.

Tuesday
It’s been ages since I made a risotto, so I’m fancying making an aubergine risotto. This is a huge favourite, so flavoursome and hearty, perfect for these cold winter nights.

Wednesday
I’m meeting a friend in town to have a mulled wine at the Christmas markets so the boys will have to fend for themselves. Tonight just screams spaghetti bolognaise. We batch cook things like this, so it’s just a case of grabbing a portion from the freezer and leaving them to it.

Thursday
Thursday is traditionally a busy day in the HPD house so I’ll likely assess what the leftovers situation is and we’ll take our pick from that. If that falls short, then we’ve always got eggs so it’ll be our old favourite scrambled eggs on toast or something along those lines.

Friday
Curry night! I’m going to knock up a quick and tasty pea and paneer curry. I serve it with fluffy boiled rice and toasted pita bread. Yum.

Saturday
We’re off out for dinner with some friends but young Splodge will still need feeding. Our quick & easy tea for him which is a guaranteed plate cleaner is pesto pasta, so that’s what he’ll have.

Sunday
We don’t often have a roast dinner; it’s not really worth it for just the three of us, but we picked up a cheap chicken from the whoopsie shelf a little while ago. It’s taking up valuable pre-Christmas freezer space. So we’ll be having a roast chicken dinner.

Meal Planning Monday w/c 2nd December 2013

So, that’s us for the week. It’s made me quite hungry writing it down properly and not on the back of an envelope for a change. What’re you having?