I’m the sort of person that likes writing lists, all sorts of lists ranging from meal plans, food shopping, future dreams, to do lists, wish lists, monthly spending allowance and more! My handbag is stuffed full of scraps of paper and every book I’ve read has some kind of list lost in it which was once also used as a book mark!
I recently bought myself a diary for the sole purpose of writing down things I needed, weekly meal plans etc as I felt like my habit may be destroying a rain forest somewhere and also it would be handy to have it all down in one place. I love it and take it everywhere with me! I always plan meals a week in advance as I find it the cheapest way to do my food shopping, I love flicking through my diary to see what we’ll be eating for the week and reminding myself to put some beans in to soak overnight if needed etc.
I was talking to a friend this week who is the opposite of this and will buy food as and when he needs it and picks up a lot of “ready to go” food. He said that when he tried to eat healthier and be more organised it was much more expensive and so he gave up. This is a common thing for people to believe that healthy eating is more expensive but it really doesn’t have to be! You don’t have to buy organic whole foods, flax seeds, coconut oil etc if you are wanting to make a change to your diet. Start by planning your week well, cooking in bulk and buying fresh ingredients!
I thought I would share a typical weeks dinner menu with you and show you some little things I now do to make the week cheaper but still really healthy! I don’t make anything extravagant so hopefully this will help those who don’t cook too often as well as the more seasoned home cooks.
Monday – Wholemeal Superfood Pizza (a future Meat Free Monday post)
One thing about writing a food blog is that you do alot more cooking than you used to so I make sure I incorporate veghotpot recipes into weekly dinners rather than it being extra cooking. I made the pizza base from scratch on the sunday before and put it in the fridge ready for this dinner. I made a double quantity and froze half just for convenience next time I want a pizza rather than to save money. I used vegetables like spinach and asparagus for the topping and any left over were put back in the fridge ready to be used for another meal.
Tuesday – Homemade Soup and left over pizza
I had 2 slices of pizza left over so I ate those with a bowl of home made lentil and cauliflower soup (the recipe I posted this week). I made a big batch of soup (6 portions) and put it in the freezer for lunches to take to the office, every evening I take a portion out and by lunch its defrosted and ready to heat up. The soup used up the left over spinach from the pizza recipe so nothing wasted there! I now have some carrots and celery left over to use but often these will last for the next weeks soup or can be a good side dish! I just want to point out too that I only bought the two tomatoes needed for the soup as I knew I wouldn’t be using them for another recipe.
Wednesday – Moussaka, Sweet Potato Mash and Asparagus
Atleast once a week I try and make something which will produce leftovers for another night so I made a large moussaka that night and put the remaining 4 portions in the freezer, I bought a large sweet potato and only used half for the mash- by planning to have a meal which will also use sweet potato in the same week nothing will go to waste and it wasn’t expensive to buy one potato. I also served it with the left over asparagus.
Thursday – Lentil “Meatball’s” and Rice with Roasted Carrots
A possible future recipe for the blog (after tweaking) inspired by a recipe for lentil patties that I used to make. I’m going to use the left over carrots (from the soup) as a side dish by slicing them in half, spraying with oil and a sprinkle of dried herbs then roasting them. I always have lentils and rice in the cupboard and I had left over Parsley from my soup recipe which needed using. I also never buy breadcrumbs, we always have a loaf of bread in the fridge so whenever I need any I just toast a slice of bread and pop it into a blender! I did buy some beef mince so Scott could have meatballs and I divided the mince into 4 portions – he’ll be living off meatballs now untill I buy more meat for him
Friday – Moussaka, Sweet potato mash and peas
This is now a very easy meal as all I need to do is heat up the moussaka in the oven, mash the sweet potato and cook the peas. Scott didn’t like the moussaka so he will have beef meatballs with sweet potato mash and peas! Perfect for a Friday night with a beer!
Saturday – Leftover Lentil “Meatballs” for lunch in a Pitta. Takeaway or a meal out for dinner
We don’t have takeaway every week but most of the time we are either out on a Saturday night or we’ve been out all day so this is my day of lazy food! We usually share the Dinner Special that our local Indian does – £10 in total for a main course which will be Chicken Tikka Massala for Scott, Side dish which is usually a lentil dhal and I have that as a main course, then a rice dish and a naan to share! I think they expect most people to buy that per person but I find the side dish portion perfect for me!
Sunday – Friday Challenge day! (Also the day I do the food shopping)
I usually cook a few things on a sunday including whatever I need to make for this month’s Friday challenge! We have this as a late lunch (to catch the natural light for photos) then dinner will be a portion of soup or something snacky! Before doing my food shop I will look at what is left in the fridge and freezer then decide on meals from there – for example I can have another Moussaka meal next week with a different side dish so that’s one day sorted already! Also if I have all the lentil ingredients in the fridge I’ll make them again changing anything that I didn’t like ready to post it for you all, again this is good for using up leftovers.
Do you do a weekly food shop or do you find it hard to plan ahead?