Tuesday, 16 November 2010

So how’s the menu plan going?

 Well, it is helping me to consider what we have in and reminding me to use up what I’ve already got before buying more.

Don't get me wrong, it’s not that I wasted food before, I hate wasting food, it’s just that the amount in store in the cupboards and freezer would steadily increase and I would still be thinking I needed to buy more.

This has improved so much, I now have space in the cupboards and the freezer is no longer over stuffed. I am using my stocks up and only purchasing things that I need. (Well and one or two whoopsied bargains to pop in the freezer!)

It’s not that I am inexperienced in frugal meal planning, when my daughters were young my circumstances were such that living frugally was an absolute necessity so much so that when I became a one parent family and had to temporarily live on benefits I felt positively rich and was able to save money. I think this is part of the problem, in that having to really live hand to mouth so to speak, I like the comfort of having food squirreled away.

You may remember that last week I started calling it my menu guide, rather than thinking of it as a rigid plan – well that seems to work best for me. I didn’t stick exactly to the guide, but I did stick to it loosely and did use up things that were already in stock rather than calling at the supermarket every day on my way home from work and buying something new for tea.

Anyhoo my guide for this week:
Monday Lunches – Just needed these for Dave and myself – Dave took beef and horseradish sarnies using up the beef left over from Sunday dinner and I took a portion of HM scotch broth from the freezer.
Evening meal - Used up some salmon burgers that were long time lurkers in the freezer and had Salmon burgers in buns with lettuce and seafood sauce, chips and peas.

Tuesday Lunches  - me & Ellie -  HM Roast Pumpkin, Garlic and Chilli Soup (recipe below). Dave – Bacon & Egg Sandwiches.
Evening meal – Just Dave and me tonight so decided to try the new Italian restaurant that has opened in the next village and is offering a Happy Hour special.

WednesdayLunch – Just Dave & me – Roast Vegetable Wraps.
Evening Meal - Braised Lamb Shanks (didn’t end up using these last week) with Mashed Potatoes ( Plain boiled for me because I think mash is the food of the devil!),  Steamed Cabbage and Carrots.

Thursday Lunch – Ellie & me – Lentil Dahl & a Chapati. Dave – Cheese and Onion Sandwiches.
Evening meal - Nachos Grande  - Tortilla corn Chips smothered in Chilli & Cheese served with HM Salsa, HM Guacamole and Sour Cream.

Friday –  Lunch – Just me and Ellie so planned leftover chilli etc from previous night. 
Evening meal - Rump Steak, Saute Potatoes, Garlic Mushrooms, Onion Rings & Coleslaw.

SaturdayLunch – Out
Evening Meal – Pasta Alamatricana, Grated Cheese & Garlic Bread.

Sunday - Brunch - Bacon, Sausage, Egg & Tomatoes with Toast.
Evening Meal - Roast Chicken, Mash, Roast Potatoes, Carrots, Cabbage, Broccoli, Yorkshire Puds, Gravy.

Roast Pumpkin, Garlic and Chilli Soup
1 Small Pumpkin
1 Medium Onion
3 Cloves of Garlic (unpeeled)
1 Fresh Chilli
Glug of Olive Oil
2 tsp Marigold Stock Powder

Cut the pumpkin into quarters, no need to peel.Peel and quarter the onion. Put them both into a roasting tin. Throw in the unpeeled cloves of garlic and use scissors to snip the chilli into bits over the top of the pumpkin. Drizzle it all with olive oil and roast till the pumpkin is tender. Allow to cool enough so that you can handle things comfortably then scoop the pumpkin flesh off the skin into a saucepan. Squeeze the garlic out of it's skin into the saucepan with the pumpkin and add the onions and any stray bits of chilli. Add the two teaspoons of stock powder and cover the whole lot with just boiled water. Use a stick blender to blitz, check that the soup is not too thick if it is add a little more water- and add any salt/pepper to taste.


  1. I think most people do the same thing - look at cupboards and freezers bursting with food and think "there's NOTHING to eat in here!" I really must have a freezer themed week at some point soon. God only knows what's lurking in the back of it!

  2. Eating out twice in one week??? made of money? if you are, then good for you, if you're not, then can you afford it?

    1. Only actually eating out the once - the second lunch that is labelled "out" is at a relatives home where they are providing the lunch. xxx

  3. Gosh, don't you have some lovely meals? That soup recipe sounds wonderful. xxx

  4. Well done, sounds like your meal guide is working for you! You cook lots of interesting meals. I finally took the forzen apple out of the freezer (cooked previously!) to make apple crumble (been meaning to take it out for a month! :) x

  5. Can I come live with you?
    I need to follow your example and make a plan of some sort, mine fell by the wayside back in the Spring. I hate it when my cupboards are stuffed and there is 'nothing in'.
    Kandi x

  6. Hello there
    glad to find your blog as you're my first 'bloggy neighbour'. I share your concerns of overstuffed store cupboards with nothing-for-tea scenario. That definitely comes from hard times and hard experiences. Funnily enough from when I lived up weardale! I'm using my upcoming house move as a fresh start and aim to plan more, waste less in future.
    pamela x
    p.s. Boyes - my fave shop;)

  7. Hi, I've just found your blog and as a fellow planner have enjoyed reading all of your meal plans

    Aurora x

  8. Not the right place to post this comment, I know - sorry!

    I found your recipe for Banoffee Curd on another site and followed the link here. I made some yesterday using your recipe (plus a little lemon juice to keep the banana pale) and we loved it. I am planning to add a post on my own blog in the next few days and would like to credit you, but would prefer not to link and send traffic to the site where you posted. I wonder if you would consider reposting the recipe on this site and I will then add a link here instead! It certainly is a recipe worth sharing with others.

    I quite understand that you probably will delete this comment as it is out of place, but I did not know quite where else to contact you. (I lived in Durham for a while, by the way and know Weardale a little - a wild and beautiful place!)

    Thanks for the recipe!
    'Meanderings through my Cookbook'


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