Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Menu Plan Week 1

What is with the formatting issues on here?! Massive paragraph breaks, random changes to different fonts... I have stared at the HTML page until my brain gave up and walked out, so it'll have to wait until DH can have a look at it. In the meantime, I'll just plough on!

I've just got back into meal planning in an attempt to try and get our household finances back under control and stop wasting so much food. As before, that means going to the Farmers' Market each Thursday with a set amount of cash and seeing what there is. I go to the stalls in order of priority so I don't run out of money before getting the important stuff, and vice versa only get certain luxury things if there's money left over at the end. Then I go home and plan a week's meals around what I've bought, write a shopping list for any extra supermarket things that are needed, and do a bit Tesco/Waitrose run on the Friday to get those things, again trying to stay within a certain budget. We have an overall budget for the week, and the plan is that even with extra things that might need to be got during the week (milk and bananas, mainly), we should stay within that. By Wednesday, we're usually down to just a couple of quid! 

That's the plan, anyway. There are weeks when lots of household things need replenishing (loo roll, cooking oil, laundry liquid, etc) and then it's very hard to stay within budget. This week I got back to doing the meal plan and the big shop, but a lot of the meals didn't actually get made, for a variety of reasons. Still, nice to get back into the habit. So here's the original plan, annotated to show what actually happened.

Friday: Corn-on-the-cob, aubergine and pine nut pasta (with courgettes and mushrooms and various other nice veggie things), strawberries and cream. All of this happened! It was seriously yummy. More on the rest of our Shabbat this week in a different post :-)

Saturday: Pumpkin and feta risotto with kale and asparagus (make extra for Monday). Didn't happen. We had sandwiches for lunch (fairly late) and ended up with so many that we couldn't face the thought of food in the evening.

Sunday: At my parents' house. Yup. 

Monday: Oven-baked risotto balls (arancini) with courgettes and asparagus. No again. I was teaching 6-7 and then suddenly realised that our local monthly Cue Club was on, so DH made fish fingers, chips and peas while I taught, and I bolted them as soon as I finished and raced out of the door. I spent most of the evening yawning but it was still nice to be out socialising for an hour without the small person.

Tuesday: Baked beetroot, halloumi, couscous fritters, salad, crème fraîche. No again!! I got back from tutoring at 6.30 with a pounding headache, which rapidly turned into a migraine. DH was out playing tennis but came home when he got my phone call and brought pizza and garlic bread from Waitrose. Needs must!

Wednesday: Tuna flan with salad. Again no, but this was more of an I've-run-out-of-ideas thing anyway. I did the menu for yesterday and it was thoroughly approved of by all. Even Daniel ate a bit of everything! The fritters were a bit overcooked and I thought they were too dense, but DH raved about them, so might just be me. I'll put more salt in next time to bring out the other flavours (lemon zest, pine nuts, ground almonds, fresh parsley, garlic, spring onions). 

With all the deviation from the plan I'd have expected to be over budget, but we just made it with about £3 to spare. Having said that, we were lucky not to have any big staple stuff to get this week. 

Market day again tomorrow. I've promised DH I'll make ghormeh sabzi (Iranian stew) on Friday night, so at least that's one meal sorted. His mum taught me how to make it years ago but I haven't made it for aaaages.  I might as well make the most of our chilled-out Fridays before uni starts and I'm back in the Chaplaincy for most of the day (at least for this term); like a lot of Iranian cuisine it assumes you're at home and able to keep an eye on a pan as it simmers for several hours - but so worth it! 


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