Monday, 22 March 2010

meal planning, not life planning

In a bid to further hack away at our monthly expenditure, I have spent the last few months avidly borrowing recipe books from the local library and trying things out on the kids and spouse. I have been learning the art of MEAL PLANNING (for which, this book has been enormously useful). Yes, at the start of every month I look at the accounts, I look at the cupboards and the freezer, and sit down armed with recipe books to plan those meals. My method is to cook BIG 3 times a week, this leaving me with 3 portions to freeze and use as lunches or teas for me and the kids the following week or week after. The Sunday (or Saturday) roast or "big dish" provides the ingrediants for one or two dinners that week. This is a method that the fabulous Marguerite Patten (right) advocates in her book "How to cook", which despite its' age is a grat guide to eating in season and with thrift, although I have not attempted any of the older offal recipes involving brains and tripe, I have memories of my great grandmother trying to persuade me of tripe boiled in milks delicacy which have quite put me off.

There are no sweets, no extras, and all the veg comes from the old bloke down the road who has a huge veg growing back garden. Lately, in the "hungry gap", this has meant a lot of potato, leek, turnip and Urrgh swede. I have started using nowt but bicarb and essential oils to clean, and this has also helped cut costs without affecting the cleanliness of the house at all. In fact, i Think it's cleaner, and it smells less chemical. Once daughter is potty trained, I can shave more pennies off.

This weeks shop came to £45.00, which was pretty good, I thought. Here is the menu. Playgroup days I make a packed lunch of sandwiches, hummus, veg sticks and cake. This weeks cake is one-stop-apple-cake, i'll pop the recipe on at some point.

Mon: (playgroup day lunch), Leftover fish pie and veg for tea
Tues: Cheese and ham puff pastry bakes with salad for lunch, Pork fried rice and veg for tea, spiced up extra for spouse and I.
Weds: (playgroup lunch), spaghetti, spinach and squash bake (from the annoying Tana Ramsey, but a good recipe despite the godawful photos of her prancing with an apron on that make me want to slap her)
Thurs: Minestrone soup for lunch (last weeks leftovers), venison sausages, mash and caramelized onion gravy with greens for tea. Friday: (playgroup lunch) and Chicken Maryland for tea, this Jamie Oliver recipe. (left)
Saturday: Spanish Omelettes for lunch and homemade Cornish Pasties and veg for tea.
Sunday: Roast Chicken, roast veg and Eton Mess for Sunday Lunch and beans on cheesy toast for tea! (my fave, really.)I will get a chicken and leek pie out of the chicken, plus soup stock and spousal sandwiches for lunch.

All this tightness will save me money. Except that it won't, as having saved some, I will spend it on this lovely Janome, thus breaking my vow not to buy new stuff this year. But sewing machines are exempt, in a clause I just made up. So, food is organised, life is not. Childrens' illnesses continue unabated, with one wheezing and one sneezing. I need to fence the garden, sort out raised beds (i'm freecycling for building materials), plant seeds, clean all the garden toys, patch the paddling pool, and become a Lib-Dem councillor to stop them building 1,000 houses on the field at the end of my garden, but that's another blog.


sharie said...

LOL, just found your blog and you have a great sense of humour!! Love it!

Fenwitters said...

thanks Sharie, I've only just started so to know someone bothered to read it is nice! I popped over to you too, always nice to see a fellow thrifter.