Sunday, 20 January 2008

Menu Plan 2008

It's been a long time since I last posted on this blog, but January is the time of year when my thoughts turn to menu planning and food ... nice warm, comfort food.

Since my last menu plan things have become a little more complicated as Star (aged 9) has decided to become vegetarian, though she is still eating fish. (Yes, I know that is not technically vegetarian, but at least it means less family meals she can't eat!). Tevye does not eat cheese, which the rest of us love, so that requires more adjustments.

I read Jenn's post on homemaking earlier in the week, and liked the way she simply allocated a theme to each day (chicken, fish, beans and so on). I have done the same, but then broadened it into a four week rotation with specific recipes. I want to keep it flexible though, as I'm trying hard to cut my expenditure on food and work to a strict budget. If I find bargains I want to be able to work them into my plan; and I also need to be able to adjust according to the contents of my organic vegetable box. I am usually doing grocery shopping on a Saturday, so each weekend I can tweak the next week's plan to factor in any budget-driven purchases.

These are my daily themes ...
  • Sunday - roast (chicken, beef or lamb)
  • Monday - crockpot
  • Tuesday - pasta
  • Wednesday - winter warmers
  • Thursday - vegetarian
  • Friday - quick'n'easy / leftovers
  • Saturday - fish
On Fridays Little Cherub and I usually go out for lunch with my mother and Angel likes to eat early before her ballet class, so something quick and simple for the girls and leftovers for Tevye works well.

This is the dinner rotation I am starting with, though I have a couple of gaps still to fill. Vegetarian alternatives for Star are in green; cheese free alternatives for Tevye are in red, mostly leftovers of the previous day's meal - if he likes something, he is always happy to have it two days running. Accompanying vegetables will mainly depend on what is in the veg box.

  • Week 1 - Roast chicken (vegetarian sausages)
  • Week 2 - Roast beef (cauliflower cheese bakes)
  • Week 3 - Roast chicken (vegetarian sausages)
  • Week 4 - Roast lamb (beanburgers)
  • Week 1 - Shipwreck stew (Quorn minced beef pie)
  • Week 2 - BBQ chicken (Quorn chicken-style burger)
  • Week 3 - Chicken with mushrooms and pearl barley (??)
  • Week 4 - Beef with mushrooms and potatoes (Vegetable lasagne)
  • Week 1 - Macaroni cheese (leftovers)
  • Week 2 - Spaghetti bolognese (Beanfeast or soya mince)
  • Week 3 - ??
  • Week 4 - Pasta with tuna and sweetcorn
  • Week 1 - Lamb hotpot or stew (??)
  • Week 2 - Chicken pie (vegetable pie)
  • Week 3 - Cottage pie (replace beef with Quorn or soya mince)
  • Week 4 - Baked potatoes and chilli (Beanfeast with chilli beans)
  • Week 1 - Savoury bean pot
  • Week 2 - Shepherdess pie
  • Week 3 - Bean hotpot with dumplings
  • Week 4 - Cauliflower cheese and baked potato (leftover chilli)
  • Week 1 - Pizza (leftovers)
  • Week 2 - Cheese and spinach tortellini (leftovers)
  • Week 3 - Eggy bread and baked beans
  • Week 4 - Pasta with creamy pesto
  • Week 1 - Fish and chips (takeaway)
  • Week 2 - Salmon
  • Week 3 - Kippers / smoked mackerel
  • Week 4 - Fish fingers and oven chips
On weekdays I need to pack lunches for the older girls and Tevye. Angel has a packed lunch everyday; Star has one on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (she has a cooked lunch on Wednesday and Friday); Tevye needs one on Monday, Wednesday and Friday when he goes to the office. That means three lunches to prepare for Monday, and two every other day. What goes in them tends to vary according to where I shop and - again - what is on special offer at the time. I think maybe I should start making up lunch for myself and Little Cherub at the same time to save effort the next day. On Saturdays lunch is generally soup, burgers or omelette.