We’ve been meal planning for a year now. Before last year I used to just have an idea on what we’ll eat and shop for materials. I then would end up popping into the grocery store 2-3x a week and often times not using what I bought. While not expensive, they add up and in general just a waste. For example me buying a broccoli that was on sale or mushrooms that I thought I’d make for a dish but then end up not using the mushrooms because I didn’t have everything I need to make the dish.
So now, every week, with Google and Pinterest’s help, I’d spend an hour planning our week’s menu and another hour to shop. When I plan meals, I try to use an ingredient a couple times during the week. Coriander or cilantro is a good example. When you buy this it comes in a decent size bunch or packaging. So if there’s a Mexican dish that requires a bit of cilantro, I’d try to come up with another dish, i.e. curry, to add to that week’s menu. When I buy a whole chicken, I can do a couple of things with this whole chicken. I can cook it all and be done with it or I can split it into two: White and dark meat, and cook two dishes or also use the carcass to make broth. We try to also incorporate a lot of veg into our meals which then eliminates the need to use a whole lot of meat.
With meal planning not only have we been eating better, our food budget has averaged about £65 (depending on exchange rate, between $100-$110) per week. We try to do organic or sustainable and free range at least for meat if possible. For veg, I rummage through the sale bin first. If nothing there, I’ll just buy whatever that will fit the meal for that day IF the meal doesn’t already have veg in it. We don’t drink soda, smoke or eat a lot of junk food so my cart is mostly filled with grocery goods. We also make a lot of things from scratch and only when I know I’ll be pressed for time that I’ll buy pre-made sauces. On occasion I’d buy pizza and already made meals. The later is for backup when I didn’t get a chance to cook before M needs to go to gymnastics.
Here’s this week’s meal:
Bought some cheese for this and used the below to make the sauce. Made this last night and it was YUM!
Tuesday: Soto Lamongan (an Indonesian chicken soup dish) Lemon grass and kaffir lime needed here
Wednesday: Thai green Curry
Lemon grass and kaffir lime needed here also. I have my own recipe for this but I can’t think of it on top of my head. BUT, it’s more less like this one below except I add two stalks of lemon grass and 3 kaffir lime leaves to the curry.
Thursday: Shrimp and Quinoa And the rest of the cheese will be used in this dish also
Friday: Vietnamese Slow Coocker Chicken
Beef Bourgignon This dish needs wine, and the rest will be consumed by me ;) I do have the Julia Child’s cookbook to do this recipe but if you don’t, here’s is one posted online
Sunday: Pork Chops (was going to be roast but the meat was expensive this week)
That’s how I meal plan and since I am a confident cook, I do often remove or substitute ingredients. For example I may use parmesan for my cheeses even though one recipe ask for cheddar. BUT, I only do it if I know the taste and texture won’t be so off. Or if a recipe requires galangal, which I can only get at Asian markets, I’d often just go without since the food will still taste good just not as authentic.
Want more? Visit my Pinterest food board: