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Menu Planning - Saving time and money!

Thursday, 20 January 2011  |  Admin

It's now a year since I re-started menu planning in earnest but this year I've decided to up the ante.
Because I like to eat a really good variety of food I try a LOT of different recipes. The problem is, sometimes I try one and like it but then sort of forget about it? So this year I've decided to keep a menu diary and I'll share it with you once I've cooked everything and can highlight the 'goodies'.
My January to date list is below - there's not as many recipes as days because once or twice a week we have 'freezer surprise' which is just one of my batch cooked meals reheated. If I've used an online recipe, I've included a link to it, if it was a batch meal I've put an asterisk beside it.
Some of the recipes are annotated 'K' - these are from the Kitchen Revolution cookbook, generally the first recipe is a 'Big Meal from Scratch' Sunday dinner type thing, and then the following two recipes are made from left-overs of that meal.
I've done a few comments at the bottom for recipes which we particularly liked!
Lastly, heads up that I'm planning 'meat-free February' this year instead of meat-free March. This is because bubs is due to arrive towards the end of March and I'll be relying on batch cooked frozen meals for a while after that and they tend to be mostly meat based!
Meals to date:
Thai beef casserole*.
Cream of chicken soup, lemon & tarragon
Roast chicken, chicory, bacon. K
Chicory bacon pasta. K
Chicken pie. K
Pasta puttanesca*
Sundried tomato creamy Chicken casserole*
Roast butternut squash Soup
Jacket potatoes
Braised Oxtail (I didn't make the dumplings)
Texas Burgers & Ranch dressing
Paella
Pizza
Shepherds pie
Warm lentil feta salad
Jacket potatoes cheese beans
Highlights
The texas burgers were fabulous, I made triple the recipe and got no1 son to help with making a load of burgers up so we could freeze them. It's definitely worth making the ranch dressing to go with them as it's so tasty, the dill in the dressing is just yummy. Brucie bonus is that the kids LOVED the burgers (sort of obviously, after all it is a burger, but you never know with kids).
The other one worth mentioning is the roast chicken with chicory and bacon. I'll be honest here, I've never cooked with or eaten chicory before. I'd heard of it of course but never actually used it. This is a kitchen revolution recipe, where you roast two chickens with lots of bacon, shallots and chicory, plus some white wine and tarragon. It's served with roast carrots and parsnips so it's an easy one to make too and not that much washing up (for a roast dinner!)
I liked the chicory although it is a bit of an acquired taste and the children weren't too impressed by it. We had a whole roast chicken left over which I stripped as soon as it had cooled. This made the yummy chicken pie and also some very tasty soup too. The left-over chicory/bacon/shallot mixture made a beautiful chicory and bacon pasta sauce with just some creme fraiche added. I chopped the chicory up a bit for this and the kids seemed to enjoy it more this way than with the roast dinner. I'd still make it again though, for a change....
Let me know what you think....

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