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Our Family Meal Plan for this week 13-10-2014

Monday 13 October 2014
I'm back to blogging our Meal Plans after what seems a very long break. I've still been Meal Planning, just haven't had the time or energy to blog about it.  Ironically, time and energy are in even shorter supply at the moment as our 3 week old son has typical newborn erratic sleep patterns and cooking needs to be fitted in around his feed and change times.

I cleaned out our pantry before our son was born, during that lovely but slightly insane nesting phase where everything that cannot move out of the way is organised and cleaned.  Despite my best efforts not to have opened packets hiding in the pantry, there were a few part packets of pulses and rice which need using up.  I also cleared out the freezer so along with our pantry items there's some frozen fish, vegetables and homemade soups, stocks and meals which also need using up.  That is our theme for this week - using up leftovers and part packets.


Now that the weather has turned colder we are having porridge with homemade fruit compote or toast with spread if there isn't time to make porridge.  On the weekend I shall make pancakes and crumpets, hopefully making some extra so we can freeze some for a treat next week.


My 3 daughters will be having packed lunches which will be ham and salad sandwiches with crudites, yoghurt, a piece of fruit and a small baked treat.  My husband and I will be having soups for lunch with wholemeal bread rolls.  My 14yo baked a couple of batches of wholemeal bread rolls on Sunday for us to have for our lunches.

Comforting Bean and Chorizo Soup

Vegetable and Lentil Soup

I love this soup, so warming and tasty on cold autumn days. It is really filling and a great low cost dinner. We've several portions in the freezer which we shall be defrosting, heating up and eating for lunch.

1 onion, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely sliced 
2 carrots, peeled and diced 
1 swede, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, crushed 
1 Tblsp ground cumin 
115g (1/2 cup) red lentils 
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes 
1.25 Litres (5 cups) vegetable stock 

Put a large saucepan on the hob over a medium heat. Sauté the vegetables and garlic in a little oil until they begin to soften. Add the cumin and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add all the rest of the ingredients to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.  If I can be bothered I whizz up the soup a little with a stick blender. I serve this with cheese on toast or crusty bread rolls.


Creamy Bacon and Vegetable Pasta

I can have this dinner on the table in under 20 minutes from whine to dine LOL Great for those nights when you are really tired or really busy with a low tolerance for faffy dinners.

500g spaghetti
200g unsmoked back bacon
350g frozen chopped spinach
Handful or 2 of frozen mixed vegetables
300ml pot crème fraîche

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the spaghetti and cook following pack instructions. When the spaghetti has about 3 minutes left to cook toss in a handful or two of frozen mixed vegetables.

Meanwhile, in a deep frying pan, fry the bacon until the fat starts to run and then add the garlic, fry until the bacon is lightly golden. Add the chopped spinach and 2 tablespoons of water, then cover and cook until the spinach has defrosted.

Remove the lid, stir everything together, season to taste, then cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

Drain the spaghetti and vegetables and add to the bacon and spinach mixture with the crème fraîche. Stir to thoroughly combine and serve immediately.

Simmered Mince Many Ways - Cottage Pie (Tuesday), Spaghetti Bolognese (Wednesday)

Spicy Rice with Chickpeas and Spinach

This is a quick, healthy and delicious family dinner for a Meatfree Monday or any day of the week. My daughters like it with some poppadoms on the side and mango chutney. Give it a go, it works well as a side dish too.

1 ½ cups basmati or long grain rice
1 Tblsp olive oil
3 carrots, roughly diced
1 pepper, roughly diced
1 leek, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp turmeric
2 tsp mild curry powder
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
400ml vegetable stock, made with 1 stock cube
300ml water
200g spinach (fresh or frozen)
2 Tblsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 Tblsp chopped fresh mint leaves
Natural yogurt and more chopped fresh coriander leaves to serve

Put the rice in a sieve and rinse it under cold running water until the water runs clear. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the roughly diced carrots, pepper, leek, garlic, raisins/sultanas and spices. Cook, stirring it occasionally for about 8 – 10 minutes or until the vegetables, especially the carrots, are tender.

Once the vegetables are tender add the chickpeas, rice, stock, and water. Bring everything to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook everything with the lid on the saucepan for 12 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and put the spinach over the top of the rice. Replace the lid on the saucepan and stand for 8 minutes. Uncover the saucepan again and add the chopped fresh herbs. Stir everything together until well combined. Serve topped with some yoghurt, chopped fresh herbs.

Homemade Fish and Chips

Homemade Pizzas

I haven't included a Shopping List this week as we only purchased a minimal amount of groceries to enable us to use up the leftovers and part packets we have lurking about.  I shall be back to blogging a Meal Plan with Shopping List, hopefully next week.


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