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Sunday, 29 April 2018

We've got a busy week ahead, and a very interesting end to the week with me hopefully having gallbladder surgery. It's been a long 5 month wait for a surgery date, I was offered a short notice slot due to another patient cancelling so I took it.  I feel like I've spent most of the weekend either working or cooking as I've baked and cooked some breakfasts, lunches, and dinners in advance of my surgery. 

We have bread flour and baking flour left over from last week as well as frozen mixed vegetables so I won't need to buy those, we've also got lots of rhubarb, chard and herbs from our garden which will also save us money.

Breakfasts will be homemade granola with yoghurt and fruit compote.  Weekend breakfasts will be crumpets and fruited tea cakes, which I made this weekend and have frozen.

Packed lunches will be Super Quick Chickpea and Couscous Salad for some of the week, Wholemeal Savoury Swirls for the rest of the week which I have baked this weekend and frozen.  There will of course be a cruidites, a piece of fruit, and baked treat for afters in the packed lunches.  Weekend lunches will be Bacon and Egg Pie and Twice Baked Potatoes, again I've made these in advance and they're in the freezer.  


Vegetable Stew with Dumplings - Meatfree Monday

2 Tblsp oil
25g butter
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
2 large carrots carrots, peeled and diced
1 swede, peeled and diced
2 leeks, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp mustard
2 Tblsp plain flour
1 heaped tsp vegemite (optional)
500ml vegetable stock
400g tin haricot or butter beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper

250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
125g butter, diced
2 tsp diced mixed herbs
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.

Put the oil and butter in a large flameproof casserole dish over a moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for couple of minutes. Add the potatoes, parsnip, carrot, Swede and leeks. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring, over a moderate heat until the vegetables start to turn golden and soften slightly. Reduce the heat slightly and ad the garlic, thyme and mustard. Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, ensure the vegetables are well coated in the flour. Add the vegetmite, stock and tinned pulses.

Bring the mixture to the boil, cover with a lid then put in the preheated oven. Bake for 40 - 50 miutes. Whilst the stew is cooking prepare the dumplings. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. stir in the herbs and a little salt and pepper. Add a 1 or 2 tablespoons of water, just enough to form a stiff dough.

Divide the dough into walnut sized balls, cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge until ready to use. When the stew has baked for 40 - 50 minutes in the oven, remove from the oven and add the dumplings. Ensure the dumplings are partially submerged in the stew. Cover the pot with a lid and cook on the stove top/hob, over a moderate heat, for around 20 minutes until the dumplings have risen and are golden on top. I usually serve this stew with steamed greens.

Quick and Easy Nachos

1 onion, finely diced
2 peppers, finely diced, any colour will do
325g tin sweetcorn, drained
2 tins chilli beans
300g cherry tomatoes, quartered
200g pack tortilla chips
150g grated mature cheddar cheese, or more if you fancy

Mix the onion, peppers, sweetcorn, chilli beans and tomatoes together in a bowl. Put half of the of tortilla chips, in a single layer, into the bottom of a large ovenproof dish. Dollop with around half the vegetable and bean mixture then top with a good handful of grated cheddar. Repeat the process until all the chips, vegetable mixture and cheese have been used up. Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6 and bake the nachos in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling and everything has heated through. I served ours with steamed mixed vegetables on the side.

Slow Cooker Beef Casserole and leftovers pasties the following night

1 kg casserole beef
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 each red and green pepper, chopped
2 Tblsp plain flour
2 Tblsp tomato paste
250ml beef stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 Tblsp dried oregano
400g can cannellini beans, well drained

Cut beef into 2.5cm-3cm pieces and season the beef with salt and pepper. Brown the meat in a frying pan over a high heat and transfer to a slow cooker.

Scatter in the onion, garlic and peppers. Stir the flour, tomato paste and beef stock together to make a smooth paste and pour over the beef. Add the tomatoes, scatter in the oregano and cover.

Sloe Cooker: Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-5 hours. Add the cannellini beans, stir to mix and allow to heat through before serving.

Oven Cook: Prepare the casserole as above, adding an extra 250ml of beef stock. Cook in a lidded ovenproof dish at 180ºC for 120 minutes.

Hob Cooking: Put the browned beef and other ingredients into a heavy-based pot. Partially cover, and keeping the heat low, simmer until the meat is very tender. Stir occasionally, adding water if needed during the cooking time to keep ingredients just covered. In the last 30 minutes of cooking time, add the tomatoes and cannellini beans.

Vegetarian Shepherdless Pie

1 Tblsp oil
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced
2 peppers, diced (any colour)
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
200ml red wine
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tsp vegetable bouillon
410g tin green lentils
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
100g cheddar cheese, grated

Heat the oil in a frying pan, then sauté the carrot, celery, onion and pepper until the carrot and celery softens slightly. Add the dried mixed herbs and the wine along with the tomatoes and half a tomato tin of water. Sprinkle over the stock cube, stir everything to mix thoroughly and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the tin of lentils, don’t bother to drain them, then cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil the sweet potatoes until they’re tender. Drain them well and mash them, adding butter and seasoning to taste. Put the lentil and vegetable mixture into an ovenproof dish, then spoon the sweet potato mash over the top. Sprinkle on the cheese and then either chill in the fridge to cook later or bake for 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 190C/170C fan/Gas Mark 5. If you are cooking this dinner straight from the fridge, cook for about 40 minutes until it is piping hot all the way through and the cheese is bubbling and golden.

Homemade burgers with potato wedges

One Pot Chicken Casserole

Shopping List

42 items: £70.49

Tins, Jars and Cooking
3x   ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice (400g) 87p
2x   ASDA Smartprice Sweetcorn in Water (326g)                          70p
3x   ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g)                                          99p
1x   ASDA Pasta Sauce - Tomato and Garlic (320g)                       60p
1x   Merchant Gourmet Ready to Eat Puy Lentils (250g)                 £2.00
1x   ASDA Cannellini Beans in Water (400g)                                  40p
2x   ASDA Chilli Beans in Chilli Sauce (390g)                                 £1.30
1x   ASDA Haricot Beans in Water (400g)                                      50p

Dairy and Eggs
2x   ASDA Semi Skimmed Milk 6 Pints (3.41L)                               £2.96
1x   ASDA Free Range Large Eggs (12)                                        £1.85
5x   ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g)                     £2.25
1x   ASDA Smartprice Mature White Cheddar (830g)                      £3.69

Packets and Cereals
1x   Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg)                                      64p
1x   ASDA Cous Cous (1Kg)                                                          £1.35
1x   ASDA Scottish Porridge Oats (1Kg)                                        99p
2x   ASDA Ready to Roll Puff Pastry (500g)                                   £2.00

Fruit and Vegetables
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Salad Tomatoes (750g)                   £1.25
20   ASDA Grower's Selection Bananas by Weight (200g)              £3.00
19   ASDA Grower's Selection Royal Gala Apples by Weight (Approx 160g)        £4.56
3x   ASDA Grower's Selection Carrots (1Kg)                                  £1.50
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Iceberg Lettuce                               60p
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Celery                                             55p
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Garlic Loose                                   25p
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Sweet Potatoes (1Kg)                      £1.20
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Organic Leeks (400g)                      £1.50
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Oranges Extra Juicy (2Kg)              £2.00
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Pears (1.2Kg)                                 £4.00
1x   ASDA Mixed Peppers (1.5Kg)                                                 £2.50
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Swede                                            50p
2     ASDA Grower's Selection Parsnips by Weight (Approx 200g)   46p
1x   ASDA Farm Stores Brown Onions (1Kg)                                  59p
2x   ASDA Farm Stores White Potatoes (2.5Kg)                             £2.50
5x   ASDA Farm Stores Plums (400g)                                            £4.45
2x   ASDA Farm Stores Round Lettuce                                          90p
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Cherry Tomatoes (325g)                 75p

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x   ASDA Farm Stores Cooking Bacon (500g)                              57p
1x   ASDA Butcher's Selection Beef Mince - 12% Fat (500g)           £2.41
1x   ASDA Butcher's Selection Chicken Thighs (1.1Kg)                  £2.20

1x   Hardys Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon (187ml)                             £1.75

2x   ASDA Beef Diced (450g)                                                        £5.00

Snacks and Sweets
2x   ASDA Fruit Mix (200g)                                                            £2.00
1x   ASDA Smartprice Tortilla Chips - Lightly Salted (180g)            41p

We purchased our shopping online from Adsa via My Supermarket and our items cost £70.49, had we shopped elsewhere our groceries would've cost:

£72.95 Morrisons
£80.23 Tesco
£80.24 Sainsbury's
£93.21 Ocado
£94.29 Waitrose

My lovely blogging buddy Ciara from My Fussy Eater has created a fab Meal Planning Facebook Group so we can inspire each other. She also has a book, I have a copy and it is fab.  You can order a copy for yourself here

And Katykicker, and Naomi from The Organised Life Project have a Meal Planning Linky full of fabulous Meal Planning posts with lots of tasty ideas.


  1. Wishing you all the very best with your surgery. I had mine last Tuesday and recovery has been quick and easy. I'm so glad I had 8it done and I'm sure you will be too.
    J x

  2. ooo i didn't know about the facebook group so have requested to join for some more ideas - thanks!

  3. Your meals sounds delicious this week - as always! That one pot chicken casserole sounds lovely!

  4. Your meals sound gorgeous. I hope your surgery goes ahead as planned and you make a really quick recovery. Thanks for linking up xx

  5. You are amazing. Doing a whole week's planning would send me to bed with a headache, never mind doing the actual cooking of it all too. Great to see lots of scrummy veggie meals in your plan.

    Hope you are well on the mend AND looking after yourself.


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