Saturday, 4 January 2014

Meal planning with a purpose

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you had a great Christmas and all that.

So here it is - 2014. One of the really good things about the Christmas break was that I stopped thinking too hard about the move to Wales: not that thinking about it was bad, but in the run up to the holiday, we were mostly doing lots of practical stuff around sorting out our current house, and doing all the Christmas stuff, with a view to dealing with the "where will we move to" bit after Christmas, and I think it was stresssing me out a bit.

Anyway, we had a lovely Christmas, and we've just come back from a whistlestop tour of suitable houses to rent (all 3 of them) which shortlisted themselves to 2 on the basis that one of the landlords wouldn't countenance a dog. While nothing is agreed on paper, this makes me feel a lot happier (not, obviously, the bit about Fred). I also had the opportunity to dine in a number of cafes in the Cardigan area, and stick my nose into various foodie emporia, and my friends, I am officially excited by what I saw. Watch this space.

As a result of this, not only am I happier, I am filled with renewed energy to make it happen.

So filled with energy in fact, that I tackled one of the cupboards this afternoon. In many ways, I only have Dom at Belleau Kitchen, and his last Random Recipes linky, to thank for this, but I've made several references to my hoarding tendancies in the past, and the fact that we could probably survive a nuclear winter on the contents of my cupboards, and the time has come to put this to the test. I know I could pack up the cupboards and move the contents with me to groan and mutter in another cupboard far away (would they groan and mutter in Welsh, I wonder?), but I've set myself a bit of a challenge to see if I can get rid of it all (in a constructive way) - even the bottle of pomegranate molasses, Phil...

So, I have cleaned out my fancy pull out cupboard, thrown away the tin of blackcurrants that went out of date in June 2009 (oh the shame), and I have planned a week's meals based on the the tins and what I have in the freezer (in my aim to get first from 2 small freezers to one).

So here is what we will be eating:

This evening (Saturday) - casserole - using up a pound of stewing steak that was in the freezer. Also rhubarb from the freezer, which I am stewing. Some will go into a type of Eton Mess using up the end of a tin of meringues that's been knocking round on top of the cupboard, and the last of the Christmas cream...

Sunday - Lasagne - will use up some of a kilo of mince that I have in the freezer, that I need to braise first, but it will also do for Wednesday's chilli, and some meals over the next few weeks. Also will use up the remains of a box of dried lasagne pasta, and a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes

Monday - Sausage casserole - 4 sausages in the freezer and a can (one of many) of cannellini beans, and one of chopped tomatoes

Tuesday - chick pea ketchup curry and dahl - chickpeas, ketchup, red lentils

Wednesday - chilli - in addition to the mince, this will use up chopped tomatoes and kidney beans

Thursday - corned beef & sweetcorn hash - using up a tin each of potatoes, corned beef and sweetcorn (this is the last of my camper van meals)

Friday - fish fingers, oven chips and peas (frozen from the garden in the summer. The fish fingers and chips are using up ends of packets in the freezer - there are times when everyone needs a bag of frozen chips, OK)

And I'm sure we'll be able to get through these remnants of the summer of camping some how...

There does of course need to be some shopping, but having planned the meals and worked out a shopping list, it is significantly smaller than the usual 'first shop of the month' would be.

I've been so enthused, that I have even re-ordered the shelves so that all the necessary tins are now to hand and organised for each meal. ready for me to use as intended, on one separate shelf of the cupboard.

Sometimes I even surprise myself.


  1. Love it! 2014 is going to be the year of 'getting to the bottom of the freezer' for me - I've got a chest freezer which badly needs defrosting, which means it needs emptying first! So there is similar military meal planning afoot :-)

    1. Good luck with that! I re-read the post and I should probably have added in that there's more than 1 week's worth of meals to be had out of my cupboards...

  2. As something of an extreme mover myself, I have to agree with your mantra of not getting too stressed, and just letting whatever happens happen. What will be will be and all that! Wales does sound exciting though! :)

    1. I wish I could say that I wasn't getting too stressed - I think I'm not, but before Christmas - in that last week of term when everyone was tired and there seemed to be lots of additional demands, I was a bit frazzled about it all. Now, I like to think I am back to being cool, calm and collected about it all again.

  3. It is amazing what you can find lurking in the back of your cupboards! I love, love, love Dom's linkup - I just wish I'd seen it earlier to dip in :D

  4. I hope that you post Tuesday's evening meal the chick pea ketchup curry and dahl sounds lush xx

    1. I will try - it's a Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall one from Veg Everyday but I'll be bound to have 'adapted' it by the time it gets to the table!

  5. Too right, moving is stressful but you've got the right attitude to embrace it. Once the house is found, then everything else seems to just flow x

  6. Hope you get through the move in one piece!

  7. I love the sound of your meal plan. I'm trying to do it myself this year and have managed so far but can only really think about 3 days ahead!

  8. Chickpea ketchup curry and dahl! Yes please. I agree, don't get too stressed, as a good friend of mine always says, let it open up ahead of you and see where it takes you x


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