Monday, 9 July 2012

Meal planning

Do you plan meals for each day of week or are you a 'fly by the seat of your pants' type cook'?  I've always been a flyer unless it's cooking for Christmas, birthday celebrations or dinner parties.  Come 6.00p.m. I've either got my head buried in the pantry, fridge or freezer looking for inspiration.  I have a big pantry that is crowded, you might even say over stocked with food but it doesn't seem to help me decide what to make for dinner.  So I thought perhaps a meal planning session each Sunday night might help me out.
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 Last week I made three dinners on my list, the favourite being Chicken and Zucchini Patties which I served with another new recipe Pine nut and Currant Couscous.  Last night I made Tuna and Tomato Risotto (adding spinach leaves to make it a more complete meal) which was nice too although I'm having a problem getting the rice just cooked when I make risottos.  It was just a little underdone although I followed the recipe exactly, had the stock simmering as it was added to the rice etc.
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So my two questions are.  Do you use a meal plan for the week and how do you make a successful risotto?
I'd love to hear your answers.

 Have a great day,

Anne  xx


  1. Once upon a time , when my kids were younger I used a menu plan to try to ensure we had more variety. I seem to get stuck on some meals and tend to repeat them a lot. The trouble was when it came time to cook from the menu sometimes I just didn't feel like eating THAT but most of the time it was OK and ensured that I had all the right stuff.
    Nowadays I usually give it a passing thought during the day and there's just the two of us so it's not too hard. I seldom make anything that takes more than half an hour's preparation anyway.
    Tony is the risotto cook in this house but we just keep cooking and stirring until the rice is cooked. Just keep tasting it until those little grains and plumped up and soft.

  2. Meal planning works for me. Takes the stress out of meal times (hungry children and last minute meal decisions do not mix well) and builds my shopping list at the same time. If I skip a week, I really notice the difference. I know some people have a three or four week plan that they rotate, but I make mine up at the start of the week and then don't have to think about it again.

  3. Hey Anne, I am definitely not a meal planner unless there's an 'occasion' coming up.
    I do tend to think about it the night before so I can get meat out to thaw......apart from that I'm not much of a planner. As long as I have enough variety of vegies, I am pretty much a 'flyer'. I would like to be more of a planner as living out of town, I can't just whizz down the street for a forgotten ingredient.
    Never had a problem with Risotto, as Helen and Ro suggested, just keep cooking, stirring and tasting till it's done.
    Love the sound of the Pinenut and currant Couscous.......

    Claire :}

  4. No meal planning here - I wait for inspiration which generally comes when I see what's on offer in the garden, cupboard, fridge or freezer.
    Love from Mum

  5. I generally don't meal plan, except like you do for special occasions.
    I have tried it, but then get scuppered because someone gets invited out to a friend's or my husband gets called in early to work. I've then ended up with various portions to be reheated another day or fresh ingredients left that all need to used up at the same time.

  6. I'm a part time nurse/ mum of three and I really am trying to get some kind of meal planning running in my kitchen. I e spent hours making monthly plans only for life to get in the way and then the whole plan gets abandoned. I'm trying for a week at a time at the moment and bought the Aldi cook book and am trying some of their simple family dinners that they make from their standard shop stock items. I find that meal planning and a very rigid shopping list based on what I need for those meals = cheaper shopping bill and less wastage. It's still a learning curve though and I'm so open to learning from other families as to what works for them.


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