It was a year ago today that I started sharing our weekly family meal plans on Facebook and Instagram. I love how many of you now cook along with me. Without planning, we eat badly and waste money and food. I also end up staring blankly and hungrily into the fridge if I don’t have a meal plan. Sound familiar? You can read more about how and why I meal plan here and find all my previous meal plans here.
This week, the first of the new year, we’re making up for the cheese and chocolate fest of the last month with lots of veg-packed meals. The boys are also off school so we have less rushing around at night and I can manage more fanciness. Normal madness will resume next week.
January 2019 – week 1 meal plan
Monday – New Year’s Day – Bean and tomato stew with crumbled cheese, baked potatoes and a red cabbage and carrot slaw.
I often batch cook so I have food in the freezer for super-busy nights. So if I’m making a stew or a soup, I’ll make double and freeze the rest for another week. This baked bean recipe is one of my favourite freezer fillers. It forms the base of so many easy meals. It can be thinned into a soup; tossed with salad leaves and feta as a salad; cooked with chicken thighs for a cassoulet type affair or on toast with eggs for breakfast. Read how to make the baked beans and all the ways you can use your beans here.
To go with the beans:
We’ll had the beans with baked potatoes, grated Cheddar and a slaw made from shredded red cabbage, grated carrot and shredded Brussels – dressed with Dijon, red wine vinegar and yoghurt.
I made speedy baked potatoes by scrubbing some fist sized potatoes then pricking them, about 5 times in each, with a knife and microwaving them until they were soft when squeezed. At this stage they’re edible but a bit sad. So I pop them into a hot oven for 10-15 minutes to crisp up and get that lovely jacket.
What makes this dinner delicious is the various combinations – the heat of the potato and beans with the cool of the cheese and slaw. The raw crunch of the slaw brightens up the earthier flavours of the beans and potato. The salt of the cheese cuts the tomato of the beans.
Tuesday – Salmon tacos with avocado, pickled radish, leftover slaw from Monday.
We’ve not had much fish recently so I made an old favourite – fish tacos. I’m a taco loon so if you’re new to tacos, and I don’t mean the crispy boxed kind, read my guide here where I share all my tips for how to serve them, why they’re the perfect family food and all my recipes for recipes for guacamole, salsas and other fillings. I’ve also added links to where to get the best tortillas.
On taco night everything gets piled on the table and we’ll make our own combos. The boys may not eat everything but it’s amazing what they’ll have when it is stuffed into a taco. I grabbed the leftover slaw from Monday night, sliced some avocado, warmed up some tortillas and roasted the salmon. I also separated some Little Gem into leaves and used them instead of tacos to scoop up some of the fillings.
We had some of my speedy pickled radish leftover from Christmas. No need to make them specially but they do add a lovely pop of crunch and brightness. They look really pretty too.
To roast the salmon:
I take a boneless fillet, lay it on foil on a shallow baking tray, skin side down. I sprinkle the pink side with a thin layer of smoked paprika, sea salt and olive oil. I roast it at 200°C (180°C fan) or 400°F (350°C convection) for 8-10 minutes. The cooking time will depend on how thick your fillets are and how pink you like your salmon. I like mine to still have a bit of a bright pink wobble in the center. Just check it after 6 minutes and check it every minute or so by putting your finger into the middle of the piece of fish. Once it starts to flake and has lost the jelly-like consistency, pull it out of the oven. You can then use a fork to lift flakes of the salmon off the skin, which will have stuck to the foil, and add them to your taco.
Wednesday – out
Thursday – A change of plan.
We had a last minute invitation to a friends house so my experiment with chickpea flour pancakes stayed undone. The ingredients can all be used easily for another meal so there is no waste.
Friday – another change of plan. One pan butternut squash, sausage and sage bake with apple, lemon and rocket salad.
Even though I plan for the week, sometimes life gets in the way. Or sometimes I just don’t fancy what I’d planned when it comes to the day. No drama. I had planned to make a one-pan roast pork tenderloin with flageolet beans, rocket, cauliflower and sherry vinegar. But had a craving for something else, so the pork fillet stayed in the freezer, the beans stayed in their cans and the rest of the ingredients were re-purposed into one of my old-favourites – a tray bake recipe I know so many of you make all the time.
Here’s the recipe which includes a cook along video and my tips for making butternut squash chopping a breeze – hint you don’t need to peel it!
This dinner re-heats really well so it is great when the boys eat earlier than us. It is also easy to pick apart – one son won’t eat the rocket (arugula), one won’t eat the onions so they can easily pick them out – but, importantly we’re all eating the same meal and I only have to cook once.
Osso bucco with roasted carrots, chard and cauliflower garlic purée.
I bought some rose veal shank a while back and it has been sitting in the freezer waiting to be cooked. Osso bucco is the traditional way to cook this cut so I experimented with a couple of recipes. Once I’ve found the perfect recipe I’ll share it.
This is the cauliflower puree I made to go with it. It’s a perfect side for any stews and has the same smooth texture as mashed potato. It is a handy way to get an extra portion of veg into everyone’s meal too.
Sunday – leftover Osso Bucco shredded and stirred through pasta with peas.
I love using leftover stews as a simple pasta sauce, adding peas added sweetness and some extra veg. Here are some of my other pasta recipes.
How I’ll share my meal plans and recipes this year
Over the weeks you’ll start to see patterns of how my plans work so that you can start making your own plans with the recipes and meals you love. Some of the recipes will be from my site, others will be going into my book which will be out later this year.