As promised, here is my second week of meal plans and recipes for you. I had so much wonderful feedback to my first week of plans so I’m going to be sharing these each week. I loved seeing all your pics of the recipes you made – and I loved hearing how much time and money you saved and how many children cleared their plates. If you missed last week’s plan, here it is. Let me know how you’re getting on with the plans and if you have any questions or feedback.
How I’ll share my meal plans and recipes this year
I’ll be sharing my meal plan each week on here and on social media, so be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – where I’ll also share pictures most days of the dishes I make. Some of the recipes will be from my site, others will be going into my book. Every two weeks I’ll share the menu plans and some recipes in my newsletter so sign up for it here if you haven’t already.
Scroll down for this week’s week menu plan and some of the recipe links.
What I was planning for this week
This week was our fist week back at school and work after the Christmas holidays. After two weeks of eating on the hoof, and lots of time to cook, I was back to normal. I had to work around sports and swimming after school on Mondays and Tuesdays, a new cooking class for me on Thursday and lots of recipe testing for the book.
Week 2 meal plans and recipes
Here’s what we’ve had this week….
Spinach, mushroom, basil, tomato lasagna with a roast carrot and rocket salad.
Continuing our meat-free Monday theme and also tying in bit of batch cooking for the freezer. My boys love lasagna and it is a great thing to make as you can make it a day or two before your want to eat it and then just throw it in the oven. It also re-heats well, making it perfect for when the boys are eating earlier than us. I usually chuck it in the oven on low, covered in foil, when I go to pick them up for school. Then when we get back I turn the heat up and leave it to cook until dinner time. Lasagna always benefits from a good 20-30 minutes resting time after it comes out of the oven so it can hang around if plans change.
Whenever I make a lasagna, I make two. It takes no more work and I have another dinner in the freezer for another week. I urge you to do the same and get into the habit of identifying which meals can be doubled up and frozen. I find it so comforting to have a few nice homemade dinners in the freezer so that I don’t always have to cook.
The recipe for this lasagna will be in my book as I still have a bit of tinkering to do to make it perfect. It was packed with mushrooms, spinach (I always use the frozen leaf spinach in recipes like this) and my tomato sauce which meant the boys were getting plenty of veg without me having to make extras on the side. I fancied something extra, so I roasted some carrots and tossed them with rocket, sherry vinegar, salt and chili flakes when we reheated the lasagna and ate ours later that evening.
Boys – swimming picnic – flasks of Julie’s lentil, carrot and tomato soup, cheese sandwiches and fruit.
Tuesdays are our craziest night of the week. We can’t be home for dinner for the boys so I take a picnic to their swimming class with us. These flasks are such a lifesaver for eating on the go. They are wide necked so I use them for soup, pasta or stews. They keep food hot (or cold) for hours so I usually make the boys picnic when I’m making my own lunch. You can buy them here in the UK or here in the US.
The boys had their and my favourite soup – Julie’s lentil, carrot and tomato soup. It is the easiest soup to make and is packed with veg and lentils so it keeps them full and packs in the protein. I’ve been sharing this recipe (my Mum’s recipe really) for years and love how many of you make this too. Make a big pan and freeze it in individual servings and you’ll always have an easy dinner or lunch to hand. Here’s the recipe.
Grown ups – Salmon and miso noodle bowls with raw courgetti, kale, carrots, Thai basil, ginger, lime and sesame.
Once the boys were in bed and Pete got home I made these noodle bowls. They only take about 15 minutes, are jam packed with healthy delicious stuff, and are a great way of using up random things.
I simmered barley miso (you can use any miso paste mixed with boiling water) with sliced fresh ginger and garlic, threw some buckwheat noodles in the pan and then set my steamer in top with some wild salmon fillets in. Then plonked the lid on. The salmon took about 5 minutes to steam, so once it was ready I lifted the steamer out and set it aside, leaving the noodles to cook in the miso broth.
While the salmon and noodles cooked, I spiralized a courgette (zucchini), grated a carrot, chopped some basil (I found Thai basil at the supermarket, but any basil works) and shredded and massaged some kale. I poured the hot miso broth over the veg to wilt them a bit, flaked the salmon and sprinkled it all with sesame seeds. I zested and juiced a lime over it then seasoned it with Tamari, sesame oil and some of my chili jam. Damn it was good. It sounds a lot but it was done and dusted in less time than it would take a pizza to cook.
The detailed recipe will be in my book but here’s another speedy noodle recipe of mine you can use for now.
Meatballs with fennel, peppers, tomato sauce and freekeh.
This was so easy as I had the meatballs ready made in the sauce in the freezer. I grabbed them out in the morning and threw them in the oven at dinner time. The boys had theirs with pasta and pesto because I wanted to sneak some extra greens in for them. We had ours later with fennel freekeh and greens.
Whenever you make meatballs make tons, freeze them and you’ll thank yourself when life gets crazy. We either have them stirred into pasta with some chopped greens, or I roast them along with chopped peppers, baby tomatoes and chopped fennel or courgette. They’re also lovely braised in tomato sauce and served with mashed potato or rice.
A change of plan.
I had loads of leftovers from my cooking class so we had slaw (the one from this recipe) with leftover roast cauliflower and chickpea salad, some leftover fennel freekeh from last night. I just pan-fried some chicken thighs that I’d dusted with smoked paprika. We toasted up some pitta bread and the boys made stuffed pittas with all the goodies. We skipped the carbs with dinner and used our carb allowance on a bottle of wine instead.
Fish Friday – fish tacos.
Our fish man comes to the door every Friday so we had some gorgeous cod to use. Everyone wanted tacos so I made some guacamole (the boys helped) and a few other bits of veg, warmed up some tortillas and roasted the cod, dusted with smoked paprika, sea salt and olive oil for a few minutes then flaked it into the tacos. Taco night is such a fun, sociable way to eat. And although Taco Tuesday is very much a thing, I think Friday nights are a perfect night for this type of eating.
These are the tacos I cooked on stage at CarFest last summer. I’ve written all about how to do taco night and included all my recipes for guacamole, salsas and other fillings here. I’ve also added links to where to get the best tortillas.
Beef and mushrooms braised in red wine with celariac mash, roast brussel sprouts and carrots.
I’m writing this on Saturday morning, so excuse the change in tense. This is another one of those throw everything in the oven and go off to do something fun dinners. Again, I’ll make double or even triple of the braised beef so that I have some more dinners in the freezer. I teach this recipe in one of my classes and will be including it in the book too.
Roast chicken, roast potatoes, lemony brussel spouts, carrot and swede mash.
And I’ll keep some of the roast chicken back for dinner on Monday or Tuesday.
Ask me for a personalized menu plan
If you need more help, I’m now offering a personal menu planning service wherever you are in the world. After an initial conversation to help me understand your lifestyle, I’ll create a weekly menu plan, detailed shopping list and recipes for your family to suit your dietary needs, likes and dislikes and what time you have available to cook. I’ll also be on hand to Facetime or Skype you and go through the plan each week, talking you through the recipes and answering any questions. Just drop me an email and I can run through how it works in more detail.