Hello week five. How are you getting on with the meal plans? I hope the habit of planning is becoming normal now and you’re finding you waste less food and save money – and that you are eating more varied, healthy, delicious meals without stressing out.
Please keep the pictures and comments coming. Here are the previous four weeks’ plans.
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
Our family loves a birthday in January and February – this week my great great Aunty Joyce turned 91 and my son turns 7. So we’re busy with celebrations as well as the usual work and school stuff. Luckily planing and shopping ahead means I don’t have to think what to cook for dinner each night so I can concentrate on the rest of the to-do list.
Week 5 meal plans and recipes
Here’s what we’ve had this week….
Seeded Halloumi, sweet potato, avocado, black beans with leeks and cumin and lime.
I’m so chuffed we’ve kept our meat-free Monday theme this going all year. This dinner was so simple and the balance of flavours and textures went down a treat.
I baked whole sweet potatoes in the microwave, then chopped them up with the skin still on and mashed them gently. I added some canned black beans that I’d heated up with some caramelised leeks, cumin, smoked paprika and lime juice and zest. I also fried slices of Halloumi in a dry frying pan until the outside turned golden and the inside started to melt a little. And I’m very late to the party, but I just made my first avocado rose. I had filed it under the can’t be arsed section of prep techniques but quite pleased I had a bash now. Feel free to slice your avocado or chop it in chunks if this is a step too far. I sprinkled the avocado with dukkah for a bit of crunch.
I made extra potato and beans and used them for a quesadilla for lunch the next day – I just smeared them onto a toasted wholegrain flatbread, sprinkled the top with grated Cheddar and popped it under the grill (broiler). It was so good and will probably make it onto a future meat-free Monday dinner.
Boys – swimming picnic – flasks of Julie’s lentil, carrot and tomato soup, cheese sandwiches and fruit (same as last week)
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 – Cod with fennel, pepper, pancetta and beans with spinach
I’m doing some recipe testing and this was a delicious one-pan dinner. I served it with a schmear of my romesco sauce which is such a useful sauce to have in the fridge and can be added to all sorts of things. I’ll be adding the full recipe for this dinner to my class menus so let me know if you’d like to come and learn it.
Out for dinner
We were out celebrating my son’s 7th birthday. We went to a new place in Manchester, West Corner NQ. They do the best burgers with great local meat. And the cocktails are brilliant too. I had their braised brisket with mash and kale and it was amazing. It is the perfect place for a multi-generational dinner.
One-pan chicken pilaf with salad
This is a recipe testing week so I haven’t written this up yet. I know how much you all love a good one-pan dinner though so I’m sure it will make it into the book. If you’d like something similar try this recipe for roast chicken with sticky garlic rice and greens from my site.
I posted all the details of how to make tacos, and why our family loves them so much a couple of weeks ago. Feel free to make yours with chicken (you could use some leftovers from Thursday).
Korean beef and rice with greens
This is another bit of one-pan recipe testing. I’m basing my version very loosely on a combination of one from Nigella’s book, Simply Nigella, combined with notes I’ve got from a bowl of bulgogi I ate at a street food event recently. I’ll let you know how I get on.
Roast chicken, carrot and swede (rutabaga) mash, roast sprouts and roast potatoes
This is one of my favourite comforting Sunday dinners. I posted how I make it in week 2 of my meal planning posts. Be sure to keep your chicken bones in the freezer until you have enough to make stock. It is so easy to make and will give you the most delicious base to future meals.
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.