Mealplanning
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Thread: Mealplanning

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    Registered User Kitchenbunny's Avatar
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    Default Mealplanning

    Does anyone do mealplans to keep on top of their food bills? I tend to do mine monthly (when I'm on top of things), but I always run out of seasonal or really interesting things to cook, and resort to using the same old meals over and over. Not necessarily a bad thing, mind, it's just I want to be varied and keep things fresh and interesting.

    It certainly helps me to keep the costs down (and reduce waste), but I don't know if there are any other ways to make the best use of my storecupboard supplies, buy when the best offers are about and make sure my lovely Fusband (future husband) eat well. Combining my ideas with other peoples could be that way.

    For example, at a stall on my local market there are 2 packs (roughly 1lb each) of offcut bacon chops and rashers, smoked and unsmoked, for £2. That's a lot of bargain bacon. I would happily buy that, split it up and put it in the freezer, but then I'd run out of ideas on how to use it. I normally do a really nice pasta all'amatriciana but beyond putting it in an omelette, I'm a bit lost. So, what I could do with are some ideas on what to do with the offers that I find, so my mealplans can be as frugal and fulfilling as possible.

    Thanking you kindly

    KB

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    Registered User britbunny's Avatar
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    Good morning KB,

    I do a menu plan and make an effort to try either a new food or new recipe each week to keep us from getting bored. I usually just have a look to the BBC Good Food website or love food, hate waste for ideas tbh. I now do mine weekly/every 10 days, I used to do it monthly but it was hard to think of things and also to imagine what we might be doing or want to eat in 3 weeks time so I never stuck to it. Doing it less often helps keep things fresh in my mind.

    If I see a good idea or try something new I put recipes in my binder - it's just a photo album and I write the recipes on a coloured postcard and slot it in. I have 4 sections 1. pies stews and bakes 2. rice, pasta and everyday meals 3. Asian and spicy 4, bread, basics, marinades and extras. This means I can just have a quick flick through to find a recipe. I mix these in with the household favourites and it usually works pretty well. It's not an instant fix though!

    Sorry this is a bit rushed and probably not what I wanted to say but my battery is about to run out!

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    I'd suggest a trip to the local library and checking out some cookbooks for some new ideas and inspiration, or browsing the Internet for recipes. The other day I knew I wanted to use some chicken breast tenderloins and some rosemary from the garden, so I was able to check some of my cookbooks and found a great recipe that fit the bill perfectly; and the recipe will quickly become a favorite. I like to try one new recipe a week to keep from doing the same old thing all the time.

    I also follow a simple guideline to break down menu planning:

    Monday: Big Meal (includes a large cut of meat and all the trimmings). This will serve as sandwich meat for lunches, base for casserole/s or soup later on in the week, servings of cooked meat might get placed in the freezer for future use for quick meals, etc....

    Tuesday: Leftovers - which may or may NOT take on a different form than they were in Monday's meal. Leftover roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy may become an opened-face hot beef sandwich, or if I cooked the potatoes and vegetables in with the roast, I can make what we call "hash" out of the meal (cube the potatoes and other vegetables, cubes of meat, add the gravy - almost like stew - and serve with baking powder biscuits or cornbread, a tossed (fresh greens) salad and fresh fruit for dessert).

    Wednesday: Stir-fry (a good way to use up veggies and bits of all kinds of meats) Since meat is the most expensive food I purchase, stir-fry is a great way to use less.

    Thursday: International - for us, that's usually something Mexican or Italian - some kind of taco shell or tortilla, or a pasta dish. Once again, low meat use - often it includes ground beef, ground turkey, or leftover meat from the freezer.

    Friday: Vegetarian - substituting meat with dishes made with less-expensive eggs, cheese, beans, grains...

    Saturday: Soup and/or Sandwiches (great way to make use of any leftovers from the rest of the week)

    Sunday: Homemade pizza (also a great way to use up leftovers), or in hot weather and when the garden is going strong, dinner salads.

    Having a category to follow for each day helps me narrow the type of foods and recipes I use for menu planning. It also allows me some flexibility. I can easily change any day of the week, one for the other, or leave it out completely when "life happens". I keep menus on index cards and keep a file for the 7-days of the week. So now I have many menus already planned for me by just going through my menu cards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitchenbunny View Post
    For example, at a stall on my local market there are 2 packs (roughly 1lb each) of offcut bacon chops and rashers, smoked and unsmoked, for £2. That's a lot of bargain bacon. I would happily buy that, split it up and put it in the freezer, but then I'd run out of ideas on how to use it. I normally do a really nice pasta all'amatriciana but beyond putting it in an omelette, I'm a bit lost. So, what I could do with are some ideas on what to do with the offers that I find, so my mealplans can be as frugal and fulfilling as possible.

    Thanking you kindly

    KB
    I'd fry that bargain bacon up with some chopped cabbage and onions, then add about 1/2 a cup of red wine or cider vinegar to it....YUMMY! That's one of our favorite meals around here.

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    I buy bacon ends and pieces. I cut them into little pieces and fry them up. I save the grease to season my cast iron and to cook with occasionally (it makes some things just taste better). I freeze the cooked bacon pieces. They are then used to liven up a casserole, tossed on a pizza, or whatever else I can think of. I pry the amount I need off the frozen hunk with a fork.

    When you have them already cooked and just waiting for you to use them, you think of tons of ideas for them. You can even thaw some and toss them on salads.
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    Registered User Kitchenbunny's Avatar
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    Freezing them cooked is a great idea; I think I'll start doing that Thanks for the tip As it happened I bought a couple of the packs of smokey bacon ends yesterday and used half a pack of chop-like ends in a meat-feast pasta dish. It was lovely

    Half a pack of smokey bacon ends, chopped
    5 herby butcher's sausages, chopped
    2 small (or one large) onion, sliced
    2 tinned chopped tomatoes
    Sprinkling of garlic powder
    1 tsp of mixed dried herbs (or more to taste)
    Salt & Pepper
    Pasta to serve with

    Tesco had some mozzarella on a price cut (the healthy eating stuff) so I bought a couple to try. Grated, which was a bit fiddly, it was nice but I think we'll both stick to grated cheddar which we know we both like.

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    Moderator mauimagic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitchenbunny View Post
    Freezing them cooked is a great idea; I think I'll start doing that Thanks for the tip As it happened I bought a couple of the packs of smokey bacon ends yesterday and used half a pack of chop-like ends in a meat-feast pasta dish. It was lovely

    Half a pack of smokey bacon ends, chopped
    5 herby butcher's sausages, chopped
    2 small (or one large) onion, sliced
    2 tinned chopped tomatoes
    Sprinkling of garlic powder
    1 tsp of mixed dried herbs (or more to taste)
    Salt & Pepper
    Pasta to serve with

    Tesco had some mozzarella on a price cut (the healthy eating stuff) so I bought a couple to try. Grated, which was a bit fiddly, it was nice but I think we'll both stick to grated cheddar which we know we both like.
    That recipes sounds good - and different for us. Mahalo!!

    I freeze a lot of meats in smaller packages - makes it easier for the two of us!! The other day the market had ground sausage on quick sale for 99 cents a pound - needed to used right away, so I fried it up, froze it - I'll use it when I make my HM spaghetti sauce.
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    just love that cheap bacon sometimes you get that large bit of bacon which is good but most of the time i keep bacon bits (cooked ) in the freezer for pizza, ect

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    Registered User Kitchenbunny's Avatar
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    I'm amazed. I parcelled the remainder up today to go in the freezer, and there's still enough for ten or so meals! Very impressive, that bacon

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