Saturday, 11 August 2012

Meal planning thoughts...

As a mum of 3 growing children and a wife to a husband that eats large portions I find it hard to keep track of a sensible food shop.
Don't get me wrong we eat what I would call pretty healthy, lots of fruit and veg and I rarely allow any treats. (mean mummy!)
Since being back at home I've really got into my Jamie Oliver cooking which I am enjoying and finding it helps keep track of a sensible spend.

However any top tips to add to bulk freezing for example are much appreciated.
Fruit picking was a good idea as it meant a affordable day out and some fresh fruit in one. Bonus.

Similarly in the world of apps what is recommended? You can't beat a good old pen and paper but if there is a great app worth having all for it- please share!

1 comment:

  1. Well I have tried and learnt a few things over the years.

    I love jamie oliver too have most of his books but often adapt some of his recipies which can work out pricey.

    Most of the pound shops do plastic tubs with lids normally £1 for pack of 6 like you get from chinese.These normally last 2-3times per use if careful when washing. I find these handy for freezing each portion, they do all different sizes so can get diffrent size for kids as come in 500ml, 750ml and 1litre.

    The cardboard and foil ones are ideal for doing desserts so I find crumbles easist and cheapest to do just add custard and icecream then.
    Cheese cakes freeze well too.

    The best things I find to cook in batches and large portions generally is lasagne, canneloni, sheperds pie, cottage pies, currys and casseroles.

    You have to be careful freezing rice.
    but useful standbys is bulk making mash potato as that can be added to sausages with gravy, side to other dishes, or top up cottage/sheperds pie.

    Another is a a huge amount of pasta sauce made from passata, herbs, other bits of veg.
    With the kids im quite sneaky i cook a little bit veg so broccoli and 1-2others then blend and add to the passatta so has hidden veg.
    Me and hubby prefer a spicy sauce with chili. carton passata 29p right now in lidl we bulk buy passatta and chopped tomatoes. as saves us buying jars.

    when you have it ready made, frozen just needs quick blast in micro to defost then can be added to pasta, used in lasagne or added to mince to make spag bol or even pizza.

    if you make it non spicy and defrost you can always tweak it and add chilli powder and beans and do chilli con carne and rice.

    dont forget to label tubs with stickers with description and date. best use within 3months.

    you can freeze most things including bread , milk and cheese.

    I have made jamies pizza dough and frozen with success but you could try making a pizza not cooking then wrapping in foil and freezing think works best is pizzas partially cooked for like 5mins before freezing.

    pastry can also be made and frozen.
    my family love mini quiches and homemade pasties which freeze lovley and ideal in lunchboxes.

    also muffins can be frozen so make put individually in sandwich bags then freeze and defrost one at a time. theres some fab recipies out there for breckfast/savoury muffins.

    Advise you freezing anything snacky that could be used for kids, lunch boxes or picnics in small bags as quicker to defrost.

    Ok fruits blackberries out early look now. again you can freeze in several tubs. I like to make blackberry and apple crumble and freeze or even stewed fruit which is just fruit and sugar can be lush in pancakes or with icecream or stirred into natural yogurts bit like muller fruit corner.

    Theres plums out now too and hazelnuts be ready soon.Theres stuff everywhere even in cities and more urban environments.

    Best advice is keep full store cupboard staples so flour, sugar,pasta, tinned tomatoes, passata, rice , stock, gravy, herbs, spices, salt, pepper, oils, dried pastas, noodles. I also keep some fruit tinned, golden syrup, honey,yeast for baking, baking powder, cocoa powder, diffrent sugars makes life so much easier .

    meal plan have a meal plan with list of lunches and breckfasts for next 7days then make a list and stick to it. I find shopping in about 4different places per month keeps my costs down.

    If I dont use batchcooked meals I keep it simple so jacket potatoes, soup and roll, wraps,sandwiches, toasted sandwiches with wedges, stirfrys, omlette and chips, savoury pancakes or just pasta with sauce and chopped up bacon peices or pancatta with grated cheese and value garlic bread.

    apps cant help with but mse old style forums really good.