Meal planning!

I often post stories over on instagram whilst I am in the kitchen cooking and baking. People often reply asking where I get my recipes from and how I meal plan. Answering these kinds of questions inspired me to pen this post.

Our family at the moment is myself and my husband and our four children ages 7,5,3 & 1. We all sit down together at meal times and eat the same thing. Making different meals is not something I have ever done. Our children might not always eat everything they are served, but I encourage them to all at least try a bite of everything. One loves broccoli and another can’t stand it, one loves spice and another is not so keen.

I also have my groceries delivered weekly from Tesco. I purchased the delivery saver pass using my club card points and have done that every year. This means that there is no extra cost to me for having my shopping delivered right to my kitchen table. I cannot explain how big a game changer this has been for us!

So what do you do? Where do you start?

I start by logging onto the Tesco grocery app and making sure I have my normal slot booked. Then check out what is on offer for the upcoming week. I add anything I think sounds good to my basket. I also check the cupboards so see what we have in.

The next part is my favourite, I have a bit of a “thing” for recipe books… and have built up a decent collection.. I don’t need them all but Marie Kondo they ALL spark joy! I choose a few books and look up what they offer. IMG_0917.JPG

(Side note – this is about half of my books..) But you don’t actually need any recipe books, the internet is FULL of millions of recipes. Just search what ingredients you have and away you go!

I work best with a pencil and paper, writing a proper list of my intended meals and what other ingredients I need to order to make them happen.

I don’t buy everything from Tesco, a local shop gets deliveries from the butcher most week days and deliveries of fresh fish twice a week, I like to have fish at least once a week.

Once I have my list of meals I can put it in order of what day I plan to have what, this has to have some level of fluidity as plans change. I go and finish up my online order and pin the meal plan to the fridge.

Typical week 

Sunday: Roast chicken with potatoes and vegetables
Monday: Chicken and bacon pasta bake
Tuesday: Baked breaded haddock, potatoes, broccoli and peas.
Wednesday: Spaghetti bolognese
Thursday: Tacos (using left over bolognese with added black beans)
Friday: Prawn curry
Saturday: Home made Chinese night – sweet and sour chicken, beef chow mein

Extra tips:
If your recipe calls for half of something, decide if the other half can be used in another recipe that week or if you can freeze it. Plan around your left overs. By doing this you will minimise food waste and save time and money. If you have children who are unsure about vegetables, don’t stress yourself out. You can try and hide them in sauces, or you can cut them up bigger and ask them to take a bite.
If you know which fresh ingredients have the shortest shelf life, have them at the beginning of the week so they are in their best condition. Meat can be frozen and defrosted so don’t worry so much about that.

I hope this has been useful! Let me know what your tips are for family meal planning.

Hazel Ann x