A bit of this and that...with added frangipani.

Monday, June 27, 2011

An Attempt at Menu Plan Monday

A shopping list is a must in our household, but I find that if I do the list without having something in mind to cook during the week, I end up buying out the supermarket. Food goes to waste and we end up eating pasta seven days of the week regardless.

Lately, I've been trying to do up a menu plan before I do the shopping list. It helps me to buy only what I need and, usually, reduces the amount of wasted food and time spent standing in front of the pantry/fridge scratching my head wondering what I'm going to cook.

My menu plan usually gets chopped and changed and, depending on what's happening in our hectic schedule, it can look very different at the end of the week to what was planned at the beginning of the week.

For example,
this is what my menu plan looks like today:
  • Monday: Steamed Fish with Asian Greens
  • Tuesday: Chicken and Leek Pie  (this is a new favourite website of mine, a Kidspot Top 5 Blogger)
  • Wednesday: New Potato Spinach and Feta Frittata and Salad
  • Thursday: Beef Burgundy and Rice*
  • Friday: Caramelised Chicken Cutlets with Rice and Stir-Fried Vegetables*
  • Saturday: Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie*
  • Sunday: Curried Sausages with Rice
and this is what we will most likely end up eating:
  • Monday: Swimming lessons = Pasta mixed with canned chicken soup and melted cheese on top
  • Tuesday: Tennis lessons = Cheap Tuesday pizza
  • Wednesday: Soccer training = Fried egg sandwiches
  • Thursday: More soccer training = Pasta with passata mixed with beef mince and called bolognese
  • Friday: Exhausted after busy week = Meat pies and chips
  • Saturday: Two lots of soccer games during the day = 2-min noodles
  • Sunday: It's Sunday = Fish fingers, mac and cheese with frozen peas (if they are lucky, the peas have been thawed in the microwave).
I am exaggerating (only) slightly, but indeed the scrumptious meals that I plan will often get substituted with something quick and easy that the children will actually eat. By the end of the week, I am lucky if we managed to make two of the recipes on my plan.

I'm working on it, and if it wasn't for the fact that I am at least trying to plan our menu, it would look like the second version every week of the year.

Do you have any useful tips for weekly meal planning or are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person?

* I might share the recipe for this with you, if it ever comes to pass.


  1. I try to plan, but half the time, the kids turn their noses up at nutritious foods and prefer something quick and simple. I'm really into healthy eating and try to make as much as possible from scratch, but often find they just want something simple.

  2. My experience has been if you don't plan ahead; shop ahead; I end up doing the same - preparing meals impromptu! So, now that we are eating more healthy meals I had to make an effort to plan ahead and spend some time on the weekend shopping and cooking some items in bulk! My one daughter loves any and all food where the other is a picky eater! We are continuously introducing new foods to them and have been slowly but surely seeing some positive changes in her eating various healthy GREEN vegetables!

  3. I must plan ahead. I hate being at the store with no idea of what to buy. We vary from our schedule too. I have recently learned to plan one flexible night because I know I won't cook as many times as I thought I would. And if I do end up cooking, there's always pasta in the pantry!

  4. I WISH I was a planner. Instead I'm more of a "you get what you're given" type of gal. I might give the menu planning another go this week ;-)

  5. MaidinAustralia: You know, sometimes I think that the more effort I put into a meal, the least likely it is that they will eat it. Sometimes they just want simple.

    Life is like...: I am currently on a roll with the kids. My picky one has suddenly found his appetite and things that he has picked at in the past are getting gobbled up quickly. I think he's in a growing spurt.

    ~she~: Well, there's a flaw in my plan in that I have chosen the most time-consuming dinner for a day when I am busiest. Also, the shopping I planned to do yesterday didn't happen, so until I can get to the shops tomorrow, it is probably going to be pasta tonight!

    Jade: I like that, "You get what you're given". I think it is just a matter of necessity for me. I really have to make my food budget stretch to the nth degree and if I don't plan it, it gets expensive. Good luck with yours!


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