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planning meals

(61 Posts)
Fennel Mon 25-Mar-19 17:09:56

Following on from the 'Scratch meals' thread, do any of you plan menus in advance? Or just go from day to day?
I've got to the age when it's quite an effort to produce a healthy main meal every day. We have a filling lunch and a light supper, whatever we fancy.
I asked my husband and he said "eggs beans on toast every day for me". But I would hate that.
I've wondered about planning a week's menus, then a shopping list and shop once a week. But I enjoy shopping smile.

Oldandverygrey Mon 25-Mar-19 17:30:48

Fennel, I plan ahead for a weeks meals. Am on SW food plan, so have to be fairly disciplined,

Susan56 Mon 25-Mar-19 18:07:24

We planned the weeks meals for the first time yesterday then went shopping.We were so tired when we got home,we just had beans on toast so already our plan is out the window but we will keep trying.

M0nica Mon 25-Mar-19 19:40:39

I have planned my weekly menus, since I first started work and was living away from home. Supermarkets closed at 5pm so I could only do a food shop on Saturday. I also used to go down to the local Saturday market and stock up with fruit and veg and there was a marvellous butcher and cheese store there. The main thing is to build in some elasticity into your plan so if something happens you can do a quick replan.

I always start my weekly plan by surveying the fridge to see what needs to be used up, before writing out a plan, check the recipe for any meals that require one for that odd ingredient you always forget and do not forget to check your stock of any herb/spice you need. I have been caught out that way.

I also bulk cook. I will cook a casserole using a lb of meat and then put a portion on each plate and portion the rest into containers in the freezer. That way I currently have a stock of about 20 home made ready meals in the freezer, for days when I cannot be bothered or do not have time to cook.

hdh74 Mon 25-Mar-19 20:00:35

I like to plan meals for about half the week, so I know what to shop for, then just throw together whatever I want the rest of the week. When I make a stew or curry or whatever I make enough to freeze for another day so there's usually some stuff in there that just wants reheating. I like to pick up odd bargains that are marked down at the shop too so don't want it all planned out as never know what will be going cheap.

merlotgran Mon 25-Mar-19 20:29:41

I like to plan ahead and always make a shopping list. I do have 'use up' days though and concoct something out of whatever's in the fridge.

I don't bother bulk cooking as things would just lurk in the freezer but I do make chicken stock and soups which are frozen in plastic take-away containers as they are a perfect size for two portions and stack neatly.

MawBroon Mon 25-Mar-19 20:36:33

Does anybody remember Jocasta Innes’s “The Pauper’s s Cook Book”

She would give recipes and shopping lists to feed a family in the most economical way using and adapting leftovers to make something different. Brilliant book, full of good sense and inspiration. It was my bible in the 70’s !
She not only taught me to plan but to avoid any waste whatsoever.
Wish I could turn the clock back!

BBbevan Mon 25-Mar-19 20:50:06

I plan all my weekly meals on a Thursday. Make a shopping list of what is needed, and go shopping on Friday. Fridge is very empty by Wednesday but we don't throw much away. Any vegetables left over at the end of the week are made into soup. DH and I follow a low carb diet ,I cook from scratch every day.

Carolina55 Mon 25-Mar-19 20:57:37

I could have written M0nica’s post, every sentence!

M0nica Mon 25-Mar-19 21:05:52

hdh74planning doesn't stop you buying bargains when they appear. I often do last minute adjustments to my plan when I am in the supermarket because either there is a bargain, or something key isn't in stock.

Carolina55 Mon 25-Mar-19 21:12:17

True M0nica- I’ve been known to amend the whole week’s plan because so much lovely food was in the reduced section and recipes came into my head thick and fast as I was loading it all into my trolley!

Only downside to the above is DH often asks what’s for dinner tonight over breakfast, spends all day looking forward to it and is totally nonplussed when I serve up the days bargain buy!

tidyskatemum Mon 25-Mar-19 21:19:40

I make a rough plan for the week ahead but it often goes to pot when I get sidetracked in the whoops and special offers sections. I try to readjust to the new set of ingredients which can result in a new recipe discovery - or just a stockpile in the freezer for a cheap shop another day!

M0nica Mon 25-Mar-19 21:22:28

Thankfully DH usually doesn't ask until he is about to sit down. On occasion he has asked or I have said what we are having and - yes- he too then gets confused, when he expected a pork chop and ended up with spaghetti Bolognaise.

hdh74 Mon 25-Mar-19 21:43:07

I'm a bit of a chuck it in and see sort of cook when the mood takes me, and I like to try out any new ingredients I find. So DH regularly asks me what it is after I've put it in front of him, and I have no idea myself. grin

GrandmainOz Mon 25-Mar-19 21:56:58

I'm a bit like you hdh74 I shop weekly and usually have a firm plan for about the first four days, and then the rest of the week, I "create" dishes around what's left. Eg I only used half that cauliflower so tonight it's cauliflower cheese, didn't use all that mince in my bolognese so tonight I'll mash those few potatoes I have left and throw together as a cottage pie. That'll also use that little bit of cheddar if I grate it on top etc

Cabbie21 Mon 25-Mar-19 21:57:55

We have a routine but with built in flexibility.
We have a roast on a Sunday, cold on Monday, and if there is any left I make something with it for Wednesdays, when I have a quick turn round at tea time. Tuesdays and Fridays are fish nights, so that leaves Thursdays and Saturdays to think about.
If I remember, I take something out of the freezer to thaw overnight and put it in the slow cooker the next day, and put one or two portions in the freezer. Or something that cooks quickly like spaghetti Bolognese. Sometimes we might need to eat separately and there is always a home made meal in the freezer. Or corned beef and veg, which we both like. We rarely eat out as DH likes his veg really mushy. Occasionally we might have a Chinese takeaway or I make a stir fry. We are not very adventurous!

JackyB Mon 25-Mar-19 22:46:31

I have kept a spreadsheet with a plan for each week for around 20 years now. Now I am retired, I am still trying to break the habit of shopping on a Saturday and going on a Friday morning or some other time when others are at work. Fairer on them and less hassle for me!

So, yes, I do have a plan, but I don't necessarily keep to it.

To balance things out and prevent having the same thing two nights in a row, I have one column on the spreadsheet with the main ingredient and another with the accompaniment (pasta, rice, potatoes..) Because there are different numbers of each, each pairing only repeats about once a month. Mind you, I can never think of much for the pairing "cheese and rice" except risotto with parmesan in it.

But hey ho - our mums used to cook the same thing every day of the week. Mondays it was the leftover roast with chips or mash, Fridays fish., etc.

hdh74 Tue 26-Mar-19 00:09:41

Yeah, that's very similar to how I work GrandmainOz - and we hardly ever have any food waste.
I make all kinds of soups with whatever needs using up in the fridge for lunches too.

GrandmainOz Tue 26-Mar-19 02:03:30

Yes hdh74 "whatever's in the fridge" soup. Often do that on a Friday and freeze smile

M0nica Tue 26-Mar-19 08:15:40

I am always collecting new recipes that a appeal to me, mainly from newspapers and magazines plus recipe cards in shops. I usually try these out at the rate of about one a week. If it works, it gets put on the system. If it doesn't it goes out (the recipe, not the food). About once a year I go through the collection and chuck out those that have gone out of favour.

kittylester Tue 26-Mar-19 08:33:23

That's my system to Monica.

I pre plan and shop on Thursdays. My day with no plan is usually Tuesday and I either use something pre cooked from the freezer or the ingredients we haven't used when a change of plan occurs. I'm late home on Wexnesdats and too tired to cook so we either have homemade chilli or curry from the freezer or M&S chicken or fish in gf breadcrumbs with oven chips and coleslaw.

Badenkate Tue 26-Mar-19 08:48:00

I've worked out a weekly menu/shopping list every week since we were married in 1970 and had £13 per week to live on for everything. Thankfully things are much easier now, but I still do the list every Sunday. Then I put in my on-line order during Sunday for delivery Monday, and do a top-up shop Friday. This doesn't mean we stick to my menu, often we don't, but I need that framework. I have this good intention of trying out new recipes, but, quite honestly, we have meals we really enjoy and just keep going back to them.

ninathenana Tue 26-Mar-19 08:52:50

We write a menu plan as a family on a Thursday along with the list for shopping on Friday. I have to plan our menu around DD shifts. As if she is on a late it needs to be something she can zap when she gets home. I find it cuts down on the food bill as well as saving the hassle of "what's for dinner"

BradfordLass72 Tue 26-Mar-19 09:47:24

Unless I have guests, I never plan meals.
I rarely know what I'm going to feel like eating anyway and only eat when I'm hungry, so no set times either.

Living alone means I can indulge myself, listen to my body and if I want a meal of just broccoli or cauliflower, that's what I'll have.

Sometimes I'll eat once a day, other times, if I'm hungry, twice. I never eat after 4pm

It may choose porrage for dinner, or fish for breakfast, which I never eat before 10:45, even though I'm up at 6am most mornings; decaf coffee is enough until I feel hungry.

Because I am unable to shop without help, my little freezer is handy and I keep a selection of vegetables so I can get a handful to stir-fry, or make soup. With that I may or may not have fish or seafood.

If I have guests and family, then I do plan, especially desserts as my DIL loves home made cheesecake, mille feuille, chocolate mousse or brownies: all things I'd never make for myself.

It's a long time since I had a posh dinner party but I used to love planning for them.

Fennel Tue 26-Mar-19 10:07:48

You all seem more organised than I am.
Though I do have a sort of plan. I do a lot of cooking on Thursday/Friday, usually a large piece of brisket, or a chicken casserole, and this lasts us over the weekend, and usually Monday. Then Tues. and Wed. something fishy, probably a fish pie, or fried fish with risotto.
Thursday a scratch meal.
What I don't do is plan on paper and make a proper list because I've been going out nearly every day, for the exercise.
The question came up because I can't walk much at the moment because of another fall [mad].