Menu planning has to be one of the best habits I’ve committed to this year. I now have 8 months of menu plans to refer back to, which I know I’ll be so very grateful for when I come to the 12-month mark and can start looping back.
I’ve written about this briefly in my post on the “Calm Energy Routine” and it’s a habit that pays huge dividends. Less stress at 4 pm not knowing what’s for dinner, we can eat seasonally, save lots of money as we hardly eat takeaway and I’m always making enough for leftovers the next day.
I’ve been experimenting with different styles of menu planning/batch cooking, and I’ve settled on a very simple method that works for us. It goes something like this…
On Tuesdays, I receive the “preview” of what will be in our weekly fruits and veggie box, which coincides with the day we’re in Melbourne (DH works at the hospital around the corner from my folks’ place). This means I can snag some time to do domestic desk work – paying bills, catching up on communications, organising all the things, menu planning and placing grocery orders. This in itself has been a revolution by the way – I have FlyLady’s Basic Weekly Plan to thank for this!
Then on Wednesdays, I clean out the fridge and use up the rest of the veggies in a Heinz-variety meal.
Thursdays are when our new veggie box arrives and my online shopping order arrives.
So here’s what I have planned for the week ahead.
Seasonal Veggies We’re Working With
In our veggie box this week:
- Beets with leaves
- Broccolini bunch
- Cabbage quarter
- Cauliflower half
- Fennel bulb
- Potato Chats
- Spinach bunch
- Sweet Potato
Abundant in our garden:
- Purple sprouting broccoli
- Spring onions
Early Spring Week 2 Menu Plan
Thursday – Vegetarian Night
Fennel, Pea and Asparagus Rissoto made in my Instapot.
Friday – Date Night
Usually, we all have dinner together and DS1 eats what we’re having, but on Friday nights we feed him earlier (he’ll have leftover risotto – his favourite) and then we have something he generally wouldn’t like later on.
We’re watching “The Extraordinary Attorney Woo” at the moment, so spicy Korean is in order! Garden greens, beet leaves and kimchi fried rice (nice and spicy) with poached eggs on top. Lemon curd and berries for dessert.
Saturday – Roast
Roast leg of lamb with spring veggies and mint sauce. Vegetables I’ll likely be using are roasted potatoes, carrots, onions + frozen peas + steamed broccolini and purple sprouting broccoli.
Sunday – Leftover Revamp
“Happy & Hearty Scottish Broth” from Save with Jamie cookbook by Jamie Oliver uses up leftover bones from broth to make a broth (I’ll set this up in the crockpot in the morning) with shredded lamb, swede, pearl barley, carrots, potatoes, cabbage and peas + lots of fresh parsley + homemade hot oat rolls.
Monday – Crockpot
On Monday DS1 does a full day of daycare in the next town 40 minutes away and I use the local library as “the office” for my work day, so my Instapot comes into its own here! I just pop everything in at breakfast time and set it to slow cook function so we’ll come home to a hot meal waiting for us.
Black bean and beef chilli con carne (I’ll add in carrots, beetroot and frozen corn) with toppings: fresh shredded cabbage, guacamole, cheese, greek yogurt, lemon and lots of fresh coriander and spring onions from the garden.
Tuesday – In Melbourne
We’re usually in Melbourne on Tuesday nights so no cooking for me!
Wednesday – Fish
Baked salmon with leeks, roasted sweet potatoes and cauliflower (and any other leftover veggies from the week) + sauteed kale and chard in garlic and olive oil.