Friday, 6 July 2012

Organising July - the meal plan

So my internet is down. How to post? Well I have sneaked off to the 'office' of my employers, a rather swanky shed garden office, and am quickly going to upload a post that I wrote yesterday sans internet...


Meal planning.

Sometimes I’m brilliant at it (yes, I know, blow my own trumpet why don’t I) and sometimes I am totally and utterly rubbish. I have a love-hate relationship with the whole thing. I know it makes sense - when it works out, I have a lovely plan of everything we are going to eat – usually for a month. When it's worked out REALLY well, it means that I've had lots of time to sit around flicking through my lovely stash of cookbooks and horded magazines, working out lovely balanced meals that all the family will enjoy (there's lots of lovely going on there isn't there). This makes shopping lists easier, and helps me feel that I am in control, because let’s face it, I’m really not.

When it doesn’t work out, well, then, we eat a lot of pasta and I spend a lot of money in the local Co-Op. In fact, the meal planning began in earnest when, at the end of one particularlly skint month, I actuyally added up everything I'd spent in the Co-Op (one of the curses of being a horder is that I always have my receipts stuffed into my purse).

I started this month, more than most, feeling the need to get a grip on something in my life.

We’re in the last 3 weeks of term and there are various end of term events that need to be negotiated, the kids are knackered, the Husband’s work is threatening to remove him from us for days here and there and for a full week later on in the month (the week immediately before we go on Scout camp). It’s the village ‘Sheepfair’ next weekend, which is an excuse for 2 days of drinking a great local event which happens once every 4 years, and my father in law will be staying, then my Mum is coming for a couple of days (and to take possession of the dog for his ‘summer holidays’). We go on scout camp for the last week of the month, well, Saturday to Friday (involving a whole other meal plan in itself), and then the French girl we are hosting for 3 weeks arrives on the Sunday.
I needed to get ORGANISED.

For me, most things start in the kitchen, so getting organised usually involves me planning, to a greater or lesser extent, what meals we will eat around whatever thing it is that is making me stress, but little else. As the whole of July is pretty much stressing me out at the moment, I have planned out (mostly) the meals for a month, and am starting to feel a little calmer. if i'm being totally honest with myself, it's fair to say that we will prbably go off plan at east once a week, but that doesn't matter, because it has served its purpose. I am organised.

This month has majored heavily on various back copies of July Good Food magazines which I have kept because at some point I decided that they were good issues to keep (I had a major clear out a year or so ago) with a couple of old favourites from Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall and Nigella thrown in for good measure.

The recipes are picked on the basis of ease of preparation, amount of vegetables and general yumminess. Seeing as how I have been so efficient, I thought I’d share my plan with you. There are some holes. You can improvise. I will be!

2nd Kids out

Left over burgers; salad; bread
3rd Husband away

Cheese & marmite pasties (GF June 2012 but already in freezer), new potatoes, carrot sticks; strawberries & ice cream

4th Husband out; kids pick up 4.30

Macaroni peas (Veg Everyday)
5th Rainbows

BBQ – taking pudding (from Kitchen by Nigella) & salad

Salmon, green beans, new potatoes

Away for night


9th After school hordes; Cubs

Pork burgers with herby chips (GF July 09 p26)
10th extra long ballet

Pea & watercress pasta (GF July 10 p33)
11th kids pick up 4.30

Lamb meatballs
12th  Last Rainbows – Olympic theme

Summer salad with anchovy dressing (GF July 09 p 27)


14th Sheepfair

15th  H to Saudi

16th H away, Allotment Junkie here; Cubs

Cheesy bean burgers (GF July 10 p26)
17th H away, AJ here

Lemon & Rosemary pork (GF July 10 p39)
18th H away; kids pick up 4.30
19th H away; Pink to M&T’s  party

Cheese & Marmite pasties (as for 03/07)

Off to camp!!










27th Home from camp


Post camp BBQ
29th French girl arrives


African Chicken (Kitchen, Nigella Lawson)


And, yes, I know. I know what you're thinking. "She's a freak!". Frankly, I'm not sure I should have shared the fact that I am so blimmin anal about it, but doesn't it look FABULOUS?? I'll admit to have made a special effort for the purposes of this post - usually, it's all scribbled in, with lots of crossings out, but it works for me.

Do you meal plan? I'm linking up with some other meal planners  at home with Mrs M and feel like I'm not alone, so if youmeal plan too, come and join in!


  1. I need to meal plan, but I use a weekly plan, I dream of being able to do a monthly one!

    1. I go through phases. I do like a monthly plan because I can work out bulk cooking better (e.g. one lot of bolognaise sauce for 4 meals etc) Otherwise I forget that I've bulk cooked and go and get more mince (or whatever)...

  2. I sort of meal plan, with monthly or fortnightly supermarket shops it works out so that I decide on weekend main dinners, cook as if there were four, five or six of us and then we have portions in the fridge and freezer to eat during the week. As they add up we can mix them about a bit. Planning usually comes from the meats and fish that are on offer for a particular delivery rather than going through the recipe books-one day it will work like that and Delia, Hugh, Good Food and Olive will guide me again... I keep on dreaming!

  3. I am rubbish at this. I end up bulk cooking, throwing it in the freezer & forgetting it's there.

    We end up buying takeout too much because I have full cupboards (tins & packets) but no fresh meat or veg!

    I need help!

    1. I do that - bulk cook, freeze and forget. I'm going to sound very annoying, but by doing a monthly meal plan, I can write in when I'm going to eat all those servings and then I'm less likely to forget. There are some good 'storecupboard' recipes around which I use quite a bit. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's chick pea pasta is good - sounds unlikely but it's delicious and the only fresh thing you need is a lemon (which I always have, for gin)

  4. I only ever make weekly meal plans! I cant think much further ahead :D

  5. I aspire to monthly meal planning....although I think the other half would have a fit if I suggested it....!

  6. I aspire to monthly meal plans but I think the husband would despair....!

  7. I menu plan but my goodness that is incredible, couldn't do a month at once! We do it on a week by week basis, there's only DP and I though so don't need to be overly organised!

  8. Thanks for all your comments - sorry to be rubbish but with no internet at hom eat the moment, I'm having to be speedy on blog stuff. HOpefully normal service will resume later in the week !


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