Menu planning (again!)

Welcome to Week 13 of Tidy2020. We are a quarter of the way through and I hope that having done your clothes, your books, your papers and your kitchen, that you are really starting to see the difference. If you are only just joining us, perhaps feeling that you’d like to take control of your home at this rather fraught time, then don’t worry, there is plenty of time to catch up. And gosh, what another strange week it has been with the UK going into lockdown. I was reading today that a quarter of the world’s population is now under some form of restriction; I’m surprised it’s actually not more!

Anyway, without further ado, let’s launch into this week’s task which is not so much a decluttering task as an organising one. If you have followed me for a while, you will know what a fan I am of menu planning and I think that this is even more important at the moment with so many of us at home with restricted access to shops.

This week’s task, then, is to set up a menu plan. I want you to start by writing down meals that you know that your household enjoys and then see if you can work this into a rhythm. We have a 4 week rolling menu that is based upon the following:

Monday; Stir Fry.

Tuesday; Fish or pork (steamed, poached, in a pie, sausages),

Wednesday; Beef (including Bolognese, meatballs).

Thursday; Chicken (with pasta, potatoes, rice, whatever!)

Friday; Fish and chips for the kids, a more grown up meal for the adults.

Saturday: Pizza for Movie night!

Sunday; Roast.

I’ve been menu planning since 2014 and it’s a work of art now! I make sure that things are spread out so that I don’t have Lasagne and chicken Alfredo in the same week, that the pork in hoisin sauce (stir fry) is not in the same week as Toad in the hole. Meals fall in and out of fashion in our house too. For years, we enjoyed Chicken and Boursin pie, then the kids hated it, now they love it. The same with risotto. We don’t stick rigidly to it either. Some days I get home exhausted and say, “How about we just have Scrambled Eggs?”, or maybe we’ve been out and had a sneaky McDonalds on our way home. In which case, I’ll look at the menu, see what can be moved around, what can be easily frozen and go from there. But the crux of the matter is that I know that there is food I can cook at home and that all the ingredients are there. It takes the mental effort out of feeding the family.

We have a less “set in stone” lunch menu. Lunch is a meal that my kids get themselves and it rarely varies for them. However, my husband likes to take this time to get a bit inventive. Where I would probably just be happy with a sandwich, I’m not going to turn a lovely meal down. This week for lunch (with him working from home), we’ve had Paella, Chorizo salad, Sweet Potato soup, Pasta with Smoked Salmon, Scotch Broth and Chicken Pilaf. We’ve also yummed up some of the left-overs from the week, such as the remains of the risotto from one night.

The excess from every meal tends to go in the freezer, to either eat as a lunch, or because I have cooked as a batch and it means that next time I want to eat Bolognese, I know that there is a portion already in the freezer and it makes things super easy. It saves money too!

So go on, for this week, give menu planning a try and see how you go. Really interested to hear how you get on!