Meal Planning – Planning ahead Menu

I don’t profess to be a frugal cook, but I do try to keep to a tight budget with my grocery spends, and meal planning is key to keeping those pounds and pence working for you. It gets me organised and focussed and stops me reaching for the takeaway menu πŸ˜‡

The first job is to ‘audit’ your current stock, list what youΒ have in the cupboards, fridge and freezer – I like to highlight the bits that are a priority to use up. Β I do a major check each month, then a weekly ‘update’ before I go shopping.

This weeks priorities to use up are large potatoes, Rocket leaves, fresh thyme, half a pack of bacon, lettuce and coriander – I also have 2 large pots of Greek Yoghurt to use up.

The second job is Meal Planning, simply working out what you will eat for the week ahead, if you know you will be late or busy on a specific night, then ensure you plan something speedy, or something you can cook ahead (maybe at the weekend) and reheat.

I meal plan from Wednesday to Wednesday as that is when I do my food shopping πŸ›’

The Yoghurt I have for work with a squidge of Honey or a spoon of granola.

This weeks plan is –

Wed – Bacon, Potato and onion Bake with salad (fridge finds)
Thurs – my Fish tacos (Cod from freezer stash)
Fri – is Date Night i.e I don’t cook – Friday is the day I like to play in the kitchen, baking, jamming, sorting, enjoying…
Sat – Lamb Burgers with Tadziki sauce salad and fries with crumbled feta
Sun – Good old fashioned roast chicken (from freezer stash)
Mon – Sweet Potato and chickpea curry
Tues – Left over Chicken Salad with Homemade Bread
Wed – Something with minced Beef – freezer stash

A small shopping list this week, as I have most in already

Lamb mince for the Lamb burgers
Salad Veg and fruit
Sweet Potatoes
Baking Potatoes
Eggs
Feta
Tin of chickpeas
Whatever green Veg looks good
Fresh coriander and mint
Cat food, milk, Greek Yoghurt, orange juice etc

Also some bits for work lunches for hubby and youngest (they also take leftovers from the night before’s meal)

I shop weekly at Aldi, as it is my local shop, I check out their special offers before going too, so I can adjust the meal plan to suit. Their Super6 change every 2 weeks on a Thursday, as I shop on a Wednesday, I can get the best of the last selection and nip back the next day if they have something amazing in their next selection – I buy loads when it’s something like leeks that can be sliced and frozen.

I also need to buy some coffee beans, (my little indulgence) and some Chicken Thighs – I get these from Bookers every 2 months or so.

I would love to hear how you ‘balance your books’ do you plan? do you bulk cook? Do you shop monthly, or indeed daily? What works best for you when it comes to making and planning your meals?

Author: emptynestfulltum

Hi - I'm a 49 yo Mum to 3 kids - Jordan (23), Grace (21) and Max (19). And Wife to my lovely Husband, Dave and step mum to 4 fur babies, our cats Eric, Ernie, Cilla and Bobbie. We live on the beautiful Isle of Wight, Hubby and I were born here, and just love our home. As I hurtle towards 50, my life as a full time (working) parent is coming to an end, with my eldest 2 kids living their own lives, and my youngest who started University in September. I realised that this is not a time to be sad, but a time to take time to spend time on some of the things I enjoy doing - mainly cooking, crafting and creating Pinterest boards for said thing s :) This blog is just a way for me to record the next stages of our lives - I hope you enjoy my ramblings...

7 thoughts on “Meal Planning – Planning ahead Menu”

  1. I’m lucky in that our budget can be quite elastic when I see offers or YS items on staples like chicken or salmon (I buy a whole when it is Β£5/6 per kg and cut into steaks plus the ends for fish pie or kedgeree & freeze, works out at about Β£1 a meal). One of our neighbours works for a kosher butcher in Manchester and often offers us a couple of free fresh chickens so that always helps. We have an allotment too, so rarely buy fruit & veg from the late spring to Christmas. I also find that having a DH who works mainly from home helps with leftovers, as he is happy to eat the oddest combinations & can turn a not-quite-portion of cold spag bol or carbonara into a mean tortilla!
    I also plan midweek, Thur-Wed for me as I work the first 3 days, and my kitchen playtime is Thursday & Friday afternoons (our date night tends to be Saturday when DH cooks).

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    1. I try and buy what we use most in bulk where possible, like chicken thighs for example. We are re sorting the garden, so hopefully next year we can grow more Veg, we have Asparagus which has been in for a few years, but work got in the way of much more, must do better πŸ˜‰ Luckily, like yours, hubby isn’t fussy with food, and will use up oddments too, youngest is more awkward, not because he’s fussy, but works weird shifts, and being zero hours contract never knows when he’s going to be in, 50 hours last week, 10 this πŸ™„ awkward to plan – I guess you plan around your allotment? I Need to get better at growing stuff 😊

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  2. think i will give market porter a go as you have shown some lovely pics of steak and i think burgers…we have just got a booker card so will take a look at the chicken they are fresh ones i presume. I think the frugal thing is an interesting discussion point…to me you are a frugal cook well from what you share you plan work out your portions and love your leftovers no waste surely the way forward do you remember economy gastronomy ? the sort of thing they used to do. get some notes with eat me written on or use a sharpie and go all alice in wonderland on the stuff you want to move…mine think its funny xx

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    1. Keep an eye out on MSE emails for Market Porter offers πŸ˜‰ Economy Gastronomy Ha – just buy a whole salmon and that will feed 3 for a week 🀣 I just hate throwing food away, careful not frugal, we love a steak, but if the kids turn up on steak night, it becomes Mongolian Beef night πŸ˜‡ Stretchy steak πŸ˜‰ I will rejig the fridge at the weekend and use your ‘eat me’ shelf idea – brill…. πŸ‘

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  3. hi good to hear from you xx i like to do meal planning i start with what we have in and group stuff i want to use on a shelf in the fridge or on the work top….i write a shopping list and go to aldi i keep an open mind if i see a good offer or a cheeky bargain that we can make good use of. I keep all receipts and add and log my weekly spends to keep track Im not keen on these race to the bottom threads that crop up on mse you know the i can feed 500 for 26p and i use free dust etc my families nutrition is really important to me and i try and cook variety and nice food really. Also like a wander to the local fruit shop and market to buy a big bowlful of whats cheap…toms and asparagus last week. I do struggle to get nice meat so any recommendations would be welcome mary x

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    1. That’s similar to me, I like food too much to be uber frugal, and lucky enough to not have to be too regimented if I go over by a few quid.
      With meat, I keep an eye out for Market Porter deals – their meat is very good quality and sourced from local producers – but I also buy 5kg of chicken thighs for Β£20 from Booker as they are a brill standby as well as Aldi specials and from our local butcher when we want a treat.
      I like the idea of grouping stuff to use one one shelf – it would help the ‘menfolk’ too as they would know what they can grab – maybe I need a ‘use me’ box for the fridge πŸ€“

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