Meal Planning

We’re all starting to shed our latest colds – slowly – which has meant my boys are back to eating like tiny little horses. What this translates to is last week’s entire menu being a raging success.

Yes, I did just high five myself.

This week’s menu is heavy on seafood and vegetarian dishes (shhh, don’t tell my husband), and the groceries came in under budget, whoop whoop. It’s also Chelsea Winter-heavy too. Again.

Sunday: steak with mushroom and bacon sauce – from At My Table; very tasty
Monday: cajun chicken burgers with avocado mayonnaise – as above; Pickle was the only one who didn’t like this
Tuesday: seafood fettucine – as above; my boys hoovered this last week, and I’m hoping they’ll do the same again
Wednesday: aloo gobi – from Curry; a dry potato and cauliflower curry
Thursday: creamy spinach and salmon fettucine – from At My Table
Friday:  mushroom soup – as above
Saturday: Spanish omelette

Meal Planning

Monday again?! Really?? Sigh.

This week’s menu was planned last minute, with a couple of cookbooks dusted off for a look-through. Earlier in the year I got rid of some that I no longer wanted, but recently realised that I kept some that still haven’t been opened in a while.

Meal PlanningI’ve tried to plan mostly dairy-free meals this week, after over-indulging at our Mid-to-Late-Winter Christmas potluck dinner. Suffice to say my system went a little nuts after all the dairy I consumed, so I’m easing back into a dairy-free lifestyle.

Sunday: Sloppy Joes with roasted potatoes – from Café Classics
Monday: seafood fettucine – from Chelsea’s book
Tuesday: tomato and meatball soup – another Chelsea Winter recipe
Wednesday: Thai chicken curry
Thursday: roasted pork shoulder with apple gravy
Friday: date-night-in tapas – from Tapas

Meal Planning

This week’s menu is a real mixture of family favourites and new recipes. I’m still enjoying flicking through different cookbooks and selecting a few to try each week, while trying to keep our food bill down. It was interesting watching Jamie Oliver’s new show, Save with Jamie, over the weekend – a reminder at how expensive fresh fruit and vegetables are here in New Zealand. As my boys get bigger and hungrier, I can see that our eating habits will change, and I’ll have to get over my snobbish views on frozen vegetables!

Fish Wraps.jpgSunday: fish wraps with mango salsa – a Chelsea Winter recipe that is fresh, inexpensive and delicious. My boys won’t eat the salsa because it has tomatoes in it, but they hoover up wraps and the fish like it’s their last meal on earth!
Monday: lasagna – a perennial favourite.
Tuesday: chipotle pork tortillas with apple slaw – I’m looking forward to trying this one! Wish I could remember where it’s from, though…
Wednesday: pea and ham soup with bread – from At My Table.
Thursday: chicken enchiladas – one of Tiny’s favourites, and super-easy (I cheat by using a jar of enchilada sauce, which makes this a quick weeknight dinner before yoga).
Friday: leftover soup
Saturday: Mid-to-Late-Winter Christmas Dinner – a catch-up with some cricketing friends and partners.

 

Kid-Friendly Chicken Curry

We eat a lot of curries, therefore my boys are not afraid of a little bit of spice. I do try and tone the heat down a bit when making a curry for the whole family to enjoy, but I love that both boys will happily tuck into a dish that is verging on a medium heat.

This curry is full of flavour, but not particularly spicy; it would be a good dish to make as an introduction to curry for a child (or an adult!) who was a little bit wary. Westerners have a tendency to believe that a curry is always going to be spicy, but this is often not the case, and we’re making a conscious effort to ensure our children are aware that a curry comes in a variety of flavours and styles.

Kid-friendly chicken curryChicken Curry – serves 4

4t tikka masala paste (or kashmiri masala paste, if you can find it!)
4T tomato sauce
1t Worcestershire sauce
1t five-spice powder
1t sugar
pinch of salt
8 chicken drumsticks, skins removed
3T rice bran oil
5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely shredded
4 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of 1 lemon
fresh coriander leaves

Mix the masala paste, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, five-spice powder, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Leave to stand until the sugar has dissolved.

Place the chicken in a large roasting dish and rub the marinade all over with your hands. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan. Fry half the ginger and all the garlic for a few minutes.

Add the chicken (in batches, if necessary) and seal on all sides. Lower the heat, cover and cooks until the chicken is tender and the oil has separated from the sauce.

Remove the wok or frying pan from heat. Remove the chicken from the sauce and shred the meat from the bones*; add the meat back to the pan with the lemon juice and remaining ginger, and mix well before heating through gently.

Serve with plain basmati rice, garnished with the coriander leaves.

* if you prefer to get messy, you can keep the meat on the bones – since getting my braces, I find it easier to eat if pulled. It also goes a bit further, and my kids will eat it better.

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Recipe adapted from Curry, by Mridula Baljekar

Menu Planning: a week of favourites

For this week’s meals, I’m going back to basics, making dishes we’ve enjoyed a thousand times* before. Mostly because the weekend has been busy and I didn’t have the luxury of spending an hour looking through new recipes, but also because it was an expensive weekend and I needed to pare back a little this week.

Sunday: leftover pizza for the boys, as I was out with a friend – adding a few boiled spuds to the plates ensured my littlest ones had plenty to fill their wee tummies.

Monday: meatloaf, boiled potatoes and coleslaw – always well-received.

Tuesday: wontons with fried rice – to reduce the fat-factor, I’ll bake the wonton pastry in muffin pans until they form crispy little shells, and fill with the cooked pork-and-veg mixture.

Wednesday: Kashmiri chicken curry – my littlest ones go nuts for this dish, and it’s a super-easy budget meal.

Thursday: chicken and vegetable soup – throw it all in and hope for the best (gorgeous Angela and lovely Belinda, plus assorted children, joined us for lunch last week and everyone ate loads of this soup, so I’m hoping to replicate the flavour if I can!).

Friday: leftover soup for the boys, while I go out with friends again.

Saturday: leek and brie tart – there’s a chance the weenies won’t like this, so I may make it date-night-in, and make them something like pasta and pesto, which they always love.

*possibly not an exact figure. Close to, though. Close to.

Everything from last week’s meal plan was very successful, with poor Tall having two little gannets demanding he share his beef stir-fry when he got home late!

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Don’t forget to enter my childrens’ book giveaway!

Meal Planning

I’m back on budget (way under, actually!) for this week’s menu – it’s amazing how much of a difference it makes when you do something as simple as check what meats are on special at the supermarket before planning your meals.

Roasted vegetable and feta tartSunday: Roast chicken with all the trimmings – Tiny ate all his chicken and a few veges, Pickle ate all his roasted vegetables and half of mine, so it was a mixed success, as always

Monday: Lasagne – my guaranteed meal for getting a load of vegetables into my boys. Tiny loves lasagne, and Pickle likes the pasta, but like many toddlers, is going through an anti-meat phase

Tuesday: teriyaki beef stir-fry with hokkien noodles

Wednesday: Butter chicken (my only Chelsea Winter recipe this week – amazing!)

Thursday: Spaghetti carbonara

Friday: Vegetable soup with garlic bread

Last week’s meals were mostly successful; the roasted vege tart was a bit bland, and due to running out of gas, I had to oven cook the steak for the sarnies (but the paprika mayo was very tasty)…the meal of the week, however, was the mushroom soup which was ah-maaaaaaazing. The recipe was supposed to serve 3-4, but Tall and I hoovered it down and basically licked our bowls clean, for a Friday date-night-in dinner.

Meal Planning

Much like last week, most of this week’s meals come from my new Chelsea Winter cookbook, At My Table. It’s been a long time since I bought a new recipe book (I got rid of a whole lot earlier in the year and vowed not to replace them), and I’ve been giddy with excitement at trying some new recipes. I did browse through others in my collection for inspiration this week, but the pull of Chelsea’s recipes is rather strong.

Meal PlanningSunday: Greek-style meatballs with yoghurt sauce and pita bread – enjoyed by all, but the meatballs were even tastier the following day.

Monday: crispy fish wraps with mango salsa – the mango salsa was divine, and combined with a mild fish like hoki, it was a very tasty meal indeed.

Tuesday: roasted pumpkin, beetroot and feta tart – meant for last week, but pork from the farmers’ market was calling our names instead.

Wednesday: steak and bacon sandwiches – I love a good steak sandwich, and the paprika mayo served with this one sounds goooooood.

Thursday: mushroom soup with crunchy mushroom toppers – it will be interesting to see whether my boys will eat this one!

Friday: chicken quesadillas – a family favourite that I make up as I go along.

Saturday: quick tomato macaroni cheese (from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Dinners) – sundried tomatoes and mozzarella should make for a delicious twist on this family favourite.

As for last week’s dinners, I’d say they were all a rollicking success. The salmon and cabbage red curry was amazing, the mediterranean sausage bake went down well-enough (except for the beans. None of my boys like beans.), and the creamy chicken pie was deeeeelicious.