Near the end of the week I start thinking about what meals I will make the following week and therefore what shopping I need to do. I have found it helps to have a rough list of what cupboard items I have and I just update this as I use things. In the past I would get into a routine of going food shopping and buying pasta or items that we use fairly often but would find, when I got home, that we already had loads of it! It saves us money and doesn’t waste food.
I try to add in some staple, favourite recipes, maybe tweaked a bit and one or two new ones. There is always one or two easy dinners such as something I’d previously made and put in the freezer or a pre bought burger or something, but most is made by me from scratch. I focus on the evening meal and Rich’s lunches and then my lunch as an afterthought, although I am getting better at planning that now, otherwise I end up grabbing bad naughty food! Sometimes the menu changes at short notice, if we go out for dinner or our plans change but generally I stick to them.
It is probably now that I should confess to having an addiction to buying cookbooks…I love nothing more than a new one arriving in the post and sitting with a coffee looking through it. It used to be general baking cookbooks I bought but now it is vegan ones. My newest is called Vegan Street Food by Jackie Kearney (she was on masterchef) and this meal plan features one from that book.
This menu is what we had last week, I’m doing them retrospectively so I can add some photos. Also Rich is doing Veganuary so all my meals are fully vegan this month, normally he has meat once a week, maybe twice.
Unless stated otherwise, I generally have porridge for breakfast. I put 40g oats in a container and add almond milk and 1tsp maple syrup, then cover and put in the fridge overnight. I can then eat them cold or, as I do at the moment, microwave them when I get to work. Rich has a Glo Bar, which is an oat, seed, nut granola type bar that I make for him. It is a recipe by Angela Liddon from her Oh She Glows Cookbook. We also both have at least 2 pieces of fruit at work/with lunch.
Lunch: Homemade vegetable soup with Ryvita/yeast spread, cucumber & Tomato. (Rich had leftovers).
Dinner: ‘Plate of Plenty’ (my version of a Buddha Bowl) which included Lemon Turmeric Cauliflower Rice, spicy chickpeas (just fresh tomato, chickpeas, garlic, chilli, paprika), homemade houmous (chickpeas, tahini, lemon, cumin, cayenne and water) and a spring onion, pea cheela (chickpea flour pancake from the Vegan Street Food Cookook).
Dinner: Lazy dinner of Tofu Hotdogs, rolls, crispy onions, wedges (chopped potatoes with oil salt and pepper) and salad. The hot dogs were Taifun Tofu Weiners which I got from Waitrose. Rich said they didn’t taste any different to meat hotdogs.
Lunch: Me – Homemade vegetable soup. Rich – Homemade wholemeal bread roll with leftover houmous, olives and salad (crisps…he loves crisps!). Seasonal fruit
Dinner: Orzo with Squash, Cannellini beans and Kale (I always try and add extra veg or in this case a small salad, and some nooch (nutritional yeast which is packed with B12 and has a cheesy tang!).
Lunch: Rich – Leftovers. I had lunch out with a friend.
Dinner: Vegetable Dhansak with rice and homemade samosas. I had made the Dhansak a few weeks back and had frozen some. I made cheats samosa with filo pastry as Rich needs some, easy to eat on the go, packed lunches this month and thought they’d be good for that.
The Dhansak recipe I use is actually a syn free, slimming world one:
2 onions peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2.5 cm ginger, peeled and chopped
2 red chillies, chopped
1 tbsp each coriander seeds and cumin seeds
1/2 tsp pepercorns
2 tsp each of ground turmeric and cinnamon
400g tin chopped tomatoes
175g each of red and yellow split lentils (or all red if you don’t have yellow)
2 carrots grated
1 tbsp garam masala
Put onion, garlic, ginger, chillies, coriander, cumin, peppercorns, cinnamon and turmeric in a food processor and blend to a course paste. Put in a heated non stick frying pan (I don’t uses oil or spray but have a good non stick pan, you can use oil or spray if not) and cook, stirring regularly, on a low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, lentils and carrots and just enough water to cover (approx 900ml). Bring to the boil, season with salt, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked (approx 45-60mins). The sauce should be thickend now, stir in the garam masala.
Dinner: it was meant to be Vegan Pad Thai from my new cook book, but the gas supply to our house failed (we are on LPG) so we only had the oven to use, which is electric. Good old Jacket Potatoes to the rescue… It was the first time I’d had to cook baked beans in the oven!
Lunch: we still have no gas supply! We were freezing cold and miserable so we caved and got chips from the nearest Chip shop.
Dinner: We ate out at Jamie’s Italian and had Olives, Tapenade and Bread to start, Penne Arrabiata with a vegan Caesar salad as mains, some funky chips (garlic) and Sorbet with fruit for dessert…all vegan.
Hopefully now we have a gas supply again, I’ll cook a bit more for the next meal plan which I will post easily next week.
Some other things I’ve cooked recently include: