This weekend I met some of my friends for coffee and the evening did not quite go the usual way. All three of them were lamenting on how difficult it is for them to cook, clean and look after their kids of course including their 1st child – their husbands, in a sans servant household. For our surprise our conversations have never landed on this topic all these days for me to share my super meal plan with them. AND I thought I might as well share it with you guys.
Here goes the perfect Meal Plan.. well at least it works well for our little family. It saves time, money and sanity! It buys me loads of peaceful time, I can watch some TV while I feed Ahran, and LITERALLY enjoy a cup of coffee without having to worry about what to cook for dinner/lunch/breakfast. All I have to worry about is Ahrans meals (browse through my baby food made easy section for tips).
Basics you will need : a microwave, plastic microwave containers with lids, zip-lock bags, some permanent markers or other forms of labels, a good freezer (lol, these are common sense, I’m just exaggerating) 😉 For a week we usually spend less that SRS. 4000 approximately for 10 days including poultry, meat and fish.
Hubby and I usually plan on what we would look forward to eat in the coming week (7 days, 7 × 3 = 21 meals). Our meal plans usually consist of an ‘eat out / order in dinner’ and a ‘hubby’s curry lunch’ meal or other fun elements each week.
Next I write down all the groceries I’d need for the preparation of the meals. I make sure I don’t miss anything to avoid going back again in the mid of the week which wouldn’t serve the purpose of the plan.
I find a good time when Ahran takes his long nap or I stay awake a few hours after he is off to bed at night or may be invite my cousin so that I can concentrate and cook up everything while she looks after Ahran.
Then I do the bulk cooking. Some good tips are:
1. Boil pastas/some sheets of lasagna al danté so that you can incorporate #2 and #3 and bake it in the oven or toss it on the skillet / make a salad for a variation on another day (fridge)
2. A good meatball with bolognese sauce gravy (freeze)
3. Grate some cheese and zip-lock it (freeze)
4. At least 7 or 8 varieties of vegetables some cooked in coconut milk-Lankan way (to go with rice) or tossed with just some olive oil and salt&pepper so when i heat it up I can throw in some soy sauce and oyster sauce for a Chinese stir fry dish and yes some cornstarch dissolved in water too. 😉 As easy at it sounds.
5. A chicken dish, couple of fish dishes, a beef dish with gravy (freeze)
6. Season and boil some chicken and some beef for frying (freeze)
7. Marinate some prawns (freeze). You can make a good batter and fry ’em for an evening snack.
8. Make a ‘ready to make’ but ‘home made’ pancake mix (click here for recipe)
9. Stock in some cellery sticks, black olives, fetta cheese and ice burgh lettuce to toss in and make salads with a dressing (just add some vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste may be som garlic chopped). you can make any combination as you please but please don’t FREEZE! 😛
10. A whole chicken breast boiled or unboiled as you please (freeze). This is for quick toasts OR you can do #9 below
11. Make some beef based filling and chicken based filling (depending on how much time you have). These fillings can be spread on bread/pita bread and wrapped/rolled between paratas or rottis from the shop or just eaten with leftover pasta from what you bake. (Click here for recipe) This is a ‘must have’ for breakfasts and dinners. Most of my breakies revolve around wraps, sandwiches, toasts, pancakes and crackers and cheese and ALWAYS with a hot cup of ginger tea.
VOILA! This is pretty much it. There are some families that follow the meal plan for a month concept which I don’t stand by because I feel however busy you might be it is important to stay healthy and try to retain as much nutrients as you can from your food. I believe that storing food for more than 7 days (maximum 10), would lose it’s nutritional value as well as taste. So, I prefer the weekly plans. Once you are done with all these all you have to do is freeze or refrigerate as suitable and heat it on stove top or microwave and serve whenever needed. And did I forget to mention, you might want to label them with the date of preparation in case you would like to keep some food for long, say marinated fish for shallow frying?.
You can always come up with different impromptu ideas with leftovers and have them the following mornings. I have shared my ideas above and I don’t obviously make that whole lot of food for 7 days. I just go on alternate weeks with different menus and the above list pretty much sums up the month’s eat!
When you read along if you got any ideas to share with us you may do so in the comment section below. You can always toggle down to my recipes section for my own easy to prepare recipes that I do incorporating some great and healthy ingredients available in Sri Lanka. Hope this helped. ☺