Tag Archives: pre-planning meals

Monthly Menu: May

This pasta recipe, except I substituted Asparagus that are out of season, for French beans.

Pumpkin soup with bacon crumbs.



Roasted vegetable couscous – I used aubergines, onions and peppers.

Potato bake (I like mine with peeled potatoes and I sometimes add tuna) with stir-fried french beans with sesame seeds and pine-nuts.

Monthly menus: September

This month, I intend to cook:

Pasta tuna bake with cauliflower/broccoli with lemon Dessert: Malva pudding

Butternut and lentil curry with plain rice

Grilled lemony fish fillets, potatoes and stir fried vegetables Dessert: Custardy Apple cake

PS: The ice cream making is on pause because I don’t have freezer space!

Monthly menus: August

Following up from this post about how to save on your cooking budget and ensure that you eat healthy at the same time.

A key part of preparing that shopping list is item (4) i.e pre-planning meals for the upcoming month and then determining whether those ingredients are available/ if they must be bought with that months shopping. As you know I love to write lists and so I have a rough list showing all the different categories of foods I like to eat and then I can mix and match as necessary so it lists carbs, vegetables and proteins.

For the month of August, this is what I have in store to cook. With time, I shall start to take pictures and a re-cap of what works and what doesn’t.

Pasta with chicken livers and bacon (and herbs) & cabbage with mustard seeds.

Roasted vegetables with couscous. Dessert: Coconut and Cardamom Pannacotta 

Potato Bake & Roasted butternut.  Dessert: Fresh Spearmint Ice cream and Vanilla frozen Yoghurt

Baked mushroom risottoDessert: Orange self-saucing pudding

Happy eating!



How to: Pre-plan meals

In this day and age of rising food prices, its important to try and save a quick buck on meals without compromising on the nutritive value. Below, this is how I go about thinking of cooking meals, both at the shopping level, actual cooking and there in between.

  1. Have a list of quick and favourite meals that can be made quickly and that are a firm favourite with the family.
  2. Stock your pantry with certain standard/”go-to” ingredients. These will vary from household to household, mine include: baked beans, pasta, rice, nuggets, cereal, cheese and cream.
  3. Use a “master” shopping list to quickly determine what’s missing and what you need to include in your shopping list. This way you can shop in one go and not miss out on key things. This minimises time spent shopping later in the month. However, for items such as milk, bread and certain fruits, it would be necessary to purchase those on a weekly basis.
  4. Think through the up-coming meals for the month. There is many ways to do this: (a)  cook for the week, freeze extra portions in case you are tired and can’t cook that week; (b)  alternatively, cook the more difficult meals in advance and do the lighter bits – vegetables and salads – on the main day.
  5. Re-use left over meals and adapt them into new meals, for instance, remaking  chicken into a salad. Finish all cooked meals, making nothing new until all the food is complete.
  6. Regularly sweep through the pantry and come up with innovative meals using some of those ingredients.
  7. Eat out often, try new meals at home in a bid to obtain greater variety and flexibility.
  8. Freeze vegetables and herbs as they will still be as good as new whenever you need to use them. Do this for: tomatoes, peas, peppers and other herbs. Prepare ingredients such as ginger and garlic in advance to save on time.
  9. Invest in sufficient containers to store food.
  10. Share the cooking responsibility to make it fun and less of a drudge.

How do you go around saving time and money in the kitchen?