18 January 2012

Parsimonious Meal Planning

Amalfi Lemons
Well, last week's meal plan got thrown into total disarray owing to Alfie the Amalfi Lemon Coloured Skoda (in horsey terminology) throwing a shoe on the way home.  As we were driving along, I heard an ominous "POP!" followed by a clip-clip-clip-clip noise as the wheels turned.  Looking in the door mirrors at the problem area didn't show up any problems and as we were so close to home, I continued on.

However, having inspected the source of the noise, discovered a dirty great chunk of aluminium piercing the rear tyre.  *sigh* 

Alfie the Skoda - see the similarity in colour?
Having dropped off the dawgies, we got back in the car and went directly to Kwik Fit, where they relieved us of £50-odd and replaced the same tyre that they replaced only three or four months ago.  *bigger sigh*

All of which has made a tight situation even tighter - so "austerity measures" are in effect, this week.

Last week's Jambalaya, the pork dish and the beef stew all got thrown out in favour of a trip to the chippy (chip butties for hubby, a saveloy, sausage in batter & pea fritter for me plus saveloys & chips for son & heir), chicken curry and high tea (which utilised all the leftovers from Boxing Day that were still in the freezer).

In the meantime, hubby appears to have been struck down with some dreadful lurgy or another and is completely off his feed - which is jolly helpful from an economy point of view, but not very good for him!  I've been tempting him back into eating with tins of Heinz Cream of Chicken Soup and little temptilicious tasties like scones, but it is something of an uphill battle.  Fingers crossed, he'll be feeling better soon, poor chap!

So, what's on the menu list for this week, now we're watching the pennies even more than usual?

Well, it looks like this :

Tues : Seared haddock, pea & watercress puree with oven chips
Wed : Minced beef, mashed potato, broccoli, carrots & peas
Thur : Steak pie, carrot & swede mash, broccoli & peas
Fri : Sausage Pie, baked beans & oven chips
Sat : Spiced chicken legs, baked sweet potatoes & salad
Sun : Toad in the hole, carrot & swede mash, broccoli & peas
Mon : Pasta Bolognese.

You'll note that we're going to be indulging in quite a few occasions of broccoli, swede, carrots and peas!  This is largely because they are infinitely affordable, keep well (especially the peas, which are frozen) and in the case of the swede, because Asda delivered twice the amount I was asking for!
Thin, haddock postage stamps - is what it should say!
So, to kick off with last night's Seared Haddock - this was only my second go at cooking fish in this way.  Yes, I know.  Where have I been?  Avoiding cooking fish, that's where I've been.  For a long time I didn't enjoy the taste of fish, but things change - and I've got a bit more confident in attempting techniques that are new to me.

I thought a piece of plain fish might be useful for hubby's complaint, too - although by the time I'd finished cooking it to blue blazes (to make sure there was nothing that might affect his tummy adversely), I suspect he'd have been better off with a piece of fish flavoured cardboard.  *sigh*  Oh well.
Anyway, the larger pieces of fish (oh, and don't get me started on that gnarly subject, either.  I'll save that for the blog post!) cooked fairly well even though I was completely cack-handed at turning them in the panSon & heir enjoyed his dinner, as did I, so with better sized pieces of fish I'd even give this another go.

Tonight is plain old minced beef with mashed potato and vegetables.  Funnily enough, this is one of my favourite dinners.  Neither hubby nor I are eating mashed potato any more, so I've been getting ready-made chiller cabinet mash, which son & heir reports is thoroughly palatable.

Thursday's steak pies are another cop-out, in that they are shop-bought individual pies.  Well, they claim to contain 80% beef which - if true - will make a change from 40-50% which is the norm.  Yes, I could have bought the beef and made the pies - but for £2.50 for a pack of 4?  I don't think so.

Friday brings a return to home prepared and cooked meals, with the Sausage Pie from www.goodfoodchannel.co.uk website.  It's a Tamasin Day-Lewis recipe, so is suitably quirky, involving sausage meat, sage and prunes!   I might even risk the censure of the family and make my own pastry.

However, I won't hear a word against the Spiced chicken legs that are on the menu for Saturday, as they also come from the same site - but the recipe belongs to the exalted and god-like form of Galton Blackiston, who can do no wrong in my eyes.
Don't argue with a man holding shellfish!
It is actually an incredibly simple recipe (and we like those!) involving marinading the chicken in a collection of almost-barbecue type ingredients overnight.  I'm aiming to buy chicken legs as our local butcher has them at 65p each - but I have a secret chicken breast lurking in the freezer if hubby is still poorly by then.  I know a chicken breast will go down far better with him, than ever a leg would!

I think some baked sweet potatoes will go well with the spicy marinade for the chicken - and together with a bit of salad, should get some good vitamins & minerals into those who need them!

Mind you - it'll probably snow if I go down the salad route!
However, I've planned for that - because Sunday's Toad in the hole should be just the job, whatever the weather's doing.  I just need to be brave about heating the oil before adding the batter.  Be brave, Jenny, be brave!

Pasta bolognese should round the week off nicely.  We always like a bolognese - and it's another good way of using up small amounts of vegetables that are lurking with no home to go to.

The meat involved in this week's menu list totals, a bag of frozen fish, two packs of beef mince, a pack of four individual pies, some chicken legs and two packs of sausages.  Reckon they shouldn't break the bank.

The veggie list involves : a bag of watercress, a bag of frozen peas, a pot of mashed potato, 1kg carrots, 400g broccoli, swede (3, according to Asda!) and some salad bits.  Could be worse.

Add in a bag of frozen oven chips at £1, plus a tin of baked beans and the tomato involvement in the bolognese - and I reckon we'll cope.

I doubt there'll be much extra-curricular cooking going on this week - but that leaves room for a mad flurry of the same, come next week!




  1. Hi Jenny! How funny, We have the same in our house but double! Two of us struck down with horrid bug thing as I have just replaced two tyres on my car!! Doublely skinted, will be following your menu, minus the meat!! Thanks again for an entertaining and useful post! X

  2. You're welcome, Gourmetmum! You haven't been driving around Bournemouth too, have you? lol


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