One of my most challenging weekly tasks is planning our menus. With three boys – and often their guests too – plus a husband who works unpredictable hours, it would be all too easy to get caught up in making multiple meals to suit every member of the family and their differing social calendars.
Strike a chord?!
But I’ve been there – making beans on toast at 4pm for the hungry 9 year old who’s rushing off to football, then something more substantial for the other kids at 5pm, followed by a third option when my husband comes in from work. And it’s exhausting! So now I try to plan my menus out weekly, alongside all our calendars, to ensure that I’m making just one meal that can be, if required, eaten at different times of the evening.
As well as cutting my cooking time it also slashes my shopping bill. So every Monday I’m going to post my menu for the week – and I hope you’ll contribute ideas too!
One of my most valuable tools in the kitchen is my slow cooker – check out this post to find out why!
Chicken casserole with veg (can be mashed into sauce for fussy eaters), sauce made from stock and passata – all done in slow cooker. Couscous for kids, rice for adults.
Spag bol – mince done in slow cooker, pasta cooked all together then adults refreshed with boiling water. Garlic bread and salad. Enough mince left over to freeze for a meal next week.
Fish pie and peas. Made in afternoon and put in low oven which collecting kids from school, then reheated for adults.
Eldest at football so need to feed kids quickly
Kids – beefburgers, potato wedges (or part baked baguette for child 1 who won’t eat potato!), salad bowl.
Adults – marinated chicken fillets (ready made), potato wedges (Cooked alongside kids then quickly reheated in oven), salad bowl.
Husband home by 6pm so we’ll all eat together. Chicken tray bake – chicken breasts, red onion wedges, new potatoes, pepper strips, rosemary and lemon wedges in ovenproof dish with drizzle of olive oil. People can avoid the bits they really don’t like!
Mexican Tacos. You’ll need
Beef mince and a taco kit such as Old El Taco’s, or a supermarket own brand – I use a one called Discovery from Morrison’s which is about half the price.
Plus optional extras: grated cheese, savoury rice (I use Uncle Ben’s which you can microwave in 2 minutes), crème fraiche, guacamole, tomato salsa, fried onions and peppers
Brown the mince and add the packet mix from the taco mix – usually you sprinkle on the powder and add some water. Allow to simmer for 20 mins.
Then I put everything in bowls on the table and everyone helps themselves. The major benefit of this is there are so many options that everyone will find enough bits they like. Great when one child doesn’t like tacos but will eat rice; another doesn’t like crème fraiche; husband doesn’t want onions – you get the picture.
Roast beef with all the bits – get a big enough joint to have leftovers for sandwiches or the basis of Monday night’s tea.