Thursday, October 31, 2013

Month End Menu Planning

I am not sure if there are others like me but I end up eating all the really nice things at the beginning of the month and then when the wallet is feeling a little lighter towards the end of the month I have to get a little more...let's say...creative with my menu planning.

I still plan my meals weekly using Cozi and shopping for the bits I need for recipes as well as fresh veggies and fruit once a week. I buy all my meat, butter, grains anything else I can freeze at the beginning of the month and then do the little weekly top up on Monday.

The last week before payday is always a stretch. But I enjoy seeing what I can make with what I have on hand. This means that I look at what I have in the pantry, the garden, the fridge and the freezer and make up a "use it up" menu for the last few days running up to my monthly shop.

Because I stockpile the basics I always have sugar, flour, oats, cans and other staples on hand so this does allow some degree of freedom with what I have - it's not like we are digging the last freezer burned chicken breast from the bottom of the freezer. Although I have done my days like that as a single person trying to survive, this is not our reality now.

So once I have checked my storing spots I sit down and figure out how to do breakfast, lunch and supper for 7 days. My children each cook one night a week so I need to be extra careful to make sure that we have what we need. They are not too comfortable substituting yet unless I am with them to tell them what can replace what.

I always take the garden produce into account first. At the moment its Kale, Spinach and Asparagus that are the stars of the meals.

Next I look what needs to be used in the fridge, yoghurt, eggs, milk.

Next dive into the freezer - my son's free range meats are due in this week so I need to make space in it. All chicken from last months order needs to be used up as well as some stock bones. There is some of his delicious chicken sausage too from the amazing new farmer that he has just taken on. I also have lots of frozen blueberries my mom brought up from George.

Some of the meals that I came up with...Breakfast

Oat waffles with blueberry syrup

Banana Muffins
Healthy homemade muesli
My sister sent me a delicious book called "Salt Sugar Smoke" and I used up the Kumquats in my fridge to make Kumquat, Passion Fruit and Orange marmalade. It was an intoxicating smell that wafted out of the pot and delicious on breakfast scones.

Lunches and dinners....
Kale went into garlic and kale pasta and risotto

Spinach went into spinach and feta pies

Asparagus - Jamie's Asparagus and Potato Tart
A creative frozen blueberry and greek yoghurt
With chocolate dipped strawberries

And a sponge cake made by Miss S with our own fresh blueberries!

Month end should come around more often, it was a delicious eating week :)

Linking up at Simple Lives Thursday