I don't do this in great detail but I do look through my pantry and decide on at least 3-4 meals (dinners) for the week and make sure I have the required pantry goods first. I try and empty my pantry each fortnight so I'm not accumulating old ingredients or wasting money on food going bad.
Some meals can be used as lunch left overs or often if it's a large meal like something made in the slow cooker it can be for two dinners in a row. My hubby works a few evenings a week so I try and have left overs ready on these nights or oven/slow cooker meals that can be put in ahead of time and left alone so I can manage the crazy hour of babies/toddlers in the lead up to dinner.
I also plan for some quick and easy meals by making sure I have things in the freezer that can be taken out and cooked quickly like sausages and tortellini, they don't take long to defrost and can be cooked quickly with salad for last minute meal.
SAVE MONEY & FOOD WASTAGE
Meal planning helps your shopping budget too, especially if you're using a Thermomix, write a thorough list of ingredients you'll need for the week so you're not buying them from more expensive convenience grocery stores or doing a million trips to the shops!! Cut out the extra errands & costs with a little bit of planning. I also don't like food going to waste so planning meals is a good way to assist in making sure you end up eating what you're buying.
Usually Thursday night and Friday night meals are made up of everything that is left in my fridge as Saturday is market day and where I want to refill my fridge with fresh supplies for the week ahead.
A SIMPLE MEAL PLAN
(Husband at work) Lasagne (in the oven for 45 mins and served, I pre make my lasagnes and freeze them so this is a quick and easy meal for me).
Left over lasagne (we might go for a long park play or walk with hubby before dinner and just have easy left over dinner).
Date Night for us, make a quick meal for kids & babysitters like risotto in thermomix (only takes 20 mins to make).
(Husband at work) Slow Cooker meal, beef casserole & pumpkin mash or curry & rice.
Roast Dinner (I quickly prep all of this either the night before or in the morning and leave it in the trays in fridge ready to throw into oven the hour or so before dinner. It’s nice having a yummy Friday night dinner to end the week with and it’s pretty easy as it’s just left in the oven).
I don’t usually plan unless we have guests staying at our house so we have the option of eating out or bringing take away home, plus I like having a night or two off as well!
THE SHOPPING LIST
Because I essentially do the same shop every week I usually have the things I need already in the fridge or pantry* but for this meal plan I might need to make sure I have (on top of fresh produce, meat and dairy)...
- Brown rice
- Curry paste of choice (If I've not made my own)
- Lasagne sheets
- Risotto rice
*With Thermomix recipes they can be more specific so it takes time to build up a Thermomix friendly pantry of raw ingredients and spices but once you've done the first initial shop you get used to what you need to keep ready in the cupboard.