Meal Planning in 2019

Sam already has nicknamed me “Dannii the list,” for my annoying lists that I insist on writing up, then ticking off tasks as I go along. I love my lists because they are so useful, not just in my personal life but in my professional work life too.

These lists also fall under the meal planning category. I meal plan a week in advance and it all falls around what I have in the fridge and freezer. This kind of planning is a must in my life.

Meal planning should and can work for anyone. It can play a vital part in eating a healthy diet, it’s a great way to help you budget, save money, is less stressful, saves time and means you’re more than likely won’t waste food.

I won’t go into further details about this as I did write a blog post about this last year, but meal planning works for everyone and it’s so easy to do!

With my evening meal planner mind switched on, what delicious meals should we make weekly?

I really try to add variety into my diet. I have to, or eating the same really does bore me, drives me nuts and I get super bored with the same old, same old. At least with my fortnightly delivered vegetable box I can experiment more.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this month of delicious dishes!

Week 1

Monday

Spicy Chinese Pork Stir Fry

I have a newfound love for pork mince at the moment. I can do so much with it. The other week it was pork and courgette meatballs this week it’s all about how easy it can sort out a quick and simple dinner packed with veggies and flavour.

Tuesday

Shepherds Pie with a sweet potato topping

This recipe though swaps mashed white potato for a cheesy mashed sweet potato. Between the two I actually prefer mashed sweet potato to white mashed potato. It must be the sweetness, plus the golden autumnal colours of it combined with a little butter, milk and cheese, ah, I live for the stuff.

Wednesday

Chicken & Bacon Bolgonese

Sometimes you just can’t beat a good Italian meal. Today was one of those days. Except today wasn’t a traditional meaty ragu or bolognese. Today was a chicken and bacon type of day. I had loads of veggies to use, alongside some bacon, so came the idea of making a bolognese except with chicken thighs instead.

Thursday

Sausages & Posh Mash

There’s something about sausages and mash that screams home comfort, don’t you think? Hearty, delicious, traditional, British food. I love the feeling sausages and mash gives me. It’s definitely that type of weather again for it. Topped with a rich onion gravy. Omg, I’m drooling now thinking of it.

Friday

Honey Soy Chicken Stir Fry

had marinaded the chicken in salt and pepper with olive oil, honey, soy and a teeny pinch of cayenne pepper for 12 hours and the flavours were just divine. Thrown all into a stir fry with sesame oil and some veg and well it was delicious. I had it for lunch a few days letter and it was just as nice cold as it were hot.

Saturday

Greek Meze

If anyone know Greek people, sharing food with others is important to their culture. Eating isn’t just a means of satisfying hunger, it’s a very social experience. Family and friends brought together to enjoy what’s on offer, what’s not to love about that?

Sunday

Garlic Butter Roast Chicken

Sunday’s are usually our family day. To recall a wise proverb: ‘A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.’ Which it does, if spent properly. So this particular Sunday had a roast in it, just not with all the trimmings kind.

Week 2

Monday

Creamy Beef & Butternut Squash Casserole

So creamy and hearty especially when this winter nights are getting colder. I had half a pot of double cream left in the fridge that needed using a long with some peppers, butternut squash and stewing beef steak. Which mixed in with some herbs and stock makes for a perfect dish than can easily made in less than an hour or slow cooked for maximum flavour. I chose the latter. I cooked this the night before. Let it marinade overnight and slow cooked it for 4 hours in the afternoon for a tasty dish served with delicious roast potatoes and crusty tiger bread to mop up the sauce. It was lush.

Tuesday

Pork & Apple Meatloaf

We love pork and pork with apples also conjure a good response so smoked bacon in pork with apples and herbs, yeah that should work, right? Well, it did. It was yummy. And I made a delicious bacon and onion sauce to go with it, which too was yummy.

Wednesday

Winter Pasta Sauce

I love pasta and love pasta sauce. This dish is a spin on the famous spaghetti bolognese loved by millions across this country and throughout the world. Packed with plenty of vitamins, veggies and flavour, I cooked this the night before and served the following evening after spending a good few hours cooking in the slow cooker. All the veggies used in this dish give a real autumnal glow too, which is a nice extra.

Thursday

Hot Dog Pasta

I tried this dish because Sam weirdly likes hot dogs. I detest them. Smoked sausage, no thanks! Emily has tried hot dogs before and seemed to like it, but it was associated with BBQ sauce, so maybe the smoky sweet flavour was the reason for that. I tried this and she was happy for the first few minutes, before deciding she didn’t like the hot dog but did Like the hidden vegetables sauce. That’s a win!

Friday

Bacon & Pork Meatballs

These are delicious thanks to the salty smoked flavours from the bacon. They’re great as stand-alone picky bites, appetisers or with a spicy tomato sauce with spaghetti.

Saturday

Asian Beef Skewers

These Asian style kebabs, mixed vegetable rice and garlic spiced chicken when down a treat, it was light and perfect for a quick and easy mealtime dinner. Besides the marinading, it didn’t take long to cook and put together.

Sunday

Slow Cooked Roast Pork

I have to say one of my most favourite roasting meats is pork. It’s most definitely a close second to beef. Oh my, I just love the flavour.

And of course the crackling. I don’t care what you say, it’s just too damn tasty.

Week 3:

Monday

Lightly Spiced Cod with Homemade Chips

In recent months I’ve been better with fish. I never really liked it unless battered or the odd fish finger before I was pregnant, but I changed my mind on it when I knew it was a healthy addition to my diet. It is loaded with important nutrients, such as protein and vitamin D. Fish is also the world’s best source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are incredibly important for your body and brain. Here are 11 health benefits of eating fish that are supported by research.

Tuesday

Leftovers Quick Pasta

Who can resist a sauce like this? You can add a few teaspoons of chilli flakes if you prefer spice or load with veggies. This works well with courgettes and/or mushrooms. It takes a matter of minutes, 10 to be exact to boil the pasta, sauté the veg and put the creamy cheesy sauce together. It’s perfect for summer days or cosy moments snuggled in front of the telly.

Wednesday

Creamy Chicken Casserole

This delicious fish was cooked for 30 minutes first in a large pot, then transferred to a slow cooker to marinade for five hours, before cooking on high for two hours and then serving with a side of roast potatoes and buttered peas.

Thursday

Warming Spicy Beef Stew

Few pieces of chunky vegetables thrown in, a generous amount of red wine, paprika and cayenne pepper for good measure and voila, a tasty meal that can be whipped together in less than 40 minutes or slow cooked over 6 hours. I chose the 6 hours and it was lush.

If you prefer spicier, add chilli for an extra kick.

Friday

Summer Chicken Roast Chicken with Apricots & Oregano

The heat means roast dinners are a no no in this household. It’s just too bloody hot to start overheating in the kitchen. But roasting a chicken joint, throwing in some summery and colourful fruit and veggies gives just the right amount of flavour, juiciness and colour, that it can go with just about anything and can be eaten hot or cold. In this instance, even with Sam complaining about apricots and his hatred for the fruit, he didn’t seem to mind the flavours the sauce (there’s always got to be so,e sort of sauce or gravy for Sam), with some yummy roasted potatoes, salad and stir fry.

Saturday Night Fakeaway

Lamb Kofta

This dish is really quite simple to make. It doesn’t require too much work, works well with a crisp salad and served with flatbread. I made this in the oven too, took just under an hour and were a hit. There are a few things that are difficult to replicate at home as they do taste better in a restaurant but some things should be experimented with and this is one of them.

Sunday

Leftover Roast Beef Casserole

You can’t go wrong with a casserole made with delicious leftover meat and vegetables. In the case I used leftover roast beef and it was divine.

Week 4

Monday

Lemon & Oregano Drums

If you’re looking for a simple dish that can be a simple healthy dish, snack or a side at a barbecue or dinner party, these super simple and easy to make garlic &a lemon chicken drumsticks, are exactly what you’re after.

Tuesday

Sesame Sweet Honey Beef

Most of the sauce ingredients I had in my cupboard, so no extra expense but some other bits were what I had in the fridge.

Wednesday

Hot & Spicy Kicky Chicken

Chicken is delicious you can do so much and whip up something so flavoursome with so many different ingredients. I had some chicken breasts I needed to use and the regional plan was to make a few chicken breasts, have one myself with some fries and salad and that would be it.

Thursday

Roasted Vegetable Tart

I’ve made a similar dish to this one before with tomatoes and red pesto and loved it. It’s often a good savoury dish to have when serving food to a lot of people. Always a crowd pleaser. Anything with the word ‘tart’ relating to food is a good idea in my eyes!

Friday

Spicy Pineapple Pork Chops with a Tomato Salsa

Like in my previous posts, I’ve used pineapple and pork often, so making a spicier recipe with a deliciously cooling tomato salsa and a side of tortilla chips, it was a no brainier for a quick dish during the week. This is spicy so little mouths may not appreciate the kick to the pineapple sauce. I marinaded the pork in the spicy pineapple marinade for 4 hours to give it an amazing flavour, but if you haven’t got time, the sauce works just as well with a quick 30 minute window.

Saturday Night Fakeaway

Chinese Orange Chicken

Some may find orange with chicken an odd mix. Others love it. I love orange marmalade chicken drumsticks put on the bbq, for an Uber yummy sticky dish. This is a well known Chinese classic, and I’m pretty sure if you made it at home, you probably won’t order it again from your local Chinese takeaway.

The orange comes from the orange marmalade. Chicken works so well with citrus flavours. It’s a given. I suppose that is why Chicken is a perfect dish in many Asian dishes, it just soaks up the flavour and creates a multitude of fusions. I’ve used cornflour which thickened the sauce too and can be served on its on or with a load of veggies, noodles and/or rice.

Sunday

Summer Chicken in a Spinach & White Wine Sauce

I love leeks. They give the most deliciously creamy flavour and are just stunning with chicken dishes. Including this one that I had planned as a different recipe that developed into this one. I added wine, courgettes, onions, mushrooms and threw in some spinach and the end result was a very happy Sam doing an Oliver! And asking for more, plus leftovers for lunch the next day.

I hope you enjoy!

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