Veg box meal plans
The reason I am blogging about this is because whenever I try to get organised about planning ahead with meals or trying out a range of dishes rather than sticking to the same boring old repetoire, I usually end up with scraps of paper everywhere (which then disappear) and I never seem to manage to get organised.
Well we have had a few relatively successful weeks when it comes to meal planning which I wanted to note down in one place so that I can find it again if I need to.
We tried out a veg box last year for a while but whilst I was pregnant I ended up too tired to be cooking from scratch each day and so we stopped. I never got around to properly planning either so although it did mean that I tried out making recipes that we had never made before like spinach canneloni, sunshine squash risotto, and stuffed cabbage leaves, I used to end up having to keep popping to the shops for the extra ingredients that I would need as I hadn't planned ahead. So I ended up spending more time and effort rather than less.
This time we have had a couple of weeks with a veg box and then coordinated a few bits of additional shopping to make meals based around the veg. If I am left to plan meals from scratch without having a vegetable ingredient to focus on, then we usually end up having lots of meat based dishes which all end up similar - spag bol, chilli con carne, cottage pie and nothing particularly new or adventurous.
So the first week, we had carrots, leeks, mushrooms, tomatoes, rasishes, parsnips, a big red pepper, potatoes, beetroot, lettuce, celery and beans. We added some chicken drumsticks, sausages and minced beef to the order and here's what we did:
Tuesday - Sausages with potato and parsnip mash, with carrots and green beans (not particularly adventurous or amazing but Tuesdays are usually a busy evening with Karate so we need something quick and easy).
Wednesday - We made a huge triple batch of lasagne using leeks, celery, and beans in it. We used the minced beef but bulked it up with lots of lentils too. By using old margarine tubs we could freeze up plenty of little portions to defrost another day.
Thursday - Leftover lasagne with salad.
Friday - I actually ended up making three different dishes today because I wanted to try out different things to do with the leeks. We made a sort of leeky cheese (like cauliflower cheese but with leeks), and also a Leek and Chickpea recipe from Abel and Cole (sizzle and spice spring leek chickpeas which is in their recipe book but I can't seem to find it on their website to link to). The third dish was the big mushrooms stuffed with boursin cheese and breadcrumbs.
Saturday - Chicken drumsticks, roast potatoes, carrots, and roast radishes. Yep that does say roast radishes. They taste amazing sliced and roasted in butter and then with plenty of lemon juice squeezed on them.
Sunday - Store cupboard ingredients today. Defrosted a couple of chicken breasts I had in the freezer and combined with a tin of coconut milk, thai spice paste and some rice for a thai curry.
Monday - I can't remember what we had on the monday but there had been plenty of extra lasagne made to have had that or something simple from the store cupboard like beans on toast or omlette.
Ditto Tuesday. The beetroot was used in making D's chocolate birthday cake.
Then The next veg box arrived! This time we had parsnips, baby lettuce leaf, courgettes, celery, beetroot, another big red pepper, tomatoes, celeriac, potatoes, Kohlrabi, 2 x squash, and carrots. We added a pack of diced lamb and a pack of minced lamb to the order too this time.
Wednesday - Lamb burgers, with lettuce, pepper, celery, and kohlrabi (D loves it raw as a salad ingredient).
Thursday - Baked potatoes with cheese / beans and salad. Thursday is another one of our busy days so needed something straightforward and quick to cook.
Friday - Squash risotto using one of the squashes
Saturday - used the leftover risotto and stuffed the second squash to have stuffed baked squash.
Sunday - Went to a lovely local Nepalese restaurant as a joint birthday / mother's day celebration so didn't need to cook anything myself.
Monday - The plan was to use up any leftover veg in a lamb stew with pearl barley (as J loves barley). But the veg that got missed when I asked daddy to pass me all the veg in the fridge was the pepper, courgettes, celeriac, kohlrabi and celery!!! So we still had a great lamb stew but I needed another plan for the rest of the veg.
Tuesday - Leftover lamb stew. Bulked up with the barley and split lentils there was even enough to freeze a couple of small portions for Trin for another day.
Wednesday - Celeriac and Celery risotto. We didn't get a veg box delivery this week because we had enough bits leftover to keep going with and enough batches of things frozen too to keep us going.
Thursday - Leftover risotto. Again there was enough to freeze a couple of small portions for another day.
Friday - Citrus cous-cous (using up the courgette, pepper and kohlrabi that had been missed out of the lamb stew) and houmous made with chickpeas I already had and we ate this with crackers, pitta bread and feta cheese.
Saturday - Fish portions from the freezer. The birds eye 'bake to perfection' ones are so quick and easy in the microwave with leftover cous-cous.
Which brings us more or less up to date.
We have still had to pop to the shop for a couple of bread and milk top ups but the majority of the meals have been made using the veg box ingredients as the focus. Amazingly, it has cost us less to do it this way too because a) we have needed less meat, b) fewer trips to the shops mean less impulse buying and c) planning ahead has meant that I had not bought lots of 'just in case' ingredients.
The other huge plus point is that it gets us eating veg that we wouldn't normally try. When I buy veg as part of the weekly supermarket shop, I end up sticking to the same old things rather than try anything new.
I did manage to get a few piccies of some of the dishes so will try to dig them out and post them up at some point - but more often than not I am all too keen to get stuck into the eating to remember to get the camera out.