How I do menu planning, and what I cook for my freezer

Have you read my post on why you should consider menu planning?

 

I do my menu planning weekly but if you’re more of an all or nothing person, you might want to just plan a month’s worth of meals and get it all over and done with at one time.

Weekly or monthly menu planning for you?

I feel like I’m doing that thing with my kids where I say “cucumber or tomatoes?”

IMG_0929

A couple of ideas on ways to approach menu planning:

  • have a theme for each day: mince on Mondays/ chicken on Tuesdays/ vegetarian on Wednesdays/ fish on Thursday/ easy Friday (pizza/ eggs/ soup)
  • cook a certain number of nights and use freezer dishes for the rest
  • delegate certain nights to your spouse

How I do it

1. Generally, D does supper on Tuesdays and Sundays. The trick when you delegate is you are not allowed to say a single thing except “thank you for the lovely supper”. They will stop if you nag about anything. Tell yourself the kids will be fine without vegetables for 1 – 2 nights. I don’t write anything on my menu plan except “D”.

Sundays is usually toast with peanut butter, cheese, etc. and this is (sadly) the kids’ favourite meal of the week.

2. According to my daughter, we always have rice on a Monday (I checked my menu plans and turns out, she’s right 🙂 I haven’t intentionally planned it like that, but I do like rice/ pasta/ rice/ potatoes/ bread-based within my 5 meals.

3. We very rarely go out for supper because 1) I can whip up a pasta quicker than us getting ourselves sorted and to the nearest place and waiting for our meal 2) we prefer lunches out

4. I cook a lot on the weekends. Not every weekend, but about one or two weekends in a 5-week period. That feels about right to me. I may make 3 meals but I cook double so that’s 6 nights’ suppers sorted.

5. Leftovers. Don’t discount the leftovers. Those meals I cook on the weekends last longer than I anticipate because often we don’t have to have the 5th meal of the week because there is enough leftovers. Sometimes I’ve had supper out, sometimes D only wants half of his supper because he’s home later, and so on.

Meals that freeze well

Some people think potato or pasta doesn’t freeze well. I have done both and the meals are still perfectly fine. I think the trick is to not let it thaw forever out on the counter because your food will get watery (yuck!). I put it in the microwave to defrost it a bit for about 6 minutes (that’s two presses of the quick defrost button on my microwave) and then straight into the oven to crisp up.

  1. Cottage pie
  2. Baked pasta dishes. When you cook one dish to have “fresh” on the night, do another dish for the freezer. Put it in the casserole dish, put some cling wrap (Saran wrap) on the top, and into the freezer.
  3. Rice
  4. Curries
  5. Bolognaise
  6. Chicken a la King
  7. Taco mince
  8. Chilli con carne
  9. Chicken and broccoli casserole
  10. Soup and the rolls 🙂

and so on (share your ideas in the comments please)

IMG_0930

Do you menu plan? Weekly or monthly?

Do you cook freezer meals? Which ones are your favourites?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. Haha, think I am very passionate about my freezer cooking, as it makes my life so much easier. I know about freezing pasta, as long as it is fully covered with pasta sauce the pasta is fine.
    I have had no success with potatoes. They always come out of the freezer with a spongy texture. It grosses me out. Is there something special you do to yours, to make them still sine to eat?
    I never defrost in the microwave, and always defrost in the fridge, because I grew up with a sister who is a microbiologist and some of her paranoia rubbed off onto me.
    Fruit freezes very well, if you are going to use them in breakfast smoothies like I do. Also, I freeze some lunches, like dimsun buns (Jamie Oliver has a quick easy recipe).
    Pizza freezes well too. I love my homemade pizza base and sauce. Even my mother likes my pizza.
    Another thing I do is half cook a meal I want potatoes in. So I will cook the meat and stop before it is fully done. Then I will cook it for ten minutes in the pressure cooker with the potatoes onthe day we want to eat it.
    I also have had no luck freezing rice. The texture is wrong for some reason. How do you do it?

    • Marcia Francois says:

      I get you – I only did Microbiology 1 but that was enough to make me paranoid about germs too (you’ll not find a chipped mug/ dish in my house 🙂

      I think my pasta/ potatoes/ rice/ pizza works well because of how I cook it afterwards.

      Rice/ potatoes/ pasta – defrost in the microwave until mostly unfrozen and then I either heat properly through in a pot or put straight in the oven. I do cottage pie and it will be completely assembled, even with cheese on top, so I put straight in the oven once not “freezer cold”. Pasta is usually in a casserole dish too. I usually make double, we eat one serving and I prepare the other for the freezer, in the dish, with clingwrap.
      Pizza – defrosts a bit on the counter while I prepare toppings but I pop straight into the hot, pre-heated oven

  2. I have a rough weekly plan in my head and shop according to that but sometimes (more and more often) Ugeshan has something on in the evenings and I change my plan. I am happy to eat a toasted sandwich if it’s just me. And Kaylan has his own dinner menu plan which is very simple. I have never cooked and froze a meal before but want to give it a try now. Going to try a pasta first and hopefully get it right. Will let you know if I am successful.

    • Marcia Francois says:

      What do you make Kaylan to eat?

      To be honest, if Dion’s not around at night, I grab leftovers and the kids and I add salad of some sort, and yoghurt for dessert, and we’re happy 🙂

      Please do try the cooking double and freezing – it will save you so much time you’ll feel like a genius!

  3. I REALLY want to be better about planning this school year.

    • Marcia Francois says:

      Nina, mine is a very loose plan. In fact, if I stick to it for 5/5 days, I consider that a huge win. 3 – 4 days is average for me, but the fact that I have the meals on hand eases the mental pressure for me.

Speak Your Mind

*