I *try* to plan our meals each week but it’s not always easy planning a week’s worth of meals in advance and as much as I’d like to tell you that I stick to it rigidly every day, I can”t! There are regular last minute changes for lots of very boring reasons – no time to cook what was planned, forgot to put everything in the slow cooker on the morning, a hungry person ate what I was planning to cook when I wasn’t looking. Sometimes, it’s simply because we just don’t fancy what we had planned!
But I always make sure that I don’t mess with my plan to the point where I need to go to the shop to buy something different because that’s where our budget can easily get out of control. A quick trip to the shop for something little usually ends up with at least two carrier bags filled with things we probably don’t need so it’s to be avoided at all costs!
The secret (it’s not really a secret, most of you are probably the same) is to have a store cupboard filled with versatile ingredients that can help you change your main ingredient into lots of other meals.
Take chicken for example – with the ingredients I have in my store cupboard right now, I could change the barbecue chicken we’d been planning to have into a chicken curry, chicken fried rice or spicy chicken pasta. I could turn the Mediterranean veggies I was planning to roast over the weekend to go with a gammon join into a veggie curry or chilli, a vegetable fritatta or a vegetable and tomato pasta dish.
The list below is pretty much what I try to keep in my veggie cupboard at all time and together with a bag of chopped frozen or dried onion and a bag of frozen veg, I’m sorted for any last minute changes to what we’re eating.
I am trying to get a bit more ambitious with my cooking though so I’d love to know what your standby ingredients are and what your favourite standby meal is?