It’s been a while since I shared my meal plan on here (or even on my meal planning blog for that matter) so I thought I’d share this week’s plan with you and give you a bit of an update on a few changes we’ve had over the last few months.
The last few months have been a bit chaotic with my new job as I’ve struggled a little bit to fit everything in that I usually do with the slightly longer working days that I have now. I’ve just about got things back under control now but I’ve had to change our routine a little bit to accommodate the fact that I’m getting home a bit later and have less time on an evening.
To give you an idea of what a normal working day looks like for me, I leave the house at 7.30am and get home just after 5pm which is a good hour longer out of the house every day than it used to be. And I must admit, when I found out that my role was moving to a new location 25 miles up the road at the end of last year, I did consider for just a teeny amount of time what life would be like if I just didn’t move – if I decided to leave and blog full time.
But then I thought about how much I enjoy my job and how I love being part of such a lovely little team of people and I realised that I couldn’t see myself not going to work and not being part of that team. So, with that realisation, I then had to adjust things in my home life and the first thing to be tweaked was my meal planning routine.
Let me show you this week’s meal plan and then I’ll tell you about the changes…
The first change I made was delegating a night a week to everyone else to cook tea for us all. The meals that everyone else makes might not be amazing and they’re not particularly varied right now but they make my life easier and mean that three nights a week, I don’t have to worry about feeding everyone.
Miss Frugal for example is brilliant at fajitas so I know that she can make that for us all along with her amazing homemade guacamole as long as she’s reminded that it’s her night to cook. She can also cook pasta so this week, for a bit of a change, we’re trying out fajita pasta which she can make while I’m close at hand, probably sat at the kitchen table checking emails. 😉
Master Frugal is more of a beans or scrambled egg on toast kind of cook at the moment although he can do more if he puts his mind to it. He’s going to make burgers and wedges this week under the watchful eye of Mr Frugal and hopefully, it’s something he’ll be able to do himself next time. I have chicken burgers and buns already in the freezer so I’ll get the buns out of the freezer on the morning and he can cook the burgers in the Airfryer easily enough. Then it’s just the wedges which will need to be from the freezer as I’m not trusting him with a sharp knife and sweet potatoes – he’ll have no fingers left! I’m hoping he’ll make a salad too but I suspect that will be a Miss Frugal job.
As for Mr Frugal, he’s worse than the kids in the kitchen but he’s happy to give it a go although I do keep his cooking to a minimum for all of our sakes and try to keep him on clean up duty where possible which is something he’s happy to do every night bless him. He’ll be in charge of the macaroni cheese this week as it’s so simple to make that even he can’t mess it up.
On my weeknights, I make quick meals – usually ones that use the Instant Pot or the slow cooker or involve something from the freezer and I leave the more ambitious meals for the weekend as I have more time then so I can enjoy my time in the kitchen.
So, the first part of our new normal is everyone helping out on a regular basis and knowing that it’s expected of them rather than just stepping to help out occasionally. It’s not something they all love doing but they do it anyway with minimal moaning (although some do moan more than others).
The next thing that’s changed is the way I use my freezers to help with my meal planning more than I ever have before. Batch cooking is something I’ve started to do more and more and I often make up some ‘dump‘ recipe bags but what I also do now is to keep our freezer stocked with as many pre-prepared meal ‘building blocks’ so it’s easier to prep meals. They might be things that I’ve made in bulk myself to pop in the freezer like shredded chicken and homemade tomato sauce or they could be things that I’ve bought in like frozen veg (I have just about every veg under the sun in the freezer), frozen rice, prawns and even frozen cubed chorizo. Added to the usual chicken breasts that I have in from Muscle Foods and my freezer has enough in there to cope with pretty much anything.
I won’t allow myself to feel guilty that I don’t always cook from scratch or that I’m making everyone else help out because it needs to happen. The time saved from getting everyone else involved and from stocking the freezer ‘cheats’ has given me back some time in my day which is amazing for me!
Another example of something that I cut out to save time was making my lunches for work which used to be leftovers when thee were any and if not, I’d make a pasta salad or something else equally boring. These days I take a Weight Watchers ready meal to work which costs me £1.75 a day and saves me about 15 minutes of packed lunch prep. I know I could do this myself for less money each day but this works for me at the moment time-wise as well as making it easy for me to stick to Slimming World without any effort.
We still do the actual meal planning itself in the same way as always with Mr Frugal and I sharing the planning, list writing and shopping tasks although we no longer assign each day a meal. We just write a list of meals that we’ll be eating over the week and cook whichever one whenever.
I’ll probably share a bit more about our new routines over the next couple of weeks now that we’re finally settled into our new normal. 😉
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