Weekly menus saved a portion of my life

As I try to develop a good habit (blogging more frequently, note the recent flurry of activity) I thought I would share with you an existing good habit that I have had for about 2 years now. Every week myself and Himself sit down and plan our dinners (and sometimes lunches) for the week. I think he feels that this blog series is going to be beyond boring but being a more regular frequenter of mummy and foodie blogs I disagree. I know I would be (okay not quite) fascinated (but at least mildly interested) to get a real insight into another family’s menu. So to kick off this series a few notes:

  • It saves time and money when doing the shopping, although it probably saved us more money when Himself used to do the shopping as he actually bought what was on the list while I still get sucked in by the discounts and BOGOFs.
  • It may keep us marginally healthier as we get an overview of our meals for a week, trying to include a fish meal and at least one vegetarian meal a week. My long time friends will see that I am definitely no longer a vegetarian! In fact I feel we probably eat a bit too much meat but it’s generally quicker and it just tastes so good!
  • It saves time every day as there are no long meditations on what to have for dinner. Although it does take at least 30 minutes to write the original as we peruse recipe books and sites to find what we fancy.
  • I’m not a dietician so I don’t claim that this comprises a rounded, healthy diet but I work on the a “little of what you fancy does you good” school of eating. I also try skinnier versions of staples where I can with mixed results. I’ll update site to include family reaction.
  • I’ll include links to recipes where I can and otherwise update the site to include them when I can.
  • We shop in Superquinn and await their switch to Supervalu with some trepidation…
Weekly shopping
Weekly shopping

Here goes – all comments welcome.


Lunch: Ham/ Cheese/ Chicken Baguette

Dinner: Skinny Mac and cheese – the nippers will invariably ask for Macaroni Cheese if I ask them what they want and who would blame them? I baulk every single time as I think about all that cheese, butter and milk. I have tried a few of the recipes from Skinnytaste.com and got good reactions. Our most popular version of this classic includes a tin of tomatoes in the cheese sauce and bacon lardons scattered across the top. So this version with the broccoli was resisted initially but all bar Nipper 1.0 cleared their plates, Himself rightly commenting that it was tasty enough but broccoli was overcooked. I would recommend therefore not to cook florets for more than 5 minutes with pasta. By all means chuck in the stalks but it’s too much for florets. FYI I used Dubliner Light White block.


Lunch: Poached eggs on toast – now in case you are wondering where is our bread on the list below we make our own in our bread machine every 1.5 days or so. Eggs were DELICIOUS with Jalapeno pepper relish from Ballymaloe, our new favourite condiment, Nipper 1.0 especially)

Dinner: Jamaican me crazy chili  and all the trimmings (cheese, salsa, iceberg lettuce, guacamole, sour cream)  followed by Beetroot Brownies made with the very last of our beetroot from the garden.


Lunch:Wholemeal Bagels with chicken/ cheese/ ham

Dinner: Chili with rice (Monday is often leftovers at the moment as I am currently doing a dance class on Monday nights.)


Lunch: Hot dogs for kids -I was considering trying veggie sausages to see if they would notice but the brand in the supermarket were actually less healthy that the hot dogs. Also we ended up picnicking so I brought them in the thermos.

Chicken, green beans, mashed sweet potato
Chicken, green beans, mashed sweet potato

Dinner: Grilled chicken, Sweet potato gnocchi with sage pesto with Moroccan Carrot Beetroot salad – now this is a classic example of a meal that was planned and then ditched. Our plans for Tuesday changed and we got home at 4pm which didn’t leave me 2 hours to drain my sweet potato and ricotta as per the gnocchi recipe. How unfortunate. Also we used the last of our beetroot in the brownies (yeah!) so the salad was a no-go too. So instead we had this: Marinated Lebanese Chicken (breast for us) (a hit) as I had the paste leftover after making Ottolenghi’s turkey burgers last week. This was accompanied by Parmesan Sage Mashed Sweet Potato (big hit) and Green Beans with Lemon and Feta with our first batch of beans from the garden (a hit with the adults although it was tried by two nippers – they objected to the onion.)


Picnic – I’ll probably do hot dogs again as we are heading to Kilkenny to check out the Arts Festival and they were so yummy yesterday.

Blackberries and green beans from our own garden
Blackberries and green beans from our own garden

Teriyaki salmon with green beans and potatoes from the garden – this probably won’t happen. It didn’t and we had salmon, potatoes and peas that Himself prepared for us when we got home from Kilkenny. Delicious.

Thursday Two pasta salads one for grownups and one for nippers Sundried (oven roasted?) tomatoes + baby greens  Pasta salad with Tomato & corn. The latter was a big hit with all but the kids wouldn’t even try the former as I suspected.


Dinner: Pizza – we have pizza every Friday. Made from scratch with the aid of our trusty bread machine. I’ll add the sauce and dough recipe soon.


Oat pancakes with summer fruit, blueberry coulis and greek yoghurt
Oat pancakes with summer fruit, blueberry coulis and greek yoghurt

Lunch: Looking forward to trying out my namesake’s Oat pancakes – these are absolutely delicious and all plates were cleared. I doubled the recipe but only had one banana* and this didn’t harm the taste at all. We’ll definitely do these again: I still feel stuffed!

*As I was preparing the following week’s menu I realised that Nipper 2.0 had managed to shnarf the last banana. Thankfully I had picked up a tip for mashed bananas from SortedFood many moons ago and always keep a couple in the freezer in the likely event I will run out of overripe bananas.

List below is laid out in the order of our shop and doesn’t include some ingredients that we would already have stocked. Also we buy certain things from Lidl regularly so they are never included: Parmesan, Chorizo, Greek Yoghurt, and coffee. I kid you not! I use Evernote to write my menus and lists.

  • Broccoli
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • 2 yellow peppers
  • Lemon
  • Low fat mature chedda
  • Onions
  • Cherry tomatoes x 2
  • Baby spinach
  • Rocket
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Avocado
  • Basil
  • Minced meat 1.5lbs
  • Chicken breasts
  • Cheese (low fat)
  • Ham
  • Cooked chicken
  • Bagels
  • Whole wheat hot dog rolls
  • Milk
  • Kids yogurt
  • Tinned pineapple
  • Veggie sausages
  • Juice
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Brown pasta for macaroni
  • Garlic mayo
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Cat food
  • Febreze
  • White strong flour
  • Red kidney beans
  • Black eye beans
  • Cannellini beans
  • Red wine
  • Almond milk
  • Box of tissues
  • Dusters