As life now basically revolves around meals(!) I thought I’d do an update on how we’ve moved on a bit with things. I’m getting more into the swing of meal planning this new way now. At first I rather struggled with not knowing exactly what was going to turn up in the veg box, and with no easy way of filling in a gap or getting an extra ingredient. Whereas previously our veg box delivery arrived before the cut off for the Ocado delivery, and I’d also be able to access two different supermarkets as well as a fruit/veg stall at work, the deliveries now arrive on consecutive days, and I can’t edit the Ocado order in time to adjust it if the veg box has thrown up a few surprises! We’re very lucky to have an Ocado slot, which is now happening weekly, but I daren’t try and change the slot booking in case we lose it altogether!
The veg box listing tells me that I’ll get two of potatoes, carrots or onions, six from a further list of 12 veg/salad and 3 fruits from a list of 7 possibilities. Plus a lemon and garlic. That’s pretty good, and has given us some lovely meals, but also some entertaining weeks – we had the week of no potatoes at all (although we did have some sweet potatoes), the week of so much salad, the week with a million bananas and the week of four punnets of cherry tomatoes (as I’d also ordered two giant ones from Ocado!). Nothing has gone to waste, although some food has been rehomed with a friend down the road! I’ve had to stop the meat box coming as there was on longer a fortnightly option and, in a household of 1.5 meat eaters, we just couldn’t get through the contents in time. The freezer is looking quite full of meat 😉
So, when the veg box arrives (usually during my first work stint of the day), I unpack it at some point and make a list of the contents. I then leave this out by the kettle and write recipe ideas on it as they occur to me. I’m usually aiming for 6-7, so that I have 3-4 as definite options to go ahead with (we still have certain meals on certain days, like a roast on Saturday nights). I’m finding I don’t have much spare brain space at the moment to be inventive – something to do with having to alternate WFH with playing with LO?! When the Ocado order turns up the following day, I stack things in the fridge in use by date order, and this then informs what I’ll make when on the menu plan. On Sundays I do a menu plan for the week, for lunch and tea, based on the recipe list above and use by dates. Although it’s a bit of a pain having to do this each week, it does remove the need to have to think about meals for another week!
Here are some of the latest creations:
This is an adaptation of Something From Nothing Tart from the Organised Mum, made the week of the glut of cherry tomatoes 😉 using out of date frozen puff pastry from the depths of the freezer. I’ve now got mozzarella on Ocado order every week as half the time it’s out of stock and doesn’t get subbed, and this at least ensures we’ve sometimes got some!
I discovered some two years out of date baby pasta in the cupboard (the baby is, after all, now four years old) and decided to use it up in some macaroni cheese. Macaroni cheese is always a hit with LO, although kale isn’t.
This was the week of the two punnets of mushrooms. LO doesn’t like mushrooms. OH isn’t keen in large quantities. I have whizzed some in the food processor and hidden them in bolognese sauce. I’ve also taken to chopping them up in a batch to have ready in the fridge, which cuts down on the prep and washing up involved each day. Same with grating cheese. This makes it easy to create a quinoa bake as you just fry random vegetables, add to some cooked quinoa and cheese and bake in the oven. I’m cooking this about once a week now.
The storage of large quantities of grated cheese also means it’s a lot easier now to whip up a lasagne. And I have also perfected the 1.5 portion lasagne meaning I don’t have to attempt to squeeze any more leftover portions into the freezer. Oh, and a lemon cake, just to use up some of the lemons that keep turning up.
I was quite pleased to discover this blog post that suggested many of the same things!
Have you found your brain feels like it’s coated in porridge in lockdown too?! Have you been able to get hold of the ingredients you want for cooking?