The Last Of The Freezer Meals!

We are now on week 3 of Operation Use-What-We-Have-In-The-Freezer and the light is finally at the end of the tunnel. Most of the ‘main meal’ type things such as the endless number of chicken goujons, the beef burgers, the dices meats and bags after bags of potato products have all been consumed resulting a lot of nicely usable (and reorganisable) freezer space. The “sides” drawer is still full and the frozen veg has been topped up but pother than that it seems to be a success. On the cards this week is …

Monday:

Yesterday we had roast lamb joint with new potatoes and fine beans with a mint gravy. Now … it seems lamb and I do not get on and it was an over-cooked stringy monstrosity which meant that, as the meal was one of my husbands favorites and was supposed to be a cheer-up-glum-husband meal, it crashed and burned spectacularly. I think in the future I will stick to lamb shanks that you cook in a bag … Oh well.. onward and upwards

Tuesday:

Today I have Zumba class after work so I know I’m not going to have a massive appetite but will still want something to help recover from the energy drain. It may not be the healthiest of summer meals but tonight is a smoked bacon Quiche Loraine with a side salad and crusty bread. I’m avoiding having chips with it this time to try and keep fat levels down even a little bit.

Wednesday:

Time for the last supplies of an all time favorite – IKEA meatballs and mash with lingonberry sauce and IKEA gravy. It goes down perfectly every time and we have just enough in the freezer to feed the two of us and clear more space without it being too big of a meal.

Thursday:

Sweet chili chicken with jasmine rice. These two things have been sitting in the freezer for weeks now, both purchased from the “still fresh” isle at the supermarket where they have all of the reduced items. that would make this meal an absolute bargain for the both of us, I just hope the flavors compliment each other …

Friday:

Wifey’s day off. This is the day where it’s a take-out or bust! Or at a pinch something like a bung-in-the-oven fresh pizza from the local supermarket, something the husband can cook without too much difficulty.

Weekends are normally a bit of a “wing it” affair as it really does depend on what we have had to do that day as to what we feel like having for tea at the end of the day. All in all this has been a success as we have managed to get a lot of the long term stored food eaten and also saved quite a bit of money while doing so! Success all round I think (except for the lamb).

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A Successful Week

A few days ago I posted this about how I was going to try my very best to stick to a set meal plan for this week. Well, I am very pleased to say that for the first time since I started planning out the weeks meals, we have actually kept to the menu! This has had the added effect of my not even setting foot in the local supermarket once this week since I did the main food shop which has naturally saved us some money.

Let me tell you, that place is tempting. I my office building is actually directly behind an ASDA Megastore (which regretfully contains a branch of McDonnalds) so I am quite often tempted inside just to see what they have on offer which inevitably ends up in me spending somewhere in the region of an extra £20 or so.

Tonight is my night off from the kitchen so we will be having a takeout of some sort but this gives me the opportunity to formulate a plan for the next weeks meals. for me I find it most useful to start the plan for a Saturday so that I can include Saturday and Sunday’s dinners in my shopping list for the week.

We did have quite a few red meat meals last week so this week is much more poultry based with a couple of healthy options thrown in too.

Saturday: Chicken fajita mix with spiralizes sweet potato.
I’m still trying to get the hand of cooking sweet potato so fingers crossed this one will work out OK.

Sunday: Roast chicken with all the trimmings
I love a good Sunday roast and if we get a whole chicken for the two of us then we will have enough leftovers for a couple of extra meals or lunches out of it too.

Monday: Zucchini & Mushroom pasta with leftover chicken
Another trip out for my spiralizer, I will probably add something a little carby in there too as I find my system doesn’t react very well to zero carb meals.

Tuesday: Sweet chili chicken with jasmine rice
And the chicken week continues!

Wednesday: Individual steak and red wine pie and mash
Nothing beats a bit of comfort food to get you through the middle of the week.

Thursday: Hamwiches with potato wedges and vegetable mountain.
These things are my husbands most favorite food ever! I know they are unhealthy and processed beyond recognition but I do combine it with a load of fresh veg and home made wedges … and seriously, these things are sooooooo good!

Which then brings us up to next weeks take-out night!

Some of the above meals are from recipies I have found on blogs so I will post linkbacks to them when I can track them down again (I keep all of the recipes I like the sound of as print outs in a file in my kitchen).

Also, for some reason I find it quite funny that my spell checker wants to change the word “spiralized” to “liberalize”. America sounds like it needs more spiralizers (it wants to change that to ‘moralizers’) at the moment!

 

The Best Laid Plans

I do really like to plan out the weekly meals that I’m going to cook for myself and my husband each week, especially as it helps to keep a reign on what I buy from the supermarket. I have blogged about meal plans a couple of times but never realized there was a “linky” as I have seen people calling it! I’m a bit of a twitter fiend so naturally I do love a good hashtag and #MealPlanningMonday fulfills that love beautifully!

 My main trouble is sticking with the plan. The hubby is rather indecisive and doesn’t like to sit and plan the weeks meals with me but will wait until that morning before he decides he doesn’t want to have that particular thing for tea. However, this week should be good as he has decided to put a couple of suggestions forwards for things he would like to have, thankfully both of which I like too!

 So, here is what I will hopefully be making to our evening meals this week … *drumroll*

 Monday – Lasagna, garlic baguette and salad

I love lasagna, its simple, warming creamy and it is the perfect partner for garlic bread! This was husband choice no.1

 Tuesday – Rump steak with chips and veg

This is a big treat for us tonight, we hardly ever have steak at home so this should be a really nice hearty meal. As if you couldn’t guess, this was husband choice no.2 in a “man want meat!” moment.

Wednesday – Sausage & mash with veg and onion gravy

I have some really nice reduced fat pork and leak sausages which are just too good to go on a sausage butty at the weekend. The weather is set to be wet and cold so this is a simply yet filling favorite.

Thursday – Chili Con Cane with jacket potato and salad

I love chili but husband and I had Chinese food on Saturday and then the leftovers on Sunday so we didn’t want to have rice again so we decided on a baked potato!

Friday – Takeaway

Friday is this cooks day off 🙂

I plan my meals with Saturday as the start of the week as this works best for my weekly food shop but as we were doing a lot of work around the house and the garden this weekend (to be featured in a future blog post no doubt) we decided a cheeky Chinese takeaway would be a nice reward for some very hard work.

Now, I hope I have done this link thing right so all that remains to say is “happy #MealPlanningMonday weekly meal planners!!!”

Hijacked By Twins

Baby Steps

After the horrors of this last weeks fat-fueled convenience meals and takeaways, I promised myself I would start once again to try and make healthier meals for myself and my husband. I really do need to get a handle on things, especially portion sizes (I tend to over-fill plates) or we will be feeling the consequences. Even after a week or so of ‘binge eating’ I felt podgy and bloated for days afterwards.

One thing I am trying to do is get myself more readily organised. I already have lists of things I have in the freezer but as that list is on the freezer itself, I can’t make up meals while I am at work if I am struggling to think of what to cook. So, I have treated myself to a new zip-up A5 organizer which has the normal two ring binder rings in it (I find the specialist filofax 6 ring things to be too fussy to make my own inserts for) and I have spent some time developing a weekly meal plan and shopping list that fits what I want.

Now, while I am waiting for that to arrive I am also trying one other small thing on the road to healthier meals. Swapping out just one of the components to a healthier one. It’s a small change but it will hopefully help to get us on the right track.

Last nights meal consisted of, admittedly, one of the unhealthiest cuts of meat out there but also one of the nicest … pork belly. I have always found pork too dry to have normally, I like pork in casseroles but I am not a fan of a pork chop. Belly pork however is always very juicy and flavorful which all regretfully stems from it’s high fat content. But still … YUM!

I cooked the strips in the oven on a wire rack to avoid it sitting in it’s own juices but letting the melting fat baste the meat as it cooked. A good rub with some salt also meant a rather naughty treat of crackling for the Husband (I can’t stand the stuff myself). These were served up with (and here is the “healthy” part) some spicy vegetable couscous and a shredded salad comprised of various types of lettuce, cabbage and bell peppers.

The couscous works really well as an alternative to a potato product which I would normally put with pork, and it added much more in flavor too. It went down a storm and didn’t result in either of us feeling that we had over eaten. The carefully dissected pieces of solid fat piled neatly at thew side of my plate helped to ease my conscience over the fattiness of the cut at least a little bit.

That meal then formed a major part of my lunch today which is a very nice change. Normally I’m a white bread sandwich kind of girl but this time I made myself a little box of goodness.

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Leftover spicy vegetable couscous with lambs lettuce and pea shoots with a few mushrooms I kept back from my breakfast omelet. I added the mushrooms as I was worried it would be a bit bland without but to be honest it would be fine just as couscous and salad. The salad added just the right bite to it and lamb’s lettuce is my favorite leafy green to have. I feel like my lunch time hunger has been satisfied but not to the point of feeling too full.

I think we are heading in the right direction. To change the way we eat we need to take baby steps and work on one thing at a time otherwise we will fail just like last time.

A Loss Of Rythem

The saying goes that when one does not stick to a promise to better themselves in some way, they have “fallen off the wagon”. Normally this applies to people struggling with the incredibly difficult journey that is being a recovering alcoholic yet I apply this to the current state of mind and body that I have found myself in.

My body has been thrown off rhythm.

I feel tired and sluggish, I struggle to think clearly and I ache. I have felt like this for a couple of weeks and it has only been today that a light-bulb has gone off over my head and the answer has appeared to me.

I have fallen off of the wagon of even moderately healthy eating.

I have never been a massive health food nut but I do try and avoid snacks, limit the amount of fatty foods I intake and I try to eat as many vegetables as I can. For some reason I just do not enjoy eating fruit so I take vitamin pills to make up for it and focus on my veggies.

However, in the last couple of weeks I have well and truly gone on a un-health food binge! Last weekend alone I at twice at Mcdonald’s and once at KFC, the meals I have planned for this week comprised of burgers and pies and chips, all things from the freezer that while being healthy on my bank balance, not so much on my insides. Drinking has also crept up again as well resulting in indulging an a glass or two too many of red wine because it would go nicely with the meal I’m having.

I really need to kick this habit before it becomes a bigger problem. If I feel like crap during the day I’m more likely to make crap for tea too under the guise of comfort food. The stupidest thing is I have a ring binder full of wonderful recipes I’ve found online and I heave shelves full of cookbooks all with nutritious, healthy and delicious recipes in them yet day in, day out I reach into the freezer and pull out a piece of processed turkey shaped inexplicably (and unrecognizably) as a dinosaur, or a pack of chicken nuggets, or a beef burger and so on.

I lack motivation for anything right now and I know it is because the fuel I am putting into my body is not allowing it to run effectively meaning I’m trying to operate at a low rev (and yes, that is a car metaphor).

So, the burgers I had planned to use for tonight can stay in the freezer for now. I have some home made potato wedges in the fridge (leftovers from last night’s beef and onion pie and wedges)  so it is off to the supermarket over the road to pick up something a little bit better. A little less processed.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need it.

I know I am not going to be the only one who has gone through an issue like this with food, where you get caught in a spiral of junk food is making you feel bad so you eat more junk food to cheer yourself up. I would be very interested to hear stories from anyone reading this who has had the same sort of journey themselves. *sits back and watches tumbleweed to pass by*

Accidental Success

Today I learned a lesson. Ribbon blade on the Spiralizer does not work on a wonky carrot! However, while I do not have carrot ribbons, I do have cute little carrot curls which will still taste just as nice after a quick stir-fry.

It’s too bad the rest of the meal is rather unhealthy. After a very trying few days at work and a bit of a bad week last week, we felt the need for some comfort food. Enter home made potato wedges (not overly un-healthy as I try not to use too much oil) and the food-of-the-gods that is Bernard Matthews Hamwiches!

Hyper-processed turkey ham, rubber cheese and breadcrumbs mixed into small triangles of goodness.

Everyone has their Achilles Heel. Be it burgers, chocolate or *checks for people listening in* Soda.

The good news is food went down a storm!

Little does husband know tomorrow’d tea is all-out health food 😉

New Favorite Kitchen Gadget

Note to self: Learn how to take better looking photos of food.

Trust me, this meal tasted a whole lot better than it looks!

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The Spiralizer I recently purchased is turning out to be a massive success! The most recent use of my new favorite kitchen gadget was for this. We had a lovely meal of whole-tail scampi and king prawns with chips and veg mix. Again, it tasted way better than it looks here!

For the veg I used the thin noodle blade on the Spiralizer on a carrot and the chunky stem of broccoli. I’d never before considered using the whole stem before and right now I shudder to think of the amount of perfectly good broccoli I just threw away! I also used a few floretts of the broccoli and put the whole lot in a wok with a little chili oil to give it a kick and some soy sauce (hence the dark colour of the veg.

A few minutes of stir frying for the veg to get an al-dente crunch to it and voila! The best thing is that cooking the veg this way retains all of the nutrients that would otherwise leech out when being boiled.

I think this sort of thing is going to become a theme at our house!