Yippee ki-yay! It’s Payday! Or it has been anyway… I have been thinking all week about the meals I want to cook that are a little more extravagant that the last couple weeks of the month will allow. We always eat ridiculously well on payday week, and normally eat out a couple of times over payday weekend – Mexican AND Japanese this weekend! 😉 But, no matter what meals I try to work into the weekly plan, I still shop exactly the same way, checking the leftover ingredients in the fridge, and planning other meals around the ingredients I then buy. Payday week just allows me to err on the more expensive side of things 🙂
This week our leftovers were some cherry tomatoes, celery and half a chorizo ring. That was perfect straight off the mark as we’ve had a bit of a stressful week, and decided to have a nice relaxing night in with our favourite meal curled up on the sofa – chorizo and tomato gnocchi with mozzarella. I’m all up for eating at the table as often as possible, to aid digestion and encourage real conversation, but as we shipped ours off for charity in preparation for the house move we’ve been on the sofa for a few weeks now 😉 We have trays for the most part, but there is nothing quite like a nice homely meal, served in our shallow bowls, eating curled up on the sofa with a spoon. It’s so comforting, and that’s one of my favourite things about gnocchi. This meal is so gorgeous, the punchy flavour of the chorizo with the zingy cherry tomatoes, with the smooth mozzarella all rounded off with some sharp balsamic vinegar. Yum!
One meal that I was categorically making this week, leftovers be damned, is BBC Good Food’s Chicken Biryani. I have dreaming about this meal for the better part of the month, planning on treating ourselves this payday – the flavours and textures in this dish are really quite luxurious, with the tender cooked chicken and the perfect biryani rice – well cooked but not stodgy at all. I always boil us an egg each too, that just seems to me to be an essential part of a biryani, but each to their own. The daft thing is, I have no idea why I felt I had to wait until payday to make this dish, the only thing I had to buy was the chicken! Don’t get me wrong, chicken is one of the more expensive meats and I try to use it as sparingly as possible, but everything else is store cupboard essentials, from the spices to the rice and garlic etc. So looks like we’ll be having this a little more often 😉
Back to the leftovers then – celery. Another one of those filler ingredients that don’t get involved in all that many recipes, unless it’s a salad or bolognaise of some sort – did someone say bolognaise?! Another meal I don’t cook anywhere near enough, is my Mum’s Chunky Bolognaise. This was the first thing I cooked for my hubby actually, with a bruschetta starter that he says still hasn’t been beaten by any restaurant he’s been to 🙂 I’m sure I’ll share that recipe with you sometime!
So bolognaise means carrots, and this week is Cinco de Mayo, which means Deliciously Ella’s Bean Chilli again! 😀 I think this is the biggest indication of how much we love this dish – we very rarely have repeats within a few months, let alone the same week! The simple recipe is also a fantastic chance to get the hubby into the kitchen a little more – slowly but surely, and only with meals he really loves is the key I think 🙂
Bolognaise also means pasta, and one of the little luxuries we allow ourselves almost no matter what is ‘fresh’ pasta – and by that I mean store-bought packs in the fridge section. That quickly sorts the fast meal I need for hubby’s band practice night with pasta puttanesca, but I can get three meals out of one particular bag of pasta. I discovered a recipe for halloumi pasta on twitter the other week, and this seemed the perfect opportunity to try it out! The recipe calls for the halloumi to be grated, which I never would have even thought of, so I’m very intrigued to see how it turns out, particularly with the simplicity of the other ingredients 🙂
One thing which I do feel is worth pointing out on this payday week shop, is that we are still very budget conscious. As I was adding the ingredients required for the meals I was planning to the app on my phone, the total items was getting higher and higher. As I added the asparagus, spinach, spring onions, pumpkin seeds and a few other bits for a soup I wanted to try, the number got a little too high for comfort. After all, whilst it’s nice to treat ourselves once we get paid, and we do that with food not nights out, there is still an amount of careful planning so we are not left totally high and dry at the end of the month. So, a little swapping around and removing of the ingredients which were to be just used for that meal brought the list back down to a more comfortable level, and with the addition of a few household necessities the weekly shop was not too bad on the purse strings at all. There’s always next month 🙂
Lotsa Love! x