I’m pleased to say that this week’s shop I’ve started to revert back to my usual meal planning method. The past few weeks have been a little bit caution to the wind, as we found ourselves yet another month into the flat buying & moving process. We’re trying to see the best of the bad situation, it’s another month we’re able to save to increase our buffer for when we do have full bills and a mortgage to pay, but we’ve also decided that we deserve a few more treats here and there, like dinners out and not having such a strict budget for the weekly food shop.
That being said, it felt really good to get back into the swing of checking for leftovers and planning meals accordingly! We do hate wastage, and whilst its not like we’ve been throwing away loads the past few weeks, it’s just been nice to be a bit savvier about my cooking again, as well as getting excited about a few new recipes that I’m discovering and want to try out – loving Pinterest so much for that at the moment 😀
The first of which being these incredible Raspberry Jam Oat Bars from a newly discovered blog Cooking Classy – so simple to make and absolutely delicious! A wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon, working the ingredients through with your fingers, spreading the jam across the layers, and smelling the amazing aromas throughout the house as the mixture bakes to perfection! I’m so proud of how beautifully they turned out, as Dave said they look just like the photo, which is a testament to the recipe and photography skills of Jaclyn at Cooking Classy, that the gorgeous pictures on the website aren’t impossible to replicate at home. Looking forward to reading more from her!
On to the rest of the week’s meals then – my leftovers were some fennel, some diced pancetta, a cucumber and some tinned tomatoes. I also wanted to make sure that we had a more veggie week than we have recently, so it was a perfect opportunity to try out a recipe that popped up on the BBC Good Food feed – Summer Vegetable Casserole. I love courgettes and aubergines, and I’m really starting to get into roasting vegetables now so I was really excited to give this one a go. The only substitution I’ve made, is my usual swapping out the new potatoes in the roasting tin for some pan-fried gnocchi added at the last minute along with the heated tinned tomatoes, to give the casserole a slight difference in texture – and I am a gnocchi-holic, so it was a no brainer really ;p
The courgettes led me to find a nice and simple courgette and tomato pasta dish, which uses up the diced pancetta nicely too. I love the flavour combination of smokey pancetta with some gorgeous veg in a tomato sauce, along with my standard generous helping of parmesan of course 😉 The leftover fennel is perfect for a Warm Chickpea, Fennel and Pepper Salad – I absolutely love this meal because it is so light and refreshing with the crisp fennel, and so different! I’m really excited to use some pointy sweet peppers this week too; my sister in law used them a while ago and they were just divine – I’ve been meaning to pick some up for ages. They are more expensive, but I’m hoping the flavour difference will be so worth it!
Speaking of the in-laws, my mother-in-law is coming round for dinner this week for her regular fix of my famous Arabian Beef (recipe to follow!), or spiced mince as she likes to call it 🙂 It’s really nice to have certain meals that close family or friends like so much that they just request it, I love making people happy with my cooking so I’m clearly doing a good job 🙂 That also covers the cucumber nicely, as the beef is served with diced cucumber, shredded lettuce and various dips, all in some toasted pitta breads. It’s such a social meal, which is also really important to me, as everyone just dives in to the serving bowls, and it creates a lovely sharing atmosphere around the table. Getting messy helps too ;p
I find it a great challenge to create my meal plans in this way, finding it encourage me to source my recipes from new places and try interesting new things I might not normally – but the savings on our weekly shop just from thinking about what ingredients you have and can be made to go that little bit further, are truly worth it that extra effort. I know I keep saying it, but hey, that’s the point of this blog right? :p
Lotsa Love, Abbie x