HAPPY NEW YEAR!
*sets off a party popper*
Is that it? Is it all over? The bin men have taken away an obscene number of recycling bags full of wrapping paper and ridiculous toy packaging (the box, the box within the box, the little twisty wires, and those tiny clear elastic bands that I always thought were for orthodontic braces but are apparently for driving parents insane). Today we packed away our Christmas decorations and had a good tidy up. And that’s that. Done for another year.
And there’s January stretching out in front of us. Cold. Wet. Dark. And payday isn’t even visible on the horizon yet. We need a month of very cheap meals. And lots of us are trying to be a bit healthier too, maybe it’s a new year resolution to lose a bit of weight, or get a bit fitter, or just to balance out the gluttony of the festive season. Or maybe (like me) you don’t give a Terry’s Chocolate Orange about the January dieting bandwagon and you just want some comforting, hearty food to see you through the bleak midwinter. Hopefully I’ll have something for everyone over the coming month!
So after I’d taken down the tinsel and packed away the fairy, I sat down and planned my monthly menu and made a list for the butcher. I already had a few bits left in the freezer – a leg of lamb I got cheap, a couple of packs of bacon, some sausagemeat and a pack of chipolatas. I was so grateful for this coz it meant this month’s meat order was only £40! For this I got:
3lb steak mince
1lb lamb mince
6 x lamb chops
6 x pork loin steaks
4 x chicken breasts
8 x chicken thighs
1kg topside joint (I wanted brisket but he didn’t have any so gave me topside for the same price!).
In addition to the meat I already had, plus at least one fish and one veggie day every week, this will easily last us the month.
So what are we eating this week?
THURSDAY: turkey and veg pie (the last bits from Christmas. Recipe here)
FRIDAY: tuna and mozzarella pasta bake
SATURDAY: smoked mackerel, wholemeal pitta, hummus and salad
SUNDAY: bacon, chestnut and cabbage hash with mash and gravy
MONDAY: chilli con carne, tortilla wraps, soured cream, lettuce with onion rings
TUESDAY: chicken and butterbean stew
WEDNESDAY: (freezer night) battered cod fillets, oven chips and mixed veg.
It’s a fairly light meal plan this week. Plenty of veg, not a lot of red meat and the tuna and mackerel are super cheap and super nutritious. I don’t do “diet” foods but you could always go “low fat” on the hummus and soured cream if you want. Or leave out the onion rings. Or have a fresh cod fillet, rather than battered. I think this is already a pretty balanced menu but if you are on a health kick, there are lots of little tweaks you can make to suit your own needs. But most importantly, enjoy your food. It’s a pleasure, not a chore!