18 March 2016

Cath's Meal Plan 20 - 26 March 2016

A stash of sandwiches in the freezer, ready to toast make a very easy meal

This coming week, in the lead up to the Easter holiday, we'll be eating from the freezer to keep meals easy and to stop the urge to just buy something ready made. Life here is still hectic with visiting Mum twice a day so I'm opting for anything easy. All these dinners are in the freezer, even the sandwiches - they just need to be toasted. If it's cool there's soup in the freezer we can have with them.

I try to keep a stash of made sandwiches in the freezer ready to just put in the sandwich press or under the grill. They're handy for quick lunches or easy dinners.

Some of our favourite fillings are:

chicken, cheese and pineapple
ham, cheese and mustard
chicken, sliced brie and cranberry sauce
chicken, ham, corned beef or roast beef with coleslaw, cheese and sweet chilli sauce

If we want tomato we add it to the sandwich before toasting, it goes soggy in the freezer. The coleslaw is fine to freeze if it's dry - if it has dressing on it add it just before toasting the sandwich.

This week we will be eating:

Sunday: Roast Lamb

Monday: Salmon quiche & salad

Tuesday: Lamb fritters with sweet chilli sauce & salads

Wednesday: Nachos

Thursday: MOO Pizza

Friday: BBQ steak, salad

Saturday: Toasted sandwiches

12 March 2016

Cath's Meal Plan 13 - 19 March 2016

Sorry for the late posting everyone, it's been a very hectic few days and going to get busier methinks. My mother collapsed on Thursday morning,she's had a mild heart attack and developed a severe infection and I've been with her at the hospital most of the time since then.

That of course means that some of our meals have been completely off the plan. Tonight I bought a chicken and some coleslaw for tea as we have visitors staying this weekend, thankfully they like freezer meals because the last three days have cleaned up the freezer meal stash :)

So this week we will be eating a modified meal plan:

Sunday: Ham and salad

Monday: BBQ sausages and salad

Tuesday: Spag bol using sauce ready made from the freezer and garlic pita

Wednesday: Tuna Surprise

Thurday: Moo Pizza

Friday: Fish cakes (freezer) and salad

Saturday: Muffin Surprise

The ham, sausages and spag bol sauce are in the freezer. Tuna Surprise is easy and whoever is home at tea time will make it. Last time I made fish cakes I tripled the recipe, made them just a little smaller and was able to freeze the leftovers - enough for three meals. They just need to be thawed and warmed. The bacon for the Muffin Surprises is in the freezer too.

There are plenty of vegetables in the fridge and pantry to round out the meals. I won't get any new baking done but there are muffins and a ginger slice in the freezer if anyone desperately needs a sweet hit and thanks to a generous friend the fruit bowl is full to overflowing with delicious fresh fruit.

This week has shown me yet again that having a meal plan and well stocked pantry, fridge and freezer is worth it. It would have been very easy on Thursday and Friday night to just buy tea on my way home from the hospital, but it would have cost close to $50 for all of us - $100 for two dinners is about my monthly grocery budget at the moment and just not going to happen.

The chicken I bought tonight was marked down to $5.60 and the coleslaw was marked down to $3, so while the cost wasn't planned it wasn't outrageous and with extra salad veg and some bread it was a really nice meal.

With a modified and simplified meal plan in place everyone will be fed and I won't need to spend any extra money either. Meal plans and stockpiles are wonderful.

04 March 2016

Cath's Meal Plan 6 - 12 March 2016

Corn fritters - cheap, quick, easy and tasty, just right for an easy dinner

We are a family of four at the moment, so I've been able to cut back on serves. I've trimmed my recipes back to four serves instead of the five I usually make. This means we haven't used as much food as we normally would, a great saving for the grocery budget and the stockpile.

The timing is perfect, as we're having visitors over the long weekend and because I've been able to cut back for two weeks I won't need to buy anything extra to cover extra meals over the long weekend. The stockpile and grocery budget won't suffer :)

This week we will be eating:

Sunday: Roast Beef, baked veggies, broccoli, corn, gravy

Monday: Corn fritters & salads

Tuesday: BBQ sausages, salad

Wednesday: Pan-fried sandwiches & salad

Thursday: MOO Pizza

Friday: Haystacks

Saturday: BBQ & salads

03 March 2016

2016 31 Days of MOO No. 3 Rosemary Salt

Smashed potatoes with rosemary salt, garnished with fresh rosemary

This is one of my favourite ways to preserve the bright flavour of fresh rosemary. Rosemary salt takes about five minutes to make and can be stored indefinitely at room temperature. Try it on roasted potatoes, chicken and lamb.

Rosemary Salt

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tbsp rock salt, slightly crushed with a mortar and pestle (or use Kosher salt if you have it)

Mix together the finely chopped rosemary and the salt.
Pack into a clean glass jar.
Cover and store at room temperature away from direct light or heat. Shake the jar every couple of days. The salt is ready to use after two weeks.

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02 March 2016

31 Days of MOO No. 2 - All-Purpose Glue

This is a great all-purpose glue that isn't toxic, making it ideal to use with little ones. It will stick paper and card like a charm and washes out of clothes.

All-Purpose Glue

2 tablespoons glucose syrup
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 cup water x 2

Place 1 cup water, glucose syrup and vinegar in a pot. Bring to a boil. In a separate bowl mix the cornflour with 1 cup cold water and mix well. Slowly add the cornflour mixture to the boiling mixture. Stir constantly until thickened. Remove from heat to cool completely.  Store in an air-tight container and the glue will keep for approximately 7 days.

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01 March 2016

31 Days of MOO No 1. Veggie Burgers

Have you priced veggie burgers from the deli or the chiller cabinet at the supermarket lately? They are expensive - over $3 each! This recipe makes six for less than the price of one. It's quick and easy too. Best of all you can make the patties ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until you're ready to cook them. They'll keep for two days covered in the fridge, perfect for those busy days.

We love them as burgers with salad and grilled pineapple, but they're good as a savoury part of a meal, hot or cold. If they're hot I make a gravy to go with them and sever them with sweet potato chips and broccoli (no idea why, did it once, everyone at it all so I've kept doing it) or cold with salads and a sweet chilli mayo. They're great for the end of your shopping cycle when veggies may be looking a little sad and limp - use them up and turn them into something delicious.

Veggie Burgers

2 slices wholegrain bread, crumbled
Several leaves of fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fine, dry bread crumbs, plus extra for coating
3/4 cup grated tasty cheese
1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green or red capsicum
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or less to taste)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup solidly packed mashed sweet potato
1/3 cup ricotta
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup plain flour
Egg wash

In a medium-size bowl, mix together the crumbled bread, parsley, bread crumbs, and grated cheese. Set this aside. Heat the oil in a medium-size frypan over medium heat, then add the onion, pepper, and corn. Sauté the vegetables until soft, about 7 minutes, stirring often. Mix in the garlic and cumin and cook it all for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the contents into the bread crumb mixture.

In a large bowl, mix together the egg, sweet potato and ricotta. Add the bread crumb mixture, stirring thoroughly, then season with the salt and pepper. Flour your hands, then shape the mixture into six 15mm thick patties, using about 1/3 cup for each one. Dredge the patties in plain flour, then egg wash, then in bread crumbs and refrigerate them for about 1-1/2 hours.

Melt the butter in a large frypan, transfer the patties to the pan and fry them over medium heat until they turn golden, about 4 minutes on each side. Remove them from the pan and serve right away. Makes 6 patties.

Note: The crumbled wholegrain bread is essential to the texture, and prepared bread crumbs shouldn't be substituted. Put the bread slices out for about 30 minutes to air-dry, then crumble them by hand, with a serrated knife, or in a food processor.

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