Monday, 21 October 2013

Menu Planning Monday 4

Creating a menu plan every week is certainly making life easier in terms  of creating a healthy balanced meal for dinner. I did veer slightly from the set menu this week, purely to use up leftovers. I have set myself a mission not to waste any food from my fridge or cupboards and have been monitoring daily what I have in stock and when it needs to be used. I will keep up this habit when I get back to work. Our fridge is always chock-a-block full and things get squished to the back so I forage daily. I made a beautiful pasta sauce yesterday from the Cherry Tomato Relish I made a few weeks back, and we still have plenty more so I will utlise the freezer and store some for when I am back at work.

My other challenge this week was to create a menu that would utilise the beautiful greens I have been harvesting from the garden. Every meal this week I can add chopped greens to the mix, and accompany with a fresh salad. Last night I made a Thai chicken curry using the dahl which I made from leftover vegies last week. I made a whole crockpot-ful so had tons to use. All I added was chicken breast, light coconut milk and chopped greens. So quick and easy.

Monday - Thai Chicken Curry With Rice
Tuesday - Beef Rissoles with Mashed Potato and Onion Gravy
Wednesday - Chicken Burritos with Salsa and Guacamole
Thursday - Chicken Sausage Casserole
Friday - Tuna Mornay
Saturday - Creamy Tomato Beef Pasta
Sunday - Almond Crusted Chicken with Garden Salad

Anyway, every week as promised, I am publishing the most popular meal from the week before (as judged by my family and the lack of leftovers). This week it was the  Baked Tomato Meatballs pictured above. This meal is so quick to make, perfect for those who work and low in calories for those who are dieting.

Baked Tomato Meatballs (Serves 5)

500g lean beef mince
1 egg
5 slices bread, processed into breadcrumbs
1/2 Zucchini, grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
Olive Oil
1 x 500g jar of pasta sauce or 2 cups home made tomato pasta sauce
1 cup grated low-fat cheese
Mixed vegetables or pasta

Prepare your vegetables and place on stove to steam, or boil pasta.

Combine the beef, egg, breadcrumbs, zucchini and onion in a bowl. The use your hands to ensure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed, and form into meatballs. I like them to be about 1/2 desertspoon size and the mix makes about 25-30 at this size. You can make them smaller and have more if you like.

Add a little olive oil to a frypan and gently brown all over. Transfer the meatballs to a baking dish with a wire rack. This will ensure any fat drains whilst cooking. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 mins.

I made these the night before and left them in the fridge covered in plastic wrap. Now put your meatballs into a microwave proof dish and pour over the tomato sauce. Mix it around the meatballs and cover with cheese.

Microwave on high for two minutes or until cheese melted.

My boys prefer to have theirs with pasta and they usually add extra cheese. Parmesan works well too.

Grocery Budget

As part of this weekly post I will keep you up to date with my grocery budget which I am hoping to reduce by $50/week.

I decided to get my fruit and vegies from our local farm fresh supplier, as an alternative to going to the markets on Sunday. I only spent $18 which is well below my grocery spend of $35.00.

They had pumpkins for 50c each which is amazing value and the button squash was only $2 for a half kilo bag. I even bought free-range eggs and am itching to get my chook pen happening.

In total this week I spent $142.00, which together with last weeks spend puts me at $374 for the fortnight. This is $26 below my budget of $400 which is a good start. $13/week towards my goal of saving $50/week. I have plenty of meat in the freezer and the stockpile cupboards are full so I am hoping to continue the save in weeks to come. Will keep you posted.

If you menu plan join me and link up with Becci's Domestic Bliss. I would love to see what you have planned for dinner this week.
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