Sunday, 26 October 2014

Menu plan ~ Cooking for one, Week 1

A week's cooking plan, with shopping list, so you eat healthy homemade food all week and only cook once a day, and have half of next week's food cooked.

Download menu plan

Dietary notes: healthy, wheat-free, meat (vegetarian option), portions err on the large side

I created this scheme years ago, for a friend, who'd been busting his gut working on his start-up and novel - and it turned out living off restaurant, cafe, and takeaway food was actually literally busting his gut, in a seriously bad way, and he needed to go off wheat for a while and eat more healthily.

It's a week's worth of meals, balanced to cook once a day, and just collate / dish up / defrost the other days.  That's lunch and dinners; I see breakfast as separate.  I also made a list of wheat-free breakfasts and gathered up the ingredients of the various meals into a shopping list. For the first week at least, it needs to be cooking once a day, to keep a varied diet and retain interest in what you're eating - but you end up with a batch of meals towards the next week.  All the lunches work well for making the night before and taking to work (provided you have a microwave to reheat soup) and I've arranged it so that any night you're making a lunch thing, you have an easy dinner going. It's set to start on a Saturday so you can get the ball rolling on the weekend.

Of course there's cooking and that takes a bit of time. But I do really believe cooking brings balance to a creative life.  Relaxed, mulling time; peaceful activity, with Radio 4 or music & thoughts, time out while your mind relaxes in a hammock and dreams.  And real sensuality.  Butter slowly melting in a copper-bottomed pan.

Although it says week 1, I haven't actually planned a week 2 yet. (With enough encouragement in the comments and assurances you're all gasping for such a thing, I may do - I love cooking, but my actual food is encouragement.) (UPDATE: I have now! Here's Week 2. See what encouragement does?!) At the end of week 1, though, you have three dinners and two lunches in the freezer, plus another two lunches in the fridge. So if you switch to cooking wisely (and in lavish quantities) every second day, you should be on a roll to eat with continual variety.

The meal plan

(properly written out, with adjustments, below!)

SaturdayLarge Greek salad Sausage & mash + 2 green veg (3 portions mash, freeze 2)
Sundaysame saladBig bolognese with kale (or spaghetti) (4 portions bolognese, freeze 3)
Mondaysame saladQuick Spinach & blue cheese frittata
Tuesdaycold frittataCollate Chilli con carne (Make veg soup for tomorrow)
WednesdayCottage veg soup (4 portions, freeze 2, fridge 1)Big ratatouille (3 portions, freeze 2)
Thursdaysame veg soupSalmon, green veg, baby potatoes (SHOP for salmon; make chickpea salad for tomorrow)
FridayKirsten's chickpea saladCollate Shepherd's pie

In the freezer for next week: 
  • 1 x bolognese
  • 2 x ratatouille
  • 1 x cooked sausage & onion (or 2 portions, if you eat 2 sausages at a time, not 3)
  • 1 x mash
  • 2 x Cottage veg soup
  • frozen peas
In the fridge:
  • Chickpea salad x 2 (eat in 2 days)

The Shopping List (for lunches & dinners)


  • Fresh green veg (green beans / asparagus / mange touts / sugarsnaps / etc) x 2 portions
  • Mange touts / sugar snaps, 1 packet
  • 1 packet / bunch kale
  • 1 lettuce
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 cucumber
  • 200g spinach
  • 700g carrots
  • 2 punnets mushrooms
  • 3 aubergines
  • 6 courgettes
  • 8 peppers
  • 1 small packet rocket
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bottle white wine (need 1/2 bottle)
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1.5 kg potatoes
  • 1 kg onions
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 3 chillis
  • any mixed herbs (ideally fresh, otherwise dry)
  • 1 packet rice (need 1/2 cup max)
  • 1 tin kidney beans (veggie option: 3 tins total)
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 2 tins black olives
  • 9 tinned / boxed tomatoes
  • Optional: pesto (to top the salmon)
  • 6 sausages (veggie sausages if you're veggie)
  • 750g mince (omit if veggie)
  • 1 packet frozen peas
  • 2 packets feta
  • 50g blue cheese (Stilton is ideal)
  • 1 block butter (won't get used up)
  • Optional: parmeson / pecorino (to top the salmon)
  • 6 eggs
  • Paprika
  • 2 fillets salmon (buy on the day!)
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar

 Wheat-free breakfast ideas

Pick whatever breakfasts tickle your morning fancy and add them to the shopping list:
  • muesli (crunchy kind = yum)
  • Greek yoghurt and stewed prunes
  • porridge (I have mine with salt, butter, and pepper)
  • yoghurt and fresh fruit
  • scrambled egg & oatcakes (you have 2 eggs floating free already from the shopping list)
  • oatcakes and cream cheese / cucumber
  • rye bread and cream cheese / cucumber

The recipes...

Remember I said my real food was encouragement? If you've got this far and you want my recipes for all this, ask and it shall be given unto you! I've got a backlog of recipe photos to go on the blog and at least some photos for almost all the dishes (and obviously, the recipes for all), but what goes up when depends on many factors, one of which is the joy of helping actual real people wot are actually really cooking.

UPDATE: All the recipes are now up! Some are hasty posts without pics, pics will follow, but they're all up. And I have schemes for a week two...

1 comment:

  1. At the Hill Top House there were tap dance and cries of joy, when the inhabitants realised they were to have real food for a whole week.
    No more "ready to eat - just heat" meals from ASDA. At least not for a week.
    Giving it some thought they decided to make a petition called: "Please continue the show and save our next week too".
    Thank you, Megan for sharing.