Saturday, 8 November 2014

Menu plan ~ Cooking for one, Week 2

This menu plan assumes you've already done Week 1, so you have some of your meals cooked already. If you haven't, you probably want to start there! Also, you don't have to be cooking for one - if there are more in your household, just multiply by the relevant number. (If you're multiplying by more than 2, you'll need some pretty big pots, mind. Maybe don't make double of the kedgeree and Moroccan stew, as those make loads anyway - both serve at least 8.)

As before, the recipes are wheat-free (provided you buy corn tortilla wraps). This lot isn't veggie, though. The two new meat-based meals are roasted chicken pieces and a Moroccan stew - not sure how those would convert to veggie. If you have any ideas, let me know & I'll put up the alternatives.

Download menu plan

Here's what we've already got:

Already madeStore cupobard
1 x sausage & mash
1 x bolognese
2 x ratatouille
2 x cottage veg soup
2 x chickpea salad
tortilla filling (from the chilli con carne)

= 5 dinners, 4 lunches
frozen peas
1/2 cucumber
1/2 bulb garlic
1/2 packet butter
blue cheese
2 eggs
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

So this week we're going to nom up the chickpea salad and eat one cottage veg soup, one ratatouille, the tortilla filling, and the sausage and mash. We'll do two big cooks on Saturday and Wednesday (kedgeree and Moroccan stew), one one-off cook (a Sunday roast), two lunch cooks (one salad and one soup) and the rest will be collating or defrosting. This is 14 homecooked meals and you're only actually cooking five times. This totally rocks. You see now how the only-cook-when-you-feel-like-it approach starts to hove into view...

The Meal Plan

Do for tomorrow
chickpea salad
BIG COOK: Kedgeree on baby spinach with yoghurt
Freeze 5 portions of kedgeree
chickpea salad
Roast chicken, herby potatoes, broccoli, garlic-fried kale
Put the roast garlic in olive oil; *make butternut soup
Butternut soup
Collate Tortilla
Defrost sausage & mash, cooking bacon; freeze 2 portions butternut soup; *make bacon & blue cheese salad
Bacon & blue cheese salad (prep marrow)
Sausage & mash with marrow & bacon, garlic kale
Moroccan stew: rub the spices on the meat; chop onion & coriander in advance if you want
same salad
BIG SLOW COOK: Moroccan stew
NB: 3-hour oven time
Defrost one ratatouille; freeze 3-4 portions Moroccan stew
same salad
Defrost one veg soup, one portion kedgeree
veg soup
Collate Kedgeree bake on baby spinach with herby spicy yoghurt

* If you work from home, you'll need to make these the evening before. 
Sunday's a bit of a cooking day, but the roast only takes half an hour (trust me) and you can get the butternut soup going alongside that. Plus you'll be roasting some heads of garlic while the oven's hot anyway, which you'll then put in a jar full of olive oil so you have your very own roast-garlic-infused olive oil plus handy cloves of roast garlic whenever you need them. On Tuesday, once you've fried the bacon, you'll leave some in the pan along with all that impossible-to-clean bacon-stickiness, and chuck in some chopped marrow / courgette. That cooks down nicely, and releases plenty of liquid, so you have a delicious bacony marrow/courgette side dish and the pan is now ridiculously easy to clean. Megan's Patented Bacon-Pan Marrow Method.™ If you can't do a slow cook on Wednesday (three hours in the oven) swap the kedgeree and the Moroccan stew around - the kedgeree is quicker.

In the freezer for next week: 3 lunches; 9 dinners

From last weekAdded this week
1 x bolognese
1 x ratatouille
1 x cottage veg soup
2 x butternut soup
4 x kedgeree
3 x Moroccan stew

The Shopping List (for lunches and dinners)

Stock-take: do you still have...?
  • 125g rice
  • half a head of garlic (that's half a bulb, not half a clove)
  • 125g butter (half a block)
  • 150g blue cheese (you only used 50g last week)
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 egg
  • 500ml olive oil
  • 50ml Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 chilli (if you bought more than 3 last week)
Add anything you're missing to this shopping list:

Fruit & veg & fresh stuff
  • 1 courgette & 1 medium marrow or 3-4 courgettes
  • 3 medium potatoes & about 6 baby potatoes
  • 200-250g green beans
  • 260g (about) spinach
  • broccoli florets or 1 very small broccoli
  • 200g bag of kale or equivalent whole
  • 2 heads of garlic (in addition to what you already have)
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 big head lettuce / two small (whichever kind you fancy)
  • 1 butternut
  • 2-3 cooking apples (roughly the same volume as butternut) - the tartest you can find, which often come from someone's tree / box outside their house rather than the shops
  • 6 spring onions / 1 bundle
  • 1 avocado - optional
  • 3-4 tomatoes or the equivalent amount in baby tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 cucumber (in addition to the half you already have)
  • 1 small squash (about 800g)
If you can, buy these in pots. The supermarket ones won't grow like nursery / garden-centre ones, but they will last longer than in packets. I have't given quantities - apart from the coriander, you'll need about 1 tablespoon chopped of each; it's hard to buy such small amounts. We'll do Cunning Things with what's left over.
  • rosemary
  • parsley
  • mint
  • chives
  • small bunch coriander
  • 1-2 pieces (according to your appetite) of chicken with skin on - thighs or breast, your preference
  • 250g cooking bacon (lots of shops sell "cooking bacon" as well as the nicely-cut rashers - it's usually cheaper)
  • 600g stewing beef
  • yoghurt (250g, or 500g if you want some for breakfast as well)
  • 150g cheddar (or any hard cheese you fancy) 
Dried goods & tins & condiments
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes (400g each)
  • packet of tortilla wraps (you need 1 or 2, but they come in packs of 6-8 and keep reasonably well; get corn ones if you don't eat wheat)
  • 125g red lentils (buy a bigger bag if you can; it's cheaper and they keep almost indefinitely)
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 1 bottle of chilli sauce - optional, your preferred spice level
  • powdered bouillon or vegetable stock cubes (I like the Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder; the Knorr vegetable stock pot ones like little tubs of jelly stuff are also good)
  • 100g prunes (yes I know they're fruit, but they're not kept with the fruit)
  • packet of flaked almonds (you need 2 Tablespoons)
  • packet of couscous (you need 70ml, but this also keeps almost indefinitely)
Ideally, don't buy these from the supermarket - find a good spice wholesaler and buy larger quantities so you can start to build your Spice Collection (if you don't have one yet). If that sounds like Foreign, you can see me going spice-shopping here and advice on finding your own spice shop. The exception is the ras el hanout - that's a Moroccan mix; my spice shop doesn't have it so I buy stupid expensive little pots of it in Sainsbury's. I want to learn to make my own. Quantities: you'll need 1 Tablespoon of everything.

  • whole cumin
  • whole black mustard seeds
  • ground hing aka asafoetida (usually comes in a bright yellow box or tub)
  • ground turmeric
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger
  • ras el hanout (a Moroccan spice mix - essential for the Moroccan stew, so track this baby down)

The Recipes

As before, the timely provision of recipes depends entirely on your enthusiasm, encouragement, and yelling "Megan, I need the recipe to cook this!" I have a busy teaching week ahead, so if you are doing all of this this week, let me know so I can make sure you have the recipes. I'll link to them below as they go up. UPDATE: All the new recipes are up!

So this is how I've spent my rainy Saturday morning. Now, off to the shops!

In Your Store Cupboard

By now, from Week 1 and this week, this is what you should have in your store cupboard...
  • rice
  • red lentils
  • 1/2 bottle white cooking wine
  • 1/2 jar of pesto
  • frozen peas
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • homemade roasted garlic in olive oil
  • 4 tortilla wraps
  • chilli sauce
  • veg stock cubes / bouillon
  • flaked almonds
  • couscous
  • mixed frozen herbs for future herby potatoes / stews
  • paprika
  • cumin
  • black mustard
  • hing / asafoetida
  • turmeric
  • ground ginger
  • ras el hanout
You also have 3 lunches and 9 dinners in the freezer!


  1. I do not know how you do it, Megan, but your timing is perfect! This morning I told myself: "Ask Megan for something for Butternut..." as I walked past the now perfect butternut picked from the garden.
    Going shoping tomorrow morning, and IF you have the time, I would be greatful reading the recipes for:
    Butternut soup (I remember the orange colour of the flesh, the smoothness, the scents and the taste, and the ease with which you cooked it at The Hideaway many years ago. I had never seen a butternut squash in my life before. Now I grow them in my garden. Thanks to you).
    Moroccan stew

  2. Oh, wonderful! My butternut soup has taken on a more English twist. See if you can find some really tart cooking apples - it's the perfect season for them and the tartest ones always come from someone's tree, not the shops. The recipes shall be yours! I'm busy making printable shopping lists & menu plans, I'll put those up in a sec. And now I'm thinking fond thoughts of The Hideaway... xxx

  3. :) In my old garden I had all the apples I could wish for. These days it's different, but I know just the tree that needs someone to stop by and pick some of its' cooking apples.
    I wish you a beautiful Sunday! xxx