I’ve been meaning to make this meal planner for sometime now. Every Sunday I tell myself “I’ll do that this week” then another week flies by and another meal planning session slaps me in the face. UGH. Things have moved on a little (only a little) since I made this last meal planner. We’ve added new foods to the regular hit list and have a bit of a theme to each day.
Pebble LOVES the daily theme and it’s really helped her to accept that some days she gets her favourite and some days she doesn’t. I like it too, it kind of makes meal planning easier, it reduces the overwhelming “what to cook” feeling a little bit. As for Rocky – he hates anything that isn’t sausages or yoghurt. We just keep trying *sigh*
I plan for Mondays and Tuesday to be most labour intensive, as that’s when I have my days off. Then Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are meals that are super quick and easy or cooked ahead. Saturday and Sunday are a breeze, as you’ll see!
Below is a screenshot showing a planner filled in with all our family favourites. Following that is a screenshot of the empty planner.
If you want this meal planner just click on the images above to download.
What are the favourite family meals in your home?
Want some food inspiration? This doco on Netflix is pretty mind blowing.
*Disclaimer: I’m a part of the Netflix Stream Team. Netflix provided me with a 12 month subscription. I am not obliged to nor do I get paid to write about Netflix. If and when I do write about Netflix, all opinions are my own.
When I was in my twenties I had a love affair with Thai food. I fell head over heels for the delicate balance of flavours. Not just eating Thai food- I loved to cook it. I would visit our pokey little Asian grocery, over powered by strange smells and fascinated by all the bottles and jars. I’d load up with unreasonably cheap meat, herbs and veg, dreaming of the culinary creations to come.
I don’t make Thai nearly as often these days. Some might argue that kids can eat bold flavours and spices, and I don’t disagree with them. I’ve just been very slow to offer them to my already quite fussy kiddos. Perhaps Thai food will unlock the secret to their taste buds!
Our family dinner table sees a lot of meat and three veg, casseroles, pastas…. meat and three veg. Did I say that already? I do look forward to Friday nights though. For some reason I always seem to need a special meal on a Friday night. Something that says “Hello Weekend! Pleased to see you!”. It might be homemade gourmet pizzas or a rich pasta dish that we enjoy with a glass of wine (not the kids, obvs!). Lately, though, I’ve been firing up my wok and getting back to that fresh, hot, spicy, sour, sweet and delicate Thai flavour.
Last week I made these spicy chicken noodles and they really hit the spot. I love a big bowl of steaming noodles with a kick to them. This week I reinvented an old favourite. Years ago I used to make a rich, creamy Tom Ka Gai (Thai Chicken Soup) almost weekly. It was slightly sour at the back of the throat with a big punch of lime. Delish! I wanted to find that flavour again but ease up on the creaminess while bulking up the veg content. This is what I came up with.
Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
500g chicken breast
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2cm knob of ginger, crushed
1 stalk of lemongrass, bashed but left whole
5 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1 small red capsicum, thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
2 bok choy, thinly sliced
5 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
2 large red chillies, thinly sliced (optional)
1.25 litres of chicken stock
270ml coconut milk
4 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon palm sugar
the juice and zest from 1 lime
fresh coriander leaves
Heat the coconut oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Fry off the garlic and ginger until fragrant, then add in the lemongrass, lime leaves and vegetables and cook until just starting to soften.
Pour in the stock, coconut milk, fish sauce, soy sauce and palm sugar and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Throw in the chicken breasts and simmer until just cooked through, approximately 15 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts.
Add in the lime juice and zest, taste and adjust seasonings.
Remove the chicken breasts, shred the meat and return it to the pot.
Serve with fresh coriander leaves.
This soup is packed full of flavour, but is still mild enough to offer to kids. The two chillies I used had hardly any heat, however if you’re concerned about the chilli just leave it out.
What kind of food do you love to cook? Or do you prefer to dial for your food?
Every Monday it happens. The dreaded meal planning session. I’m getting stuck in such a rut, and am so frustrated with kids not eating the dinners I make. Of course I do this to myself – I love cooking and love to try new recipes, so I’m often trying new things out on them. Anything to avoid the repetitiveness of meat and three veg. That’s the very LAST thing I want to cook or eat in the evenings, but unfortunately it’s one thing that both kids will have a good go at eating. However, I insist on trying out new things, so that they grow up to be healthy, well rounded eaters and so that I don’t lose my marbles.
I recently found a great new source of recipes to try out. They all looked really easy to put together but still interesting enough to keep me happy while meeting kids needs too. I tried out the Chicken Satay Skewers, which turned out beautifully. The chicken was moist and tender, the satay sauce was absolutely scrummy and the snow pea and cabbage slaw is a side that works all year round.
Chicken Satay Skewers with Snow Pea and Cabbage Slaw
600g chicken breast fillets, cut into 3cm pieces 2 garlic cloves, crushed ¼ cup soy sauce ¾ cup coconut milk ¼ cup crunchy peanut butter 1 tbs sweet chilli sauce 2 tbs coriander leaves For the coleslaw: 2 cups shredded wombok (Chinese cabbage) 2 green shallots, sliced 100g snow peas, trimmed and shredded ¼ cup lime juice 1 tbs sesame oil
Combine chicken, garlic and 2 tbs of soy sauce in a bowl. Toss to combine. Thread onto 8 wooden skewers.
Preheat a char-grill pan over medium heat. Cook skewers for 3 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked through. Place on a plate and cover to keep warm.
Place coconut milk, peanut butter, sweet chilli sauce and remaining soy sauce in a small saucepan. Gently heat and whisk until smooth.
Meanwhile, place wombok, green shallots, snow peas, lime juice and sesame oil in a bowl. Gently toss to combine.
Serve skewers drizzled with sauce and sprinkled with coriander. Accompany with coleslaw.
How easy is that? If you’re looking for some more recipe inspiration pop over to the Origin Energy website. You’ll find this recipe along with lots of other tasty offerings. We’ve also tried the Beef and Vegetable Stove Top Stew. I’ll admit that I have struggled to master the humble stew. Mine always turn out a little watery and less than tasty. This recipe was a winner and has become my favourite go-to recipe for a delicious, winter-warming stew.
I love a good sausage roll. In fact, there is only one bakery in South Australia that I will buy a sausage roll from, because their sausage rolls are so good that none other compares. But that bakery is over an hours drive from me, so I don’t get to enjoy it’s tasty, meaty goodness very often. This recipe for pork and potato pastries is in no way meant to match the famous bakery sausage roll, but they help keep cravings at bay until I can get to Port Elliot again.
The pork and potato filled sausage rolls are moist and light, perfect for little fingers and mouths to enjoy. They are super easy to put together and you can modify the recipe to your own taste very easily. The potato makes them a lighter choice for the hips too, much less fat than the regular kind. Your friends will thank you if you bring these along to any party.
Pork and Potato Pastries
500g pork mince
3 medium potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
1 onion, grated or finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
4 sheets of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
In a large bowl combine all the ingredients except the puff pastry.
Cut each sheet of pastry in half.
Shape a large fistful of the mince mixture into a long sausage and line if up aong one edge of a piece pastry.
Roll the pastry into a log, overlapping the two edges slightly.
Using a sharp knife, cut the long sausage roll into mini sausage rolls (or keep em big if you prefer!)
Repeat until you’ve used all the mixture and pastry.
I kind of made this recipe up as I went along, and it took me a couple of goes to get the amount of mixture right per roll. It takes a little practice but after one or two rolls you will get the hang of how much to use.
I’d like to try adding some more veg to these, perhaps some grated carrot or grated zucchini, and maybe some grated cheese too. Or you could add a pop of flavour with pesto, curry paste or fresh herbs.
I’ve found it even easier than usual to whip up these little babies lately because I’ve been making the most of grocery shopping online with Woolworths. I’m a HUGE fan of online shopping, especially when I’ve got two little tackers in tow. With online shoppping I get the grocery shop done while I’m still in my PJs, I look up recipes on the Woolworths website or my favourite blogs while I’m shopping, and the kids are happy playing right alongside me while I do it. That means that all these yummy ingredients land on my door step at the click of a button.
One of my favourite features of Woolworths online shopping is the Lists. I can save my weekly shopping list to easily order from next time, or create a list with all the ingredients for a favourite recipe (like these sausage rolls) to add to my shopping trolley with one click. The Woolworths online shop also automatically keeps track of all my past orders, so I can browse those to click and add items to my trolley.
Another great tool is the last chance reminder as I go to the check out. So many times I’ve gotten to the check out when the friendly pop up asks “hey, you ordered this stuff last time, are you sure you don’t need it again?”. Thanks Woolworths! Such a life saver, I’m always forgetting to throw something into the trolley. I wish there was one of these at a real life checkout too!
Win – Free groceries for a year!
If you shop online at Woolworths before December 22 you will go into the draw to win free groceries for a year. That’s thousands of dollars worth of shopping and your family fed for the year. Yes please! You can shop by downloading the Woolworths app or registering for online shopping, whichever is easiest for you.
Have you tried grocery shopping online? Where’s your favourite bakery?
Baby Rocky is LOVING his finger foods. We started introducing solids about a week before he turned six months old and he has not stopped eating since. Anyone would think I had been starving him! He will eat pretty much anything I throw at him which has really encouraged me to offer him lots of new bits and pieces to try.
We are using a baby led weaning approach, which means lots of finger food and some spoon food offerings, like yoghurt, mashed banana and mashed veggies. Rocky is most happy when he’s got two fistfuls of food and a spoon headed for his face :) I thought you might like to try some of Rocky’s favourite finger foods with your baby at home.
Finger Foods for Babies
Pita bread and guacamole
Rocky loves flavour. When I offered him plain avocado he ate it, but he really wasn’t that into it. Then I gave him some of my dinner one night (or he snatched it out of my hand, however you like to look at it!). We were having wraps and he munched on my pita bread spread with guacamole. He couldn’t get enough of the stuff! To prepare, just warm the pita bread in the oven, wrapped in foil, until it’s gently warm and nice and soft (check the heat before offering it to baby!). For the guacamole, mash together the flesh from one avocado, half a peeled and grated garlic clove and a squeeze of lemon juice. Spread the guacamole on to triangles of pita bread and watch the demolition commence.
This tasty little morsel fits right into a hungry fist. I adapted this recipe from the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook using a stick blender, which makes it so easy to throw together. Grab a bowl and chuck in one tin (400g) of drained and rinsed chickpeas, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon each of ground coriander and ground cumin, 1 onion (chop it in half or quarters), the juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons of flour and a little bit of black pepper. Blitz with the stick blender until smooth, then shape into fist sized patties and pan fry in a tiny bit of oil. The whole family ate these for dinner, they were so delish (ok, Pebble tasted them – which is called winning around here). Tip: Pop the mixture into the fridge for an hour or so before shaping into patties. It will come together much more easily.
Parmesan chicken fingers
What kid doesn’t love nuggets? You can make your own healthy version that any hungry baby, child or adult will devour. Just slice a chicken breast into long, finger sized pieces (about 5cm in length allows bubs to easily grab one end and gnaw on the other). Coat the chicken fingers in natural yoghurt, then roll in a mixture made of equal quantities breadcrumbs and finely grated parmesan cheese. Bake in a hot oven (200 Celsius/400 Fahrenheit) for 15 – 20 minutes, turning once.
Since having kids we’ve tried a few different high chairs, at home, at friends houses and at cafes. I have simple needs – I like a high chair that’s safe, easy to clean and adjustable.
Pebble was pretty excited to see the big box arrive on our doorstep and had fun ‘helping’ me put it together. The Fisher Price Grow With Me High Chair meets ticks all my boxes and has a few extra features that are quite nifty. The grippy tray keeps plates, bowls and snacks from slipping all over the place and the different height options make it easy for children to join the family at the table.
Rocky was nice and comfy in the Grow With Me High Chair at dinner time. The tray is in just the right spot to catch all his dropped bits and pieces, and can easily be adjusted to allow more space for his round tummy as he grows. The tray also removes completely, which is perfect for toddlers who want to eat dinner at the table like a big kid, without needing a booster seat or a pile of wobbly cushions. The legs can also be adjusted to allow for different table heights. Pebble gives it a big thumbs up! She’s been using the Grow With Me High Chair to sit comfortably at the table to draw, eat and do puzzles.
The only problem I’m going to have with this high chair is two kids fighting over who gets to sit in it!
Would you like to win a Fisher Price Grow With Me High Chair? Just tell me what is the silliest/funniest/weirdest thing you’ve ever done to try and get your kids to eat their dinner.
This is a game of skill and entries will be judged based on creativity and originality. Open to Australian residents only. Entries close Saturday, 28th September, 2013.