A meal plan for the week full of hungry mouths and no time…

Trying to see the silver lining in all situations, I’m happy to report that this year I find myself with about 5 hours a week of extra thinking time. This is, of course, due to the fact that my daughter has changed schools and being too nervous to catch two buses (she is only 10), I’m currently driving her both there and back each day. So the thinking time eventuates when I’m in the car, waiting for traffic lights to change colour.

Rather than getting flustered and irate as another cycle passes with the intersection blocked by cars from the other direction, I’m choosing to be all zen, drifting away instead to sweeter thought patterns that mainly revolve around chiseled abs, child-free nights and too many cocktails food.

Perhaps it’s lucky that I find myself with time to think and plan our week’s worth of dinners, since by the time that I finally get through the last fucking set of lights I’ve got bugger-all time left to cook anything.

Here’s how I coped last week….

Saturday

Silky smooth carrot, parsnips & cauliflower soup.

Silky smooth carrot, parsnip & cauliflower soup.

Silky roast vegie soup. Requested by Miss F, who cares not for seasons and was feeling hardly done by since it has been months since I last cooked her favourite meal.

Sunday

This will make friends with salad!

This will make friends with salad!

Steak & salad.

Finally the kids will tuck into a nice little piece of steak, which is making this dinnertime easy. I love the hit of iron at the start of the week, and I use all my secret salad tips, including a dollop of our current favourite dressing.

Monday

Saucy! Great for dipping into with bread.

Saucy! Great for dipping into with bread.

On my day off I had the slow cooker going and I also whipped up some nachos mince. I find cooking two meals on the one day is the key to keeping us healthy all week. The slow cooker meal was a lamb & pasta dish, which I’ve not had the chance to type up – try this lamb chop slow cooker recipe for something similar.

Tuesday

Nachos. Her latest favourite.

Nachos. The kids love it. The mince was made and awaiting me in the fridge, which was great, since I’d worked during school hours and we’d had cricket practice until 6.30. Whipped up in a jiffy and devoured by all.

Wednesday

Another work day, and swimming after school. I chucked some potatoes in the oven before we went. The kids and I had the innards of ours mixed through with tuna, cheese, olive oil, corn, mushrooms & fennel. Mr VS had the leftover nachos mix dumped on his, which he assured me was as satisfying as a cold beer on a sunny day while you’re looking at a pretty view (preferably with a pretty woman, too).

Thursday

Thursday was SAUSAGES NIGHT. I tend to do a big shop on the weekend, so by later in the week I’m onto the protein that keeps well for a curious number of days without spoiling. Tuna tins, ham hocks, sausages etc fill the brief nicely. To complete the vibe of our-life-is-from-the-70s, I whipped up these curried sausages, which are as mild as it gets and still hot enough to evoke comments from Miss F about burning tongues, the cruelty of her mother and how no-one really cares about her. The rest of us enjoyed them.

In an I-go-to-wholefoods-twist, we had them on cauliflower rice. Not because I give a toss about being paleo, but because it’s tasty and variety in all things is welcome.

Curried sausages & cauliflower rice

Curried sausages & cauliflower rice


Curried sausages

1 tbsp olive oil
1 granny smith apple, finely diced
1 spanish onion, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled, finely diced
8 sausages of your choice (plain or ones with added garlic & herbs are good)
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cups beef stock (hot)
1 tbsp BBQ sauce (I think this is the magic ingredient, but it’s optional, leave it out if you hate sugar)
1 cup peas (or green beans are also good)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Tip in the apple, onion and carrots. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring every now & then, until the onion is browning and the carrots starting to soften. Remove the vegies and set aside.

Pop the sausages into the pan. Turn regularly and cook for 15 minutes until just cooked through. Also remove and set aside (but leave the fat).

Tip the curry powder and flour into the hot pan. Use a wooden spoon to stir for a minute or so, to cook off the flour and release the curry fragrance. Slowly add in the hot stock, stirring or whisking to get rid of any lumps. Add the BBQ sauce then return the vegies and sausages.

Pour the peas over the top. Mix through and as soon as they’ve thawed, serve over the cauliflower rice.

Cauliflower rice

1 head of cauliflower, cut into large florets)
2 tbsp olive oil (coconut oil also works, but I prefer olive oil with this dish)

Blitz the cauliflower in a food processor (I do two batches in my mini food processor). You’re aiming for a ‘rice’ consistency.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped cauliflower and cook, stirring often, for 7-8 minutes until softened (you still want some texture, don’t over do it).

Friday

And for our dirty little secret? The kids ate fish fingers and chips, and I survived on semillon blanc, chips and a good bit of chatter with friends.

How was your week?

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15 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Seana said,

    Oh that does give me a good list of things to think about. I wish I could get my family used to slow cooked meals as they would suit me well… of course I probably could if I was just a bit (a lot) more persistent.

    I have a very veggie husband and kids who eat meat, so baked spuds work well for us too, very flexible. Popping off to check out the lastest salad dressing recipe.

  2. 3

    Oh the joys of the commute! This year I resolved to make my now 14 yr old catch the bus TO and from school. My morning routine is so much calmer now…. Still can’t get her to eat her veges… *sigh*

  3. 5

    Jess said,

    That made me laugh. I love you Wendy.

  4. 7

    Mrs P said,

    Ahh traffic, how terribly painful.
    These days the kids seem to wait until I’m locked in the car with them and they play one hundred million questions. Their voices only get louder if I feign not hearing them…

    Hopefully they’ll be accepted into the local independent school which is nice and close 🙂

    Cheers for the laugh and for the always useful recipes. 🙂

  5. 9

    Barbara Good said,

    Traffic…. the reason I left the city. Now I can get just about anywhere in town within ten minutes and we live close enough to walk Miss Five to school (in less than ten minutes) and Miss Three to kinder (in a little over ten minutes). It’s great! Mind you I still find being organised and menu planning necessary with school runs, kinder runs and extra curricular activities. Plus several committee meetings a month (cos I’m a total sucker!!), working on my Masters project/thesis, working casually (as in I get a phone call at 7.30am saying can you be here in an hour) and looking for regular/permanent work (job applications are so tedious these days!)
    Your recipes have saved me many a day. This weeks best success story was your lemon chicken (VS1) which was a total hit!! The chicken with udon noodle soup has also converted Miss Five to be soup accepting (sadly I could get the delicious looking roasted veg soup past her just yet, I’m working on it though) and your lamb chop slow cooker recipe has been a long term favourite (I use the left overs as the most delicious pasta sauce by the way. It tastes like ragu even if there’s only little scrappy bits of meat left in it). Miss Five is a meat and salad fan so that salad dressing is going down on the list for this week and I reckon the whole crew will love the nachos.
    Seriously, at the moment yours is the ONLY recipe books appearing on my recipe holder. Several every week, sneaking vegs into unsuspecting mouths is like a super power.

    • 10

      wendyblume said,

      Such a lovely comment mrs good – thank you! You should give the cauliflower rice a try with the lemon chicken next time – double smuggle. BOOM.

      And yes, I’m in mourning for my 10 minute school walk, but miss f was offered a place in an opportunity class and it seemed like too good an offer to miss, despite how it has thrown our lives into a bit of logistical chaos. So far she’s loving it, so hearing her tales of an afternoon is easing the stress. 🙂

  6. 11

    lsg1378 said,

    Can I just say that because you swore, I love you even more! =D

  7. 13

    Zoe said,

    Wendy, you’re a gem. Love a blog post that combines healthy cooking + swearing = realities of modern motherhood. Good luck with keeping your zen on…

  8. 14

    Sarah said,

    We’re having the nachos tonight! Can’t wait, I think my boys will love it.


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