Mushroom Ragu Lasagna
Lentil Ragu Lasagna

Generic weekly meal plans

As many budgeters know, there are certain generic meals that can be endlessly modified, as well as all the wonderful recipes for these generic recipes, they will swallow whatever you have available, help in the weekly fridge clean out and use up all kinds of bits and pieces. I’ve been musing about it for a while and this week I thought that it would be perfectly possible to meal plan around generic meals. If you wanted to use a structure, it would maybe make meal planning that bit easier. A possible seven day structure that I came up with was….
1. Risotto
2. Pasta
3. Pizza
4. Soup Night
5. Fakeaway
6. Jacket Potato
7. Roast

You could do these same meals every week for months and months and never have the same thing twice!

Print a weekly meal planner here

Monday – risotto

A risotto is a thing of beauty and unctuous deliciousness (lovely word that isn’t it, unctuous). I have made risottos many times and I always use arborio rice. I have tried it with the best, carnoroli, but couldn’t honestly tell the difference. I’ve tried it with value rice and didn’t like that much at all. It disintegrated and was mushy. Arborio gives a creamy, yes, unctuousness, whilst retaining texture and interest.

Examples on the blog include…..

chicken and pea risotto from the Rubber Chicken feature, where I managed to make 28 meals using one medium chicken.
Broad bean, pea and mint risotto. 
Asparagus and pea risotto 

Seems I have a thing about peas in risotto! Other things that can be used to make glorious risotto include beetroot: tomato: seafood: use your wonderful home made chicken stock from a carcass, or vegetable stock from peelings. Chorizo always gives lots of flavour, or cheap cooking bacon with mushrooms, a few dried porcini, roasted peppers.

Fridge gleanings could include a few leftover roasted vegetables, the last shreds of meat, a handful of prawns, a spoonful of home made gravy left from the roast, a solitary beetroot, a single celery stalk, a couple of withered carrots. Just put together the ingredients you have that will go well together and team them with a bit of rice, an onion, butter, stock and Parmesan. Lovely!

Risotto

 

Tuesday – pasta

How many squillions of recipes are there for pasta!

Thrifty Lesley options include…

Cabbage, sultana and nut pasta bake
Baconey, tomatoey pasta
Spinach and ricotta pasta bake 
HM pasta, cream, mixed veg, mustard
Chicken and onion pasta bake from the Rubber Chicken feature
The absolute classic, pasta and tomato sauce
Salsa di noci e pasta
Spring green pasta sauce with parmesan
Tuna and pasta salad 
Smoked salmon pasta
Sardine pasta sauce
Creamy walnut pasta sauce
Cheesey pasta
and Mango, Coconut and Feta pasta

Courgette pasta

 

 

Wednesday – pizza

Keep some Magic Dough  in the fridge and you can knock up a pizza quickly, or make a scone based pizza, just as good.
Chorizo and roasted vegetable pizza
Rubber chicken pizza and salad 
Anchovy pizza
You don’t have to use a tomato sauce base, anything that you think will taste good together can go on a pizza. Have a look in the fridge and see what you have.

or buy a pizza at Aldi 

pizza

Thursday – soup night

You could make a main course soup like Mulligatawny, or one of the huge variety of soups. Most soups work out to be around 20p a big bowl. Here, we have, amongst many others

Sweet potato and lentil soup
Classic tomato soup
Super cheap Split Pea Soup
Roasted vegetable soup with a scone and roasted onion topping
Spiced broccoli soup with tomato scone or herb bread
Chestnut and red lentil soup
Spicy parsnip soup
Lettuce soup to use up a bag of leaves
For a tutorial on how to make soup, have a look here
Have your soup with lovely crusty bread, with or without butter. or a scone, fresh from the oven, spread with butter or with a bit of cheese melting between the two halves. Or try a tomato scone, one of the most popular recipes.

 

Spiced broccoli soup recipe

Friday – fakeaway, pie or curry

Fridays are traditionally takeaway night. If you want to stay on budget, there are many brilliant fakeaways. Fish and chips, curries, Chinese and Indian. They can all be very successfully made at home.

Pie and mash

If you want a lovely pie, there are many varieties here. Here’s a couple.

Chicken and onion pie 
A vegetarian pie – lentil, coconut and bean sprout
Bacon & Sweetcorn

lunchtime pies

Curry

We do curry quite often on Thrifty Lesley, how about these

Goan fish curry 
Butter bean and vegetable curry (vegetarian)
Sweet bean curry
Paneer curry
Green tomato curry
Turkey curry
Green Thai kidney bean curry
Chickpea, mango and coconut curry
Pumpkin curry
Fiery potatoes, spicy and delicious 
Dahl sambar
Sag aloo
Naan

curry

Chinese

Chow Mein
A vegetable stir fry 
Chicken with soy, sesame and honey 

Soy honey and sesame chicken

Thai

Pad Thai
Green Thai Kidney Bean Curry 

Thai food

Spanish

Tapas

tapas

Saturday – jacket potato

For LOADS of ideas, checkout this post

You could have the classics

beans
cheese
cheesey beans
tuna mayonnaise
prawns.

When the girls were small, one of their favourites was what we called cheesy jackets. It was handy for a working mum, as I could reheat them. They could be prepared several days ahead, or frozen. The spuds were cooked through and the skins scooped out. The hot potato was mashed up with butter, cheese and seasoning, then piled back into the skins. When it was tea-time, they were re-heated in the oven until the top went crispy. They would have that with various other bits and pieces, or just on their own. Sides could be baked beans, a squirt of ketchup, or a tomato and slices of cucumber, perhaps a sausage

Or you could get more creative and try

Roasted grape and goat cheese drizzled with honey
Caramelised onion and mushrooms
Cottage cheese and crispy bacon
Sour cream and chives
Chopped sausage and tomato
Smoked salmon and cream cheese
Brie and ham

jacket potato

Sunday – roast lunch

As well as the classic roast lunches, try the meatless version that has all the wonderful traditional flavours of a Sunday lunch, but hasn’t got any meat. There are crunchy roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, crispy Yorkshires, piles of veg, lovely gravy. Would you notice no meat? We didn’t when we accidentally had lunch without the meat, it was still in the kitchen!

Turkey lunch
Roast pork lunch
Roast chicken lunch
Vegetarian, Chestnut, cranberry and walnut tart

cheap christmas lunch

 

Print a weekly meal planner here

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Mushroom Ragu Lasagna
Lentil Ragu Lasagna