I cook every day for me, my husband and three small children. I have a limited budget and limited time.

I love good food, looking through recipe books and trying out new things, but meal planning and shopping can suck the joy out of it.

My idea is to take all the thought out of the boring bits and keep the creativity focused on the cooking and eating.

This blog may possibly be read by other people, but mostly I intend to use it as an organisational tool. So I make no apologies for my idiosyncrasies!

Where I use someone else’s recipe I provide a link, where possible to the published recipe online. Where I have the cookbook I still look for an online source in case I need to refresh my memory when I’m away from home. Please buy the books though- we want to keep those wonderful recipes coming!

I will maintain stocks of store cupboard items and buy roughly the same fresh foods every week. Every day will have an assigned set of core ingredients, which can be used to make a wide range of meals, when combined with store cupboard staples.

For example:

Core ingredients:
Butternut Squash
Tinned Tomatoes

Possible meals:
Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes in tomato sauce) with roasted aubergine
Vegetable lasagne
Pasta with tomato and vegetable sauce
Polenta with roasted vegetables
Tapas – any and all of the above with flatbreads and salads

Spiralised courgette ‘pasta’ with tomato and aubergine sauce

If I just don’t want to think about it I cook the first dish on the list, if I really can’t be bothered I pull something out of the freezer and if I’m feeling creative I’ll try something new. The children either have what we do, some variation on it, or something out of the freezer.

Any left over fresh ingredients get turned into soup, stock or slices and frozen if they can’t be used.

The point is that I know with my shopping list I can make a week’s worth of interesting meals cheaply, without having to make lists or plan. Take a look at the stores and shopping lists pages for more information.

I cook almost everything from scratch (including bread) in small moments when my toddler is busy, so I favour meals which can cope with that. I can let things marinate for hours, but I can only rarely find a solid uninterrupted half hour to make a ‘quick’ meal!

I’m vegan so my meals don’t contain any animal products, the principle would be the same for any diet though.

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