Do you shop at Lenard’s? We were given some gift vouchers, including one for a roast chicken so added it to the meal plan last week. I haven’t had Lenard’s in years!!
Please let me know if you use it and what you think! If you have any requests or suggestions I’d love to hear them.
♥ Monday – Dinner at Grandma & Grandad’s House
♥ Tuesday – Lenard’s Spinach & Pinenut Chicken Sausages and Chickpea & Potato Salad
♥ Wednesday – Dinner at the Pub
♥ Thursday – Dinner out for Aunty Em’s Birthday
♥ Friday – Lenard’s Greek Pinwheels with raita
♥ Saturday – McCormick’s Herb Chicken and Potatoes
♥ Sunday – McCormick’s Beef Brew with Herb Dumplings
Long post today! I’ve got lots to “talk” to you about.
The lovely people from Lenard’s sent me a couple of gift vouchers after the Kids Business Bloggers BBQ – one was for their new Lenard’s Signature Fresh Family Roast. My parents were coming to babysit Lily while I was at my course on Wednesday night so I thought it would be a great night to try out the roast. In the end Mr Monkey even had the night off work!
I’ve never actually cooked a roast chicken before so the ease of these chickens really stood out to me – they come in the tray that you cook them in, with the glaze (in our case a “Premium Balsamic”) plus all of the yummy goodness of the herbs and garnish. You simply pour 2/3rds of the glaze over the chicken, pop it into the oven for 90mins, pour the rest of the glaze over the chicken and roast for a further 15mins. Simple!
The chicken was really moist and yummy and went down a treat. Mr Monkey shredded the leftovers and we had it on toasted sandwiches the next day. He also used the carcass to create a chicken stock which left the house smelling really yummy.
These roasts are great for a quick, easy roast meal and would be perfect for people with minimal cooking skills or even for an easy dinner party.
When we bought the roast chook last week we also picked up some Spinach & Pinenut Chicken Sausages and Greek Pinwheels with the other gift vouchers. I really wanted Chicken Kievs as I haven’t had them in years but Mr Monkey suggested we get something that we hadn’t tried before. We put both straight in the freezer so we could keep them for this week’s meal plan. I checked the Lenard’s website for some side dishes that may work with the sausages and found the Chickpea and Potato Salad. I thought the pinwheels would go best with a light salad and perhaps a bit of raita. Yum!
I was also contacted by McCormick’s to trial their new Recipe Creations and a range of new Recipe Bases. I mentioned the Recipe Creations earlier – they’re great packets that contain just the right amount of herbs to create each meal. All going well, I’ll be sharing my experience of the recipes with you next week!
Budget Meal Planning
This week, after really no planning on my part, we don’t really have to do much grocery shopping – just some fruit and veg and some general things.
But in the coming weeks I want to work on getting our grocery bills down. Our car registration and insurance is due at the end of the month and that takes a big wallop out of Mr Monkey’s pay check. We also had quite a lot to pay off the credit card but thanks to basically no spending the past few weeks we’ve been able to get that right down again. But it’s made me realise that perhaps we should be spending less each week – we spend around $150-$200 a week for the three of us. Not too bad considering we buy a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, a fair amount of meat and fresh fish. So, not too bad but it could definitely be better.
The last few weeks of eating only what we’ve had in the house has been enlightening but very challenging – we haven’t eaten as many fresh vegetables and I struggled to be imaginative and come up with interesting meals.
Mr Monkey was given a sample tin of crushed tomatoes (2.5kgs!) so we made up a basic bolognese sauce to freeze. We have the stock that Mr Monkey made from the leftover chicken and I’ve made sure to freeze any leftovers. Our biggest issue is the fact that we have a very small freezer, one that is just on to of the fridge, so we can only freeze a small amount of meals, plus have room for the frozen veggies and bulk lots of meat etc. I’d really like to get a chest freezer but we simply do not have the room.
I think I need to be conscious in the coming weeks of what I am planning with our meal plans. It’s been great ensuring we have one chicken, one fish, one meat, one vegetarian meal etc each week as well as being mindful of the side dishes but I haven’t been as conscious of how much each meal is actually costing. I tend to simply look for interesting meals and they can often include ingredients that are uncommon or out of season. I’m not sure why but it takes a lot for me to get my head around the fact that not everything is in season all the time – I suppose that’s one problem of always shopping at major supermarkets.
Another issue is that while I normally cook enough that there is leftover for Mr Monkey when he gets home from work, our lunch the next day or maybe a meal to go in the freezer, I normally focus on each meal as separate from the others. I need to star looking for meals that can last for more than one day e.g. a spag bol that becomes a lasagna the next night.
So, you may see a bit of a focus in my meal plans from now on – I want to create budget friendly meal plans while still ensuring that we eat a varied and healthy diet.
What are your budget meal planning tips? Do you manage to keep costs down while still providing healthy and interesting meals for your family?
Have you entered my Oral B Giveaway yet? Go on!!
Disclaimer: I was given 2 $20 gift vouchers from Lenard’s to try their new Signature Fresh Family Roast and other products. I was not paid for this post.