Review: Weekly Meal Planner

Adulting can be hard at the best of times. Throw a pandemic in the mix and well, between you and me there have been days when I have been foetal on my bed with a do not disturb sign on my forehead.

A saving grace has been meal planning. Instead of thinking about what to feed the family every day, standing in front of the fridge or freezer and pulling a blank, I like to plan once a week so that I could minimise my trips to the shop, feel like a have a modicum of control in all this craziness, and a big upside, minimise my food waste.

When I saw that these clever ladies had taken it one step further and were offering not only meal weekly meal plans, with a full shopping list for pantry staples and weekly groceries, I knew I had to share it!

This is what Emma sent me –
“This planner came about when we realised that people were getting bored with their own meals ( can I get an amen ?)
 – Are worried about money for food and have to budget but still want to eat delicious hearty foods.
 – Eliminate the hassle of finding recipes, making a shopping list and then going shopping. We have a complete shopping list that they can print out and tick off as they go along in the shopping aisle. Easy peasy!
 – To keep the meals simple and easy, as we know not everybody is a chef in the kitchen.
The plan is designed for the people who aren’t really chefs or competent cooks, more for people who see food as a means to an end and need to cook a meal for their family. We endeavour to strive for something different each week, and not go too far out of the boundaries for those that are afraid of cooking. We aim to hold peoples hands (socially distanced of course!) and help put a well planned and delicious meal on the table”
The meal plan takes care of all the aspects of your meal planning, covering, What to cook, What to buy, How much it will cost, and How to Cook it.
What a pleasure!
The meal plans are available on a weekly basis or a monthly subscription, and are for 2 – 4 people. There is a vegan option too.
I had all the ingredients on the shopping list, and my family love meatballs so I made the recipe below. It was delicious! The meatballs were juicy and I liked the idea of cooking them in the oven first instead of frying them. The sauce and pasta were a lot, and I reduced the amount of pasta rice specified in the recipe.

BAKED MEATBALLS WITH ORZO PASTA 

Serves 4 -5
Cooking & Prep Time: 45 minutes 

1 large/2 medium Onion

1 large/2 medium Carrot

2 Stalks Celery

3 Garlic Cloves

2 pkts, 600g Regular Beef Mince

2 tins, 400g each Chopped Tomatoes

2 slices Fresh Bread

1 pkt, 500g Orzo pasta ( I only used 1/2 a packet and would recommend only using 250g) 

 2 Beef Stock cubes/pots/ sachets 

 2 tsp Dried Mixed herbs

150ml Milk

200g Mozzarella or Cheddar cheese, grated

You will need the following equipment 

Chopping board
Large sharp knife
Baking tray/sheet
1 medium pot & 1 large pot
Grater, if you didn’t buy ready grated cheese
Mixing bowl of various sizes
Large roasting dish (ceramic or metal)

Read before you cook 

  • You can use any mince you prefer, lamb, pork etc.
  • You can use Tomato+Onion tins instead of chopped tomatoes.
  • You can also use fresh tomatoes.
  •  Fresh bread can be either white or brown.
  •  If you don’t want to use Orzo, use any other small pasta shape.
  • Using liquid stock? Use 500ml and omit the extra water.

Method

  1. Chop the onions into a fine block/dice and put half in a pot and half in a big bowl.
  2. Chop the carrots and celery as fine as you can/ like and add to the pot.
  3. Add a drizzle of oil to the pot and sauté the onions, celery and carrots till soft on a low heat. Add garlic, cook for a minute, then add the tins of tomato plus 1 tin of water, the stock, the dried herbs, salt, pepper and about 1 teaspoon of sugar. I added a tablespoon of honey because I like the sweetness of honey with tomato .
  4. Cook the tomato sauce slowly for about 15 minutes, if it reduces too much add a wee bit of extra water. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.
  5. For the meatballs:  Preheat the oven to 200oC
    Soak the bread in the milk and mash with a fork when soft, then add to the reserved chopped onions, discard any extra milk.Add the mince, salt and pepper and half teaspoon dried herbs.
    Mix the mixture till all the ingredients are incorporated but not too much, otherwise it makes the meatballs tough.
    Roll the the mince mixture into +-4cm round balls ( I used an ice cream scoop, and made 12 large meatballs) Place on a baking tray. Cook in the oven, close to the element on the top rack, till the tops are golden. About 5-8 minutes.
  6. While meatballs are cooking, cook the pasta in boiling salted water untill al dente, drain and refresh. Mix the pasta with the tomato sauce.
  7. Pour the pasta and sauce into a oven proof baking tray/ceramic dish or leave in your big pot and top with the meatball, put the grilled side of the meatballs downwards on the pasta and the undercooked side facing upwards.
  8. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 10 – 15 minutes until bubbling and heated through.

 

RECIPE BY: Eat with Emma 

Styling & photography: Taryne Jakobi

PIN FOR LATER

Print Friendly, PDF & Email