Meet the Meal Planner is a new feature on At Home With Mrs M, designed to introduce everyone to the people who get involved with Meal Planning Monday each week. This is each meal planners chance to tell us who they are, why and how they meal plan. I hope you enjoy this new item and feel free to leave a comment for the meal planner below!
Hi there and welcome to Meet the Meal Planner! It’s great to have you here. Lets start by introducing yourself. Please tell us a little more about who you are and all about your blog. (If you have one!)
Hi I am Anne, and I blog at Anne’s Kitchen. I have been blogging for over 7 years, and its mostly recipes I create at home for me and my family. I like nice things but I try to keep things on a budget! There is a few reviews too of restaurants, cookery books and kitchenalia. I accidentally stumbled into becoming a blogger simply trying to find a place to store my recipes!
Lets get down to business. I’d like to know you have been meal planning for and what inspired you to start?
About 5 years I ago I began shift work and meal planning helped to create some normality, so when I was tired I had at least a rough idea what to make. Also it helps to save money! I now finally work back Monday to Friday so its changed again, planning helps me not plan things that will take 3-4 hours to cook like before!
It’s time to start writing your meal plan for the week. What do you do first? Talk us through your planning.
I check my excel spreadsheets (such a geek!) and flick through the fridge to see what needs using up sooner rather than later! Then its checking the diary as to our plans for the week…
Where do you find your meal-planning inspiration? Do you have a list of go-to meals or do you like to get creative and mix it up?
I get asked this a lot but its mostly creative mind wandering! I get inspired by reading other blogs, flicking through food magazines and sometimes its just a case I have picked something up on offer and trying to find a way to use it! Next up its Zaatar…! There isn’t a huge amount of single recipes I repeat as I always vary them but one of my most often made is an Aubergine Jambalaya dish – its makes loads and can be made meaty or veggie.
What cookbooks do you use the most? Is there a website resource you would recommend to other meal-planners?
I have erm over 130 ish books of varying cuisines but I love Nigella’s Kitchen for inspiration for weeknight friendly meals! I do stalk the BBC Good Food website too, have made lots from there and they are all reliable. Its not online but I love the monthly Waitrose magazine, I make lots from it each month!
So you’ve got your meal plan ready…do you ever go off-plan or do you always stick to it rigidly?
Quite often something will come up but I try to just swap days around, I don’t really like change but at the same time I try to go with the flow and try not to get too hung up on if it fails!
What benefits have you seen from meal planning? Do you find it helps you to cut waste? Save money?
Definitely saving money! And endless hours staring into the fridge with anxiety over what to make! Plus also not wasting food is very important to me, not much gets thrown here!
Any top tips for meal planning?
Relax! If you can only plan 3 days ahead then just do the 3 days! A glass of wine and uninterrupted time helps too! I tend to keep one emergency meal in the freezer just incase all else fails and my boyfriend has to cook our dinner!
And finally, purely because I am nosey, what kitchen utensil/gadget could you just not live without?
My knives, they are sharp (as my scarred fingers show!) and it makes prepping food a doddle and saves time too!
Thanks to Anne for sharing her meal planning tips. Why not pop over to Anne’s Kitchen and see what she’s been cooking up recently!
I’ll be back with another Meet the Meal Planner really soon!