I recently asked Stonesoup readers what their biggest problem is when it comes to meal planning.
The response was overwhelmingly vocal. As I was reading through the emails, there were some very clear ‘themes’ coming up.
Last minute changes in plans and chaotic schedules were one of the most common problems. Another was that meal plans often ‘fall apart’ because you don’t ‘feel like’ eating what you’d planned to cook that night.
Then there were the people who struggled to come up with new ideas and felt bored with their current meal routine. And running through all this was the costly problem of ingredients and leftovers going bad and having to be thrown out.
Anyway it got me thinking about meal planning and the root cause of most meal planning problems.
What IS the biggest meal planning mistake?
In a nutshell, the biggest mistake is deciding what you’re going to cook in advance and then building your shopping list around that plan.
Having a list of set recipes or dishes is problematic for a number of reasons. First, it takes a lot of time to figure it all out in advance. But the biggest problem is the lack of flexibility to cope with the changes that naturally come up with modern life.
It’s nearly impossible to predict that Wednesday is going to be the coldest February day on record and you’ll be craving a comforting bowl of soup, rather than the cool & light salad you had in the meal plan.
No wonder meal plans tend to get broken.
How do I avoid this mistake?
You just need to learn how to ‘reverse’ the process.
It may sound a little scary, but in practice it’s a really liberating way of approaching meal planning. And it’s actually much quicker and easier than traditional meal planning.
I’m going to be teaching the ‘Stonesoup’ meal planning method as part of the ‘Master Your Meal Plan’ class. And there are 3 main parts to the class…
The three keys to Mastering Your Meal Plan
1. A super simple ‘formula’ to help you figure out how much food you’ll need to buy.
The formula I’ve developed is really quick and easy to work out. It tells you how many types of protein (or main events) and vegetables to buy. This gives you the freedom to shop for what looks best, rather than having a rigid list.
The formula helps get the quantity right so you don’t end up with more than you need.
It’s designed so you control the amount of flexibility you have. If you’d prefer to have a few specific recipes in mind before you shop, the formula will help with that as well.
2. The collection of ‘master plan’ template recipes.
To help you learn to cook based on what you have in the fridge, I’ll be teaching you the blue prints for my favourite go-to recipes.
These ‘master plan’ recipes are the general templates for how to make different classic dishes. For example a great stir fry, a quick soup or a fragrant curry. Each template comes with suggestions for variations so you’ll be able to adapt them to the ingredients on hand. You’ll have plenty of inspiration. No need to suffer from ‘food boredom’ again.
3. Real live examples so you can watch and learn.
I’ll show you EXACTLY how to put the method into practice by letting you ‘watch over my shoulder’ as I plan, shop and cook over 4 different weeks. I’ll guide you through my decision making processes to train you how to implement the system in a way that works for your lifestyle and cooking ability.
I’m super excited to announce that the 2-Minute Meal Plan System is now ready.
To pick up a copy today, go to:
roast chicken soup
I used to freeze leftover chicken bones thinking I’d make stock ‘one day’. Which of course never came. Recently I’ve started collecting the bones and keeping them in the fridge so I remember to use them. Makes all the difference.
This soup is so nurturing and lovely I’ve found myself planning a roast or BBQ chicken just so I could have leftovers for the soup!
bones from 1 roast or BBQ chicken + meat from 1/4 of the chicken
2 carrots, finely diced
2 onions, finely diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1-2 tablespoons thyme leaves, optional
1. Pop the meat from the chicken, carrots, onion, tomato and 4 cups water in a medium saucepan. Place the bones in a small strainer that will fit in your saucepan. Then pop it on top of the soup so the bones are mostly covered with the liquid. You might need to move the veg around a bit to fit it in.
2. Simmer, covered for 45 minutes to an hour or until the soup tastes heavenly and the veg are tender.
3. Remove the bones. Season. Serve with thyme on top.
different veg – play around with the veg you use. Celery is always great. You could also try fresh corn, cauliflower, zucchini, even eggplant.
no fresh tomatoes – pop in a tablespoon or two of tomato paste.
vegetarian / vegan – make a chickpea soup. Replace the chicken and bones with 2 cans of chickpeas + their juices. You’ll only need 3 cups water and simmer uncovered so it reduces down nicely.
different herbs – thyme is one of my all time favourite herbs, but you could serve with fresh parsley or mint for something different.
chicken broth / stock – save the chicken meat for another use. Simmer the bones and veg. Then strain everything and discard the solids.
roast chicken & lemon – skip the tomato and simmer a finely sliced lemon in with the veg for a different freshness.
video version of the recipe