Menu Planning – The Ingredients

When I put together for the plan for the family, I try to think about the ingredients that I am using and how to use it in another meal if I won’t be using the entire amount of that perishable ingredient. For example yesterday we had Chicken Schnitzel and salad, from which I still half a cucumber, half a stick of celery etc., so I have planned to have a salad again with our meal on Monday night.

When we have these types of meals which come with salad, we do them as a self serve style meal which the children love. They receive a plate with their meat on it and then the salad is individually placed in portions on a platter on the table. The children can choose what else they would like to put on their plate. They know they should select a variety of food from the platters and they all do this pretty successfully, with the exception of Babaganouski who can’t seem to expand past grated carrot and slices of beetroot at the moment.

With all that said, here is our plan for this week:

Monday: Sausage and Salad

Tuesday: Spicy Chutney Chicken with Rice

Wednesday: Fish and Steamed Vegetables
Baking – Chocolate Balls (See recipe below)

Thursday: Mexibake

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Lamb chops with ratatouille (See recipe below)

Sunday: Roast Vegetable Lasagna

Lamb chops with ratatouille and rice (Serves 2 adults and 4 children)
The original recipe for this dish actually puts the cooked chops in with the ratatouille and simmers for a while. However this did not go down well with either the partner or the children, who prefer their chops less “soggy”. So I now serve the ratatouille on the side with rice, so their chops can stay nice and dry.

1 tablespoon olive oil
14 lamb chops
1 large brown onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large zucchini, chopped
1 large capsicum red, chopped
large capsicum green, chopped
1 large capsicum yellow, chopped
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons oregano leaves
1.5 cups rice

(1). Put rice on to cook by your desired method.
(2). Heat oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
(3). Cook onion and garlic for a few minutes until the onion is soft.
(4). Add capsicums to the pan, stirring for minute and then pour in tomatoes.
(5). Cover and simmer gently for about 10 – 15 minutes.
(6). Cook lamb chops by desired method. I tend to do ours outeise on the BBQ as I like the flavour and also find cooking outside with the kids is much more pleasant.
(7). Stir oregano through ratatouille and season with salt and pepper.
(8). Place rice in a circle on plate and spoon ratatouille over rice. Add chops to plate and serve.

Chocolate Balls
This is a very old school favourite in this house. I am sure that there are many variations on this treat, but this a very simply recipe that even the kids can do.

1 packet Marie biscuits1 tin condensed milk
1 – 2 tablespoons cocoaApprox 2 cups of desiccated coconut (never actually measured how much we use, maybe just start with 1, and then pour more as you need it.)

(1). Place Marie biscuits into a plastic bag (out of the packet) and then crush with a rolling pin.(2). Once to a consistent texture pour into a medium size bowl.
(3). Add cocoa and stir.
(4). Pour in condensed milk and combine thoroughly.
(5). Pour coconut into a shallow bowl.
(6). Using a tablespoon of mixture, roll into ball then drop into coconut and cover completely. (7). Place chocolate bowl into a container and continue making balls until you have used all the mixture.
(8). Place in an airtight container in the fridge until set.
(9). They are kept best in the fridge even once set.

I would love to hear of any variations that you might have to the chocolate ball recipe I use.