Hi, This week I’m starting a series on how I manage the cooking (in my romantic life). Sam doesn’t cook - other than toast in the morning which I don't think actually counts. But we moved in together in our 50’s which means we’re both pretty set in our ways, so I choose to make that work for us. I enjoy cooking ( and eating what I cook) so it’s my department.
Dinner time with Sam is when we catch up on our day and focus on each other. I want us to enjoy the experience. I believe that serving up delicious meals, we both like, supports our happy relationship. Shopping for ingredients can be overwhelming but over the years I’ve developed a routine that works for me.
I am a great advocate for online shopping and creating a list that you can auto load each week. But I need the exercise, so I usually shop at the local Woolworth's supermarket. Take a walk with me as I shop and you’ll see how I stay out of the lolly and chip isle and keep focused.
Shopping each week for a set number of staples takes the stress out of visiting the supermarket. My regular staples form the basis of a week's worth of breakfasts lunches and dinners. Because I’ve been using this method for years, I can forget the shopping list as long as my arm. My list contains only the pantry cupboard ingredients that I occasionally run out of.
Closest to where we pick up the trolley is the fruit and vegetables, first on my mental list. We choose to have fruit with for our desert, our favorites include mango, strawberries, cantaloupe, pears and kiwi fruit. This week I’ve got a half a cantaloupe and a punnet of strawberries.
We eat a lot of vegetables so they’re next in my trolley.
We need to pick up, 2 avocados, a lettuce, 3 tomatoes, a green capsicum, 2 zucchinis, a punnet of sliced mushrooms, a kilo of carrots, 1/8th of Queensland blue pumpkin, a head of broccoli, 2 red onions, I fairly large sweet potato, and 2kg medium size white potatoes. Okay, done. Now we are near the back of the store where the meat is kept.
A slight detour to the frozen fish bin. Here we pick up a 1 kilo bag of whiting fillets. One kilo does us for two weeks. (2 fish meal per week). So this is an every other week purchase.
Next is the meat that jumpstarts my meal planning. First in the trolley goes 500 grams of 90% fat free mince (2 meals), followed by 500gms of chicken thigh fillets (2 meals). I used to buy sausages but we’re watching cholesterol so they’re off the every week list. Last stop in the meat department is for a roast of some kind (2 meals). We want one of the following: a whole chicken; leg of lamb; cut of beef or pork. Usually the cheapest roast per kilo makes the decision easy. But I try not to have the same roast two weeks in a row.
After the meat cases is the general fridge section. Here I choose 250 grams of tasty cheese, 200 grams of Swiss cheese. I pack of Parmesan. 250gms of ham or turkey lunch meat, a dozen eggs (every other week), a tub of dip and 500ml tub of plain Greek Yogurt.
Tea and coffee is next and we have to do a u turn to get back to that isle. Beside tea and coffee we also pick up 2 packets of Gluten Free (GF) nut,bars, 3 litres of long-life, low-fat, lactose free milk.
Turning into the next isle we’ll grab 2 x 1 litre boxes of pine coconut drink then on to the health food section. I’ll grab a 500gm packet of GF pasta, a box of GF cake mix, a loaf of GF bread and a loaf of regular loaf of wholemeal for Sam.
In the canned fish isle I put in a tin of salmon or tuna and 4 tins of sardines in tomato sauce. Store cupboard items, sauces, flour, sugar, herbs and spices are next, I have a short list with what I need in the store cupboard if necessary.
In the pasta isle we stop for a bottle of tomato pasta sauce. If necessary a small bottle of olive oil or spray oil. I also buy a cup of GF instant noodles, occasionally, a bag of Doongara rice.
The next isles are for bathroom and cleaning supplies if needed. I buy the same earth friendly brands so it’s easy to keep focused and not get distracted the vast array on offer.
The last isles at my supermarket contain the frozen food. I’ll get 500 grams each of peas and beans and a kilo bag of GF oven fry chips.
This provides us with enough food for two adults for a week, a dinner for seven on Sunday night plus a couple of small meals for my Dad to take home with him.
Some of the meals I make from the above basics include:
There are many more and variations on the above recipes. Next week I’ll share my meal planning process and pantry cupboard supplies list, the ones I buy occasionally to give the basics a twist of flavor. I’ll also post my recipes for Bolognaise sauce and chicken casserole.
Romance author and lifestyle blogger
My whole life is inspired by romance. I write romance novels of course but also love creating DIY's and decorating in a romantic style. I'm rejuvenating an old garden, recusing roses and planting new ones.