Welcome to How I Eat: Meal Planning for Normal People. (If you missed it, click over to read more about this series on The Pajama Chef.) This series is meant to inspire readers (and myself!) with tips and tricks for meal planning and getting dinner on the table. Whether you’re cooking for one or a crowd, I firmly believe that good food shouldn’t be sacrificed just because life is busy.
Today’s feature on How I Eat is my friend Leslie’s husband, Simon. Simon is from Scotland and while I’ve only known him for a few years, I’ve known Leslie since we were in third grade… 25 years ago. Gah. I feel old. Simon has quite a bit of culinary experience, as you’ll soon learn, so I hope you enjoy this post!
Tell us about yourself. Who are you cooking for? What else influences how you get meals on the table?
I (Simon) am a 30 year veteran Master Chef of Great Britain. I am currently setting up a patisserie business with my wife called Gosling’s. Dinners depending on my daily routine usually take 30 minutes from scratch though I do plan in advance our meals. We use cheaper cuts of meat which saves us alot of money, something I can take advantage of by shopping on a Sunday when supermarkets have the best deals. Because I have extensive knowledge, I am able to plan my menus as I shop.
What meals do you plan?
In a typical week, approximately how many meals per week do you plan to eat at home or prepare to take with you (e.g., to work or school)? No shame… curious minds want to know! For this, I would include any food purchased at the grocery store (e.g., rotisserie chicken, bagged salad mix, etc.) but not takeout.
- 7 or less: I aim to make a meal at home once a day.
What is your basic meal planning method?
Buy your food first than plan the menu.
What are your favorite weeknight meals?
We love slow cooker items, maybe some ribs, jambalaya, chili con carne. I make fresh tortillas, salsas, Indian food, Thai fishcakes, sometimes meatballs… it really depends.
What are your “no-brainer” meals? Or what meals do you make when there’s “nothing” to eat?
Pancakes–whether savoury or sweet, or sometimes French toast. Pita filled with falafel.
What is your best advice for someone who is just starting to meal plan?
Always shop first. Buy one protein per day and work your menu around that protein, i.e. chicken wings (Monday), short ribs (Tuesday), etc. You’ll find yourself better prepared and more money in your bank.
Thank you, Simon, for sharing your culinary expertise with us! Great advice to work your menu around a protein. It’s also interesting to hear that “no-brainer” dinners cross cultures as well… breakfast for dinner is a hit for many Americans as well! Also… when can we come over for Thai fishcakes?!? 🙂