Meal plans seem to be all the rage amongst special dieters. I have to confess I am not tempted to buy into a meal planning programme as very often the foods they suggest are just not the ones we eat, let alone the fact it seems so much cheaper to do it oneself! I much prefer to make my own, albeit a little more time-consuming. I am not somebody who can stick with a meal plan for long either... I soon get bored with it and want to search out new recipes. What I do for myself though, is to write a crib sheet of ideas for each type of meat so that when I am planning a week's menu I can look at the crib sheet and be inspired to serve the meat in a different way, as it's all too easy to just do things the same way each week and forget the different ways meals could be served.
So I have produced for myself a sheet to remind me of the varying ways there are in serving minced meat, be it beef, lamb, pork or turkey. I can keep it in the kitchen, so that when I plan the next week's meals I can refer to it. A different way of serving the same sort of meat can make it seem like a completely different meal. Actually, I have to confess that even planning my meals a week ahead is too rigid for me. I tend to state the meat we are having and leave it to last minute impulse as to how I cook it, which vegetables we have with it etc.. So I can pull out my sheet and see how the fancy takes me! If I'm short of time, then the 'Sausage meat' option is a good one - just mix it all together and press it into the bottom of a baking dish and stick it in the oven for half an hour Gas 5, 190C/170C fan. The Family like this with cheese melted on the top, though Husband is trying without cheese at the moment, so I won't mention it as it'll make him long for it! Or the Meals in a skillet is another quick one, with just one pan to wash. If I have more time, and feel like being a bit more adventurous, then a casserole or stew is good, or even shaping the meat into beef burgers or proper sausage shapes.
I deliberately haven't been too precise with cooking times as most can be done at any temperature (except for very high which will make the meat too dry). Mainly, mince takes half an hour at 190C./170c. fan, Gas 5. So if you don't mind it cooking longer, turn the oven down. Do make sure the meat is fully coked before consuming it. If I am using the oven, I will often pack it with vegetables too to make more economical use of power.
As to vegetables, we vary how they are served. We like roasted veg, mainly carrots and squash, but sometimes we have roasted broccoli/cauliflower. We also like to to have a mash potato alternative, so one day we'll mash the carrots with butter, another day the cauliflower. When I have the time I'll make the topping from the 'Pork Pie, and serve it as a side from the meat. It goes well with chicken stew/casserole as well. When I'm in a hurry, it's just boiled with plenty of butter, and if I remember, steamed (but it means another pan to wash!)
So click below for your copy of the crib sheet if you think it would be helpful!