Menu Plan Monday and $21 Challenge Update

Salt and pepper baby calamari

Every Monday I link up with Menu Plan Monday at The Organising Junkie. Because I don’t actively menu plan, I found that posting the plan retrospectively works for me. So my menu plans involve what I ate over the last week.

This week the $21 Challenge really kicked into gear, and I used up some foods that have been taking up valuable freezer space. There were some successes and some things that I won’t be making again, but at least I know that now and they’re not cluttering up my freezer!

In terms of fresh fruit and veggies, I am down to one pumpkin, half a sweet potato, two red onions and some garlic. I also have a lot of sauerkraut and tomato salsa, and plenty of lemons and limes. I’m hoping to tackle a lot of the frozen veg this week, and maybe supplement with some dried mushrooms. 

Total spending: $7.29 on a dozen eggs, 1kg carrots and 2 bananas.

Monday – Salt and pepper baby squid with stir-fried szichuan red onion and green capsicum (pepper – above). This was surprisingly good. I’ve made salt and pepper calamari with pineapple-cut squid before, and it was okay, but the baby squid were tender and delicious.

Sardines and scrambled eggs

Tuesday – Sardines and a scrambled egg with sweet potato fries, tomato relish, sauerkraut and lacto-fermented garlic. This was a simple weeknight meal that tasted good. I don’t think leftovers would hold up too well in my lunchbox, but luckily I had other leftovers to eat.

Pulled pork nachos

Wednesday – Nachos made with leftover Mexican pulled pork topped with cheese, tomato salsa, and pineapple salsa (which I added avocado to). Nachos are delicious by definition, so this was a good meal 🙂

Grilled chicken hearts

Thursday – Grilled chicken hearts with sauerkraut and kelp knot salad. This was the most, um, interesting meal of the week. The chicken hearts were good, but I wasn’t such a fan of the kelp knot salad, and it wasn’t very pleasant in my lunch the next day. I still have half a pack in the freezer, so I’ll have to find another recipe.

Breakfast for dinner

Friday – Breakfast for dinner: bacon, fried egg, potato, kale and red onion.

Saturday – Very tasty Indian food out with a friend.

Slow cooker lamb, potato and spinach curry

Sunday – Slow cooker lamb, potato and spinach curry (based on this recipe) with coconut rice, lemon pickle and one lonely papadum. This was very good. The package of lamb offcuts that I had in the freezer yielded a surprisingly large amount of meat, probably 5-6 servings for $4.50, so I’ll be buying them again. The slow cooker made the meat extra tender, and I have bones leftover to make bone broth.

What was on your menu last week? And what do you do do with kelp knots?

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  1. My menu plan last week was pretty typical for us; lots of beans, rice and veggies! We are eating down the cupboards and freezer too this month, so our meals are feeling a little more … random!
    Kelp knots … hhm! Maybe cooked in a miso soup with lots of veggies? Was it too chewy?

  2. This all looks so delicious!

  3. I keep forgetting that you’re “down under”. When you said you had a whole pumpkin left, I was thinking, “wow, that is one long-lasting variety of pumpkin!”.

    We’ll be having several chicken dishes this week, as I roasted a whole chicken yesterday afternoon in preparation for the week ahead.

    • Your comment about the pumpkin made me chuckle because I still have about a dozen pumpkins and squash in the basement from last fall. They keep remarkably well!

    • Yum, roast chicken sounds delicious 🙂 I’m really missing chicken (and have none in the freezer), so thinking I might buy a whole one to roast when this challenge is over.

      The pumpkin is in the fridge – and has been in there for a couple of months. I think it will be used in quite a few meals next week, when fresh food is in short supply.

  4. First of all, one of my cats has crowded in on my lap between me and the laptop making writing kind of hard.
    I don’t know what I’d do with kelp knot because I don’t know what it is. Also, your willingness to eat a wide variety of food helps to keep your food bill down. I have eaten some of the things you have eaten once, but am not willing to try them again such as chicken hearts and squid.

    • A kelp knot is just knotted seaweed. I’d never had them before either, and they were kind of slimy, although they could be used as pasta substitute I guess.

      I’m a big fan of buying weird foods, but somehow usually forget to actually eat them. This challenge is helping with that, which is great 🙂

  5. Ha! Sounds like we both had the same reaction to the kelp salad! I’ve still got a bunch of it to use up… I may try mixing it into a heavily seasoned stir fry or something to mask the fishy taste.

    I’ve spent about $13 so far, and for that I’ve gotten 3 dozen eggs, 6 large cucumbers, 8 oranges, 3 avocados, 4 onions and a 12.5 pound watermelon – which seems rather incredible even to me when I spell it out like that!

  6. Just the other day my daughter asked “Can I see the picture of the kangaroo chili again?” It was a good lesson in why cattle are not the most efficient way to feed people protein.

    I served eggs for dinner last week and you were in my thoughts because I had sweet potato slices on the side! They were gone in a flash.

  7. I’d love to try the kelp salad, I generally like sea weed and salty stuff. And I’d be up for some squid any day! Nice work!

  8. You’re doing great with your challenge! I think your eggs cost about the same as ours & take up lots of your remaining budget!

    • I used a lot of eggs last week because I did a bit of baking, I’m trying to get through this week without buying any more, but I may have to (luckily my local supermarket has them for a similar price to the large supermarkets).

I love hearing your comments, please leave one below :)