We have had the most delightful disruption to our routine for the last couple of weeks: my son and his partner and child have been visiting from the States. It was their first visit as a family, so naturally we wanted to make it memorable, both for activities and food. But I’m rather out of practice shopping and cooking for a crowd (for more than one special meal like Thanksgiving), not to mention cramming in enough time to prepare everything AND participate in activities!
I started by trying to NOT do a menu for the week, in order to be more flexible. Bad idea. Without a menu in mind, we didn’t buy enough groceries. So after a couple of days, I did a sketch menu, with only one dinner completely fixed, because I had a really nice joint of beef thawing out that we simply had to have. And we did some more shopping, to replace all the fruit and veggies that we had used up. How nice to have a 9-year-old in the house whose snack refrain is “Can I have a banana/plum/apple?”!
So after the roast dinner, and a couple of simpler ones, we had a lot of leftovers, but not enough of any one thing to serve everyone. Time for a batch of Stone Soup! I simmered the beef bones right along with the leftover veg and sauces from the various dinners, a few bits and bobs of ‘new’ things and about a cup of leftover plain noodles. Once it was all put together, there was plenty for everyone, with enough leftover soup to freeze for a couple of really easy meals for my husband and me later.
No we didn’t eat in all the time, but we saved money by packing picnic lunches when we knew they would work (like on a day exploring castle ruins) so we could splash out other times. I enjoyed the break from routine, and now I’m looking forward to getting back to normal (and using the menu ideas we didn’t get around to with visitors). 🙂