Sunday, 20 June 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 26


Things have been so busy lately, I'm glad we're heading into the last few weeks at school. Juliette had her first Covid jab yesterday and is feeling a bit under the weather. Pierre couldn't get his (he's a few weeks under the required age) so we'll have to rebook his next month after his birthday. That means we won't have time to do both jabs and the required 2 week wait then head over to the UK before the end of the holidays - grrrr. Fingers crossed, it'll be for the October half term. We'll all be fully vaccinated by then so, hopefully, nothing can go wrong. (Fingers crossed !) It's weird to be heading into the summer with absolutely nothing planned - oh well, I'm sure we'll come up with a plan. Plus I have loads to sort out around the house to keep me busy ! Right, what's on the menu for next week ?

Monday

lunch- chicken burgers in buns (with tomatoes, gherkins, cheese, mayo, relish, ... whatever anyone wants !) with curly fries

dinner - breaded chicken for the kids, steak for me (and Juliette - she can choose as she likes both) with rice and veg

Tuesday

lunch- The kids can sort themselves out - I'm having lunch with a friend for the first time in 18 months ! We used to have lunch together once a week so it'll be great to finally catch up  :)

dinner- I have an after school meeting (the final one - phew !) so something quick when I finally get home - spaghetti bolognese will do

Wednesday

lunch- fajitas

dinner- twice baked potatoes stuffed with bacon, cheese, onions, mushrooms ... or with tuna mayo maybe? I'll let the kids decide !

Thursday

lunch - BBQ-style spicy pork chops with rice & veg

dinner- chicken with noodles and veg (kinda chow mein style)

Friday

lunch- School is closed getting ready for exams so it's a lazy day - woohoo ! I might offer to grab a takeaway for the kids, either in the kebab/fried chicken shop or in the chip shop. We'll see !

dinner - homemade quiche, boiled potatoes and salad

Saturday

lunch- There may well be leftovers from yesterday's takeaway. If not, pasta carbonara.

dinner- Worst case scenario is pizza, but I'm hoping there will be interesting nibbly bits at the supermarket - they've had lots of Italian, Chinese and Greek starters/dishes to try out lately

Sunday 

lunch- roast chicken, roast potatoes & veg with gravy

dinner- leftovers or toast

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Monday, 14 June 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 25


Planning "hot weather food" worked well and it's stayed really sunny so we'll go for the same again. This week will be extra busy with the in-laws' coming to visit on Wednesday and end-of-term meetings for two classes after school on Thursday. I need simple recipes this week ! At the weekend, we headed out to a pizza restaurant in town - the first time in so long ! We went a bit later (around 1.30pm rather than the usual 12.00 when all French people go to eat) and it was actually really quiet, so I'm guessing everyone headed to the beach. Here's this week's plan.

Monday

lunch- spicy prawns in cream with rice (Pierre can have a beefburger instead of prawns and Sophie's eating with her friends)

dinner - big mixed salad (with bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, cheese, etc)

Tuesday

lunch- I'll be at the canteen so the kids can sort themselves out

dinner- sausage casserole with mash

Wednesday

lunch- lunch with the in laws (I think we'll head to our usual Chinese restaurant as everything's open again)

dinner- spaghetti bolognese, if we're hungry

Thursday

lunch - spicy chicken with rice and salads (I filled up the fridge with salads so we have the choice of beetroot salad, céleri remoulade, coleslaw, couscous, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, ...)

dinner- I'll be late home so the kids can sort something out - we have KFC-style crispy nuggets, probably with the same salads as lunch - there are some spicy curly fries in the freezer, if the kids get their act together though !

Friday

lunch- I'll be at the canteen so the kids can sort themselves out

dinner - chilli con carne and rice

Saturday

lunch- chicken (with hidden veg !) and pasta 

dinner- bacon sandwiches

Sunday 

lunch- marinated pork, rice and veg

dinner- leftovers or toast

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

May 2021 Degustabox review : Outdoor and BBQ


With the weather suddenly getting beautifully hot and summery a few weeks ago, it was the perfect time for this month's Outdoor and BBQ-themed Degustabox to arrive. So what would be hiding away inside this month's selection ?!


It took a while to set up this photo of the contents because the kids kept going oooh and trying to grab things ! I have to admit, it does look like a really great box this month with loads of new products and flavours to try out from brands that we already know and love.


The first product that I grabbed from the box was Echo Falls Rosé Seltzer (RRP £1.80), which looks like a great product to drink, fresh from the fridge, as the sun goes down. I got Strawberry with a Touch of Pink Pepper, other Degustaboxers got Blueberry and Hibiscus and there is also a Raspberry, Lychee and Rose flavour. They all sound a little bit different and a little bit girlie, not to mention very tasty. The can that I had went down very well. The sweet, fruity taste of strawberry fills your mouth then the hint of pepper comes through, providing a refreshing, surprising flavour. Each can contains 69 calories, is 4.5% ABV and is available at Asda and independent stores.

Another product that screams out "summer is here !" is Hellmann's Fat Free Original Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (RRP £1.65). Its classic recipe combines herbs, garlic and red pepper that add some zing to your summer salads, whether just a few leaves of lettuce on the side of the plate or a full mixed salad as a main meal. One tablespoon of vinaigrette contains just 7 calories, which is great if you're watching your waistline. It is made with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and is suitable for vegans. It's perfect for the summer.

Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil Spray (RRP £3) is another product that can be sprayed on your salad to give it some extra flavour, but that's not all. It can also be used in marinades or on pasta ... whatever you fancy ! For a light summery lunch, just spray some over sliced tomatoes on a slice of toast. Its fruity aroma adds a touch of decadence that really brings out the flavour. Made using only 100% extra virgin olive oil and no additives, the spray is propellant free, using only pure air to dispense evenly the right amount of oil needed. 


Graze Smoky Barbecue Crunch (RRP £1 for a 31g punnet or £2.99 for a 104g sharing bag) is a delicious snack, combining BBQ flavoured peas, crunchy corn chips and chilli corn. As well as tasting great and being packed with veg, it is high in fibre and suitable for vegans. Each punnet provides 139 calories. It's totally moreish and you won't stop until you've eaten the whole pack !


Another option from the same brand is Graze Cocoa Vanilla Protein Oat Bites (RRP £1 for a single 30g bite or £2.49 for a multipack of 4 x 30g). These bars contain 45% less sugar than the average cereal bar but they still taste great. They are made from whole rolled oats, are high in fibre and are a source of protein, as well as being suitable for vegans. I wasn't expecting to like these but they're actually not bad at all.


Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme (RRP 89p) is bound to be a huge hit with anybody looking for a taste of the States (which includes all three of my kids !). The bar combines the classic flavours of a smooth white creme infused with crunchy cookie pieces. It's not bad and the kids were big fans but I have to admit, I prefer the creaminess of British chocolate !


Hippeas Chickpea Tortilla Snacks (RRP £1) is a new product from the brand, available in three flavours : Chilli Kicks (which was the one we got), Rockin' Ranch & Cheesy Nacho Vibes. They are vegan, gluten free and contain 7g of protein and 2g of fibre per single serve bag (40g). They taste great and are perfect for scooping up guacamole. I'll definitely give the other flavours a try as they sound really nice too.
 
 

Pip Organic Sparkling Lemon (RRP £1.50) is another soft drink option for the summer. It is a blend of organic not-from-concentrate juice and sparkling water with no added sugars or sweeteners. It comes in at under 75 calories and is lovely and refreshing. It even counts as one of your 5-a-day. Can't say fairer than that ! It's available from Abel & Cole, Amazon or Ocado.

Knorr Rosemary & Onion Seasoning (RRP £1.80) (other Degustaboxers got Tomato & Oregano) is a lovely herb mix for sprinkling over your food. Knorr say that it's ideal for a sweet potato, salad, roasted vegetables, vegetable stew, delicious sauce, tasty soup or any other exciting dish you want to try. As it's part of the Knorr Veggie Cook's Essentials range, the focus is on meat-free dishes, but it's also great sprinkled over roast chicken and roast potatoes, added to casseroles or flung over the meat on the barbecue. 

Nairn's Cheese & Smoky Chipotle Spicy Oatcakes (RRP £1.50) are a new addition to the range and they're a great way of adding some zingy flavour to your snacks. They're lovely topped with cheese, cheese spread, smoked ham or (our favourite snack for the summer) guacamole. Cheese & Chipotle is an exciting new flavour, but they still have all of the benefits that you expect from Nairn's Oatcakes. Packed with fibre to keep your gut healthy, full of vitamins and minerals and a great source of slow releasing energy - plus 125 years of Nairn's expertise! 

 

Brioche Pasquier Brioche Rolls (RRP £1.50) are great as part of a decadent continental breakfast, alongside croissants and pain au chocolat, but they are much more versatile than that. While they are lovely topped with sweet things like jam or Nutella, they can also be filled with savoury options such as ham and cheese. Kids love their slightly sweet flavour and the soft fluffiness of the brioche. They are baked using quality ingredients, including their original levain, with no added preservatives.

Rowntree's Dessert Pastilles (RRP £1.29) are a fabulous new twist on the classic Fruit Pastilles that we all love. Inspired by delicious fruity desserts, they come in four fantastic flavours: Cherry Bakewell, Blueberry Pie, Apple Crumble and Mango Sorbet. Just like regular pastilles, they are irresistibly chewy and packed with tasty flavours. They are also vegan friendly for even more people to enjoy!


Not Too Naughty Caramelised Mini Cookies (RRP 50p per single, £10 for 25) are the perfect product for anyone who wants to enjoy a sweet treat without a guilty conscience ! They contain 30% less sugar and come in at 88 calories per pack, as well as being high in fibre. They also have no artificial colours, sweeteners or preservatives in them. They're lovely as something to munch on in front of the telly !

Another snack option from the same company Nibnibs is Telstar Heavenly Cookies (RRP 50p per single, £10 for 25). Just like the Not Too Naughty mini cookies, they have reduced sugar content, are high in fibre and, as the tagline says, offer "all the taste, less of the naughty". In the same blue-coloured packaging as the previous product are the Caramelised Cookies.


But they also have a brown pack of Chocolate Mini Cookie Stars, which are just as tasty.


The final product in this month's box was Whitworth's Protein By Nature Mexican Spicy Grains (RRP £2). This range of beans, pulses and grains is a great alternative when you're fed up of the usual rice, pasta and potatoes. It's vegan-friendly, contains 20g of protein and is ready after being heated in the microwave for 2 minutes. This can be eaten as a side dish or there is a recipe suggesting using it in fajitas - that sounds good to me ! I love the sound of the other dishes in the range too - Indian Lentil Dhal, Brazilian Smoky Beans and Moroccan Grains. I'll definitely keep an eye out for them. They're available in Tesco, Morrisons and Ocado.

This was a fantastic box for us and I love the fact that it's given me some new product ranges to try out when we next go shopping. We're winding down at school now and this has really made me start looking forward to a lazy summer holiday !

 A subscription to Degustabox costs £12.99 per month including delivery, with each box having a value of much more than that, but the great news is, I have a discount coupon code for you which means you'll get the first box for just £9.99 - enter code PKUFE at the checkout. 

for more information :

Also now on Instagram @DegustaboxUK

Disclosure : We received the box in order to write an honest review. As a Degustabox blogger, I receive all of the products that go into the monthly boxes, but subscribers may not get exactly the same selection.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 23


The weather has been really hot lately, so I'm thinking of planning some more summery food. I bet as soon as I do, it will start raining and get cold again. Oh well, we'll give it a go ! Juliette is now on holiday, Sophie will be as soon as her last assignment is sent in tomorrow and Pierre only has a couple of weeks to go. I'll still be there until the end of the first week of July - I wonder if I can convince the kids to start cooking instead of me ?!

Monday

lunch- chicken goujons in breadcrumbs with rice and veg

dinner - spaghetti bolognese (a quick option as I'll be home late from a meeting ... unless the kids have something up their sleeves !)

Tuesday

lunch- I'll be at the school canteen so the kids can fend for themselves

dinner- grilled ham with homemade coleslaw & baked potatoes

Wednesday

lunch- tuna & cherry tomato potato salad (or beefburger & boiled potatoes, for those who don't like tuna)

dinner- oven-baked BBQ chicken with rice & coleslaw

Thursday

lunch - chicken or pork in a creamy mushroom sauce with pasta

dinner- big mixed salad (with plenty of topping options : boiled eggs, cheese, bacon, goat's cheese, mushrooms, ...)

Friday

lunch- I'll be at the canteen so the kids can sort themselves out

dinner - chicken & Boursin in puff pastry with rice & salad

Saturday

lunch- maybe a takeaway (or maybe there will be leftovers to use up)

dinner- cheese on toast/sandwiches/guacamole/tortilla chips/nibbly things in front of the telly

Sunday 

lunch- sausage & leek mash pie (without the kale - nobody likes it, even me !)

dinner- leftovers (or spaghetti carbonara if everyone's hungry)

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Sunday, 30 May 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 22


School is reopening full time for all classes as from this week, so we'll see how it goes. Hopefully the number of cases won't rise dramatically. If they do, there is still the rule that a class will be closed for ten days if a positive case is declared, so I can see this getting complicated ! Ah well, only just over a month to go and it's the summer holidays. Phew ! Here's this week's menu plan.

Monday

lunch- veggie burgers and leftover pasta (only me and Sophie at home for lunch)

dinner - chilli con carne with rice

Tuesday

lunch- leftover chilli for Sophie and Pierre - I'll be at the canteen

dinner- sausages, mash and veg

Wednesday

lunch- pork chops with ebly and veg

dinner- chicken in a spicy tomato, onion & olive sauce with pasta

Thursday

lunch - I'm thinking there will be lots of leftovers to use up

dinner-  grilled ham with rice and veg

Friday

lunch- I'll be at the canteen - Pierre and Sophie can go freezer diving or use up leftovers

dinner - Chinese chicken & veg with noodles

Saturday

lunch- chicken burgers with chips & coleslaw

dinner- spaghetti with a bacon and tomato sauce

Sunday 

lunch- chicken fillets in breadcrumbs with roast potatoes and veg (and some gravy for those who want it)

dinner- leftovers or toast

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Monday, 24 May 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 21


Last week was a blur ! I had two afternoons off (Wednesday and Thursday) and ended up sleeping through both of them - I was absolutely exhausted. It turns out that this is a side effect of the COVID vaccine from Monday though and I'm back to normal now. The weekend was busy - we got some new chairs that needed putting together and a new bed for Juliette (the kids helped me put it together - Juliette is great at DIY apparently !), plus I did this year's tax returns. I'm pleased that today is a bank holiday so I can chill out for a bit before going back to work tomorrow ! Here's this week's plan.

Monday

lunch- Time to clear out the fridge ! I'm thinking leftover chicken, red peppers, onions and rice

dinner -sausages and leftover roast potatoes

Tuesday

lunch- I'll be at the school canteen - the kids can have the rest of the sausages with mash (or sausage sandwiches)

dinner- spaghetti bolognese (or pasta with sausages if they didn't get eaten at lunchtime)

Wednesday

lunch- fajitas

dinner- lemon & thyme turkey with couscous & veg

Thursday

lunch - sandwiches

dinner- fish & potato wedges (or leftovers for Sophie, as she doesn't like fish)

Friday

lunch- I'll be at the canteen, the kids can go fridge diving !

dinner -  paprika turkey, rice & veg

Saturday

lunch- it's possible that the in laws may be up, in which case they want us to find a restaurant - I have no idea what is open and what has outdoor seating, so this could be fun ! :-/

dinner- baked ham, rice and veg (or just a sandwich or toast if we pigged out at lunchtime !)

Sunday 

lunch- roast dinner

dinner- leftovers, cheese on toast or fridge grazing

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Sunday, 16 May 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 20


Back to a full week this week, after our mega four-day bank holiday weekend ! Not sure how we'll be feeling as Sophie had her first Covid vaccine today and I've got mine tomorrow after work. Fingers crossed we avoid the side effects. Apparently everyone gets the Pfizer one at the big vaccine centre we're using and I haven't seen anyone complaining about feeling rough after that one. I have to go shopping when I get home so I hope my arm's not too sore ! Right, here's what's on the menu plan for this week.

Monday

lunch- I need a quick lunch so that I can dash off to the Covid centre so I'm thinking beefburgers, rice & veg

dinner - cottage pie (or possibly a takeaway if I'm not feeling great)

Tuesday

lunch- I'll be at the school canteen and Juliette's at school this week so Pierre and Sophie can go fridge/freezer diving 

dinner- spaghetti bolognese

Wednesday

lunch- fish and chips (Sophie can have a fried egg instead of the fish, or whatever else is in the fridge)

dinner- this sounds very similar to my bog standard beef stew but let's give it a go : Scouse (with carrots, onions, potatoes)

Thursday

lunch - spaghetti carbonara

dinner- Honey garlic chicken stir fry with noodles or maybe rice

Friday

lunch- leftovers for Sophie & Pierre - canteen for me and Juliette

dinner - slow cooker chicken chasseur with mash

Saturday

lunch- raclette (boiled potatoes and ham/salami, etc covered in melted cheese - on the side, cherry tomatoes, salad, gherkins) 

dinner- baked potatoes with tuna/mayo or raclette cheese

Sunday 

lunch- there should still be plenty of leftovers to use up

dinner- leftovers, cheese on toast or fridge grazing

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Sunday, 9 May 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 19


Last week was pretty manic - I haven't been getting up at 6.15am for over a month while we've been on holiday and in lockdown so getting to the bus stop at 7am was a bit tricky some mornings, but hopefully we've got used to the early starts again now ! This week should be easier anyway as we only have school on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, then Thursday and Friday are bank holidays so we got a four day weekend - yay ! Juliette's on school at home this week so only me and Pierre have to go to school. Here's the plan for this week.

Monday

lunch- I think there will be leftovers to use up

dinner - chicken fajitas (with rice, guacamole, tomatoes, cheese, salsa)

Tuesday

lunch- I'll be at the school canteen so the kids can fend for themselves - there's some gyros chicken for the girls and Pierre can cook himself a beefburger, with rice or pasta

dinner- I have a pack of 6 chipolatas so the kids can have those, I'll have some salmon, with couscous & veggies

Wednesday

lunch- grilled ham, pasta & veg

dinner- chilli con carne & rice

Thursday

lunch - leftover chilli with rice (or baked potatoes if there's not much left)

dinner- steak (grabbed out of the meat section just as he was reducing the prices!), duchess potatoes and grilled tomatoes 

Friday

lunch- chicken burgers with ebly & ratatouille

dinner - spaghetti carbonara

Saturday

lunch- corned beef hash with mash & veg

dinner- pizza

Sunday 

lunch- roast dinner

dinner- leftovers, cheese on toast or fridge grazing

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Sunday, 2 May 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 18


Back to school for me and Pierre, plus Juliette is on a week-on, so things may be a bit hectic getting back into the swing of things. An easy week of meals will be needed to help us get back up to speed, I think !

Monday

lunch- leftover pasta carbonara

dinner - BBQ beef with baked potatoes & coleslaw

Tuesday

lunch- leftover BBQ beef with rice

dinner- pork chops with mash & veg

Wednesday

lunch- meatballs and spaghetti with tomato sauce

dinner- battered fish, rice and veggies

Thursday

lunch - leftovers or baked tomatoes stuffed with sausagemeat & rice

dinner- cottage pie

Friday

lunch- the kids can eat leftovers or there are beefburgers in the freezer

dinner - leftover cottage pie

Saturday

lunch- spaghetti bolognese

dinner-mini empanadas/pasties/quiches in a nibbly tea (with crisps, carrots, tomatoes, olives, etc)

Sunday 

lunch- roast dinner

dinner- leftovers, cheese on toast or fridge grazing

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

Sunday, 25 April 2021

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 17


Last week's meal plan included lots of new recipes from a Jamie Oliver series I was watching and they were all much enjoyed. The meatloaf, the chicken kievs, the sausage pasta and the Chinese cashew chicken have all been re-requested. Even better, the kids got involved with helping me out in the kitchen. Unfortunately, that will come to an end now as we're back to school next week, although we have one more week at home doing online learning before heading back to school. OK, so what's on the menu this week? I've gone looking through old recipes on my blog for this week's inspiration.

Monday

lunch- Lemon pepper chicken with rice and veg

dinner - Garlic bread topped sloppy Joes

Tuesday

lunch- Flamiche aux poireaux (Leek tart) with cherry tomatoes & salad (and leftover rice for those who want it) (there should be leftovers if Pierre turns his nose up at leeks !)

dinner- pork chops with mash & veg

Wednesday


dinner- Baked cheese empanadas with rice and cherry tomatoes

Thursday

lunch - Savoyard pork burgers with pasta & creamed spinach

dinner- Slow cooker BBQ beef with rice & veg

Friday


dinner - BBQ beef pies with leftovers from yesterday, boiled potatoes & veg

Saturday

lunch- spaghetti bolognese

dinner- hmmm maybe time for a Saturday night takeaway ? kebabs or fried chicken (from the same shop so they can choose !)

Sunday 

lunch- roast dinner

dinner- leftover takeaway or fridge grazing

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Katykicker

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