Salmon

As a mum, the need to provide food for your family feels never-ending. The continual roundabout of shopping, cooking, serving, and cleaning up feels monotonous at the best of times, and often it’s a point of despair. Before I was a mum, I loved nothing better than to spend entire Saturdays menu-planning for dinner parties with friends. I would browse recipe books the night before, and head out early to buy ingredients. I have shelled walnuts for soup, shucked fresh oysters, lovingly created foaming hollandaises, and whipped up meringues to rival Mary Berry’s. But with children, my love of food diminished, and my imagination for the week’s meals has dwindled.

Often I resort to other bloggers’ meal plans for my own food inspiration, as each Monday morning rolls round and I haven’t the energy to think beyond sausages and pizzas. And they usually come up trumps, even if it’s a different kind of risotto, or the addition of peppers to a chicken casserole. All I need is a bit of variety, and my menu planning is reinvigorated for the week.

Failing that, my next port of call are the random scraps of paper that I’ve torn out of magazines and stashed with my shopping list. Usually these are for salted caramel dessert confections far to too ambitious for an average Tuesday, but sometimes I’ll find something sensible I’ve taken a fancy to, and an alternative meatball pasta dish jumps out at me for dinner.

Then there’s the fridge google. Search engines are fabulous these days for suggesting gorgeous-sounding dishes based on the courgette and leftover parsley that you’ve got hanging around in the bottom of the fridge. I’ve even surprised myself by discovering the odd recipe that becomes a firm favourite of the kids. Then I get distracted by instructions for Paul Hollywood’s walnut soup, and before you know it I’ve invited eight for dinner on the weekend!

What are your tried and tested tips for getting yourself out of meal-planning lethargy?

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