The meal plan week 25 is the start of cooler weather for us and as such soups are starting to make their way into our meal plans again. We eat a lot of soups in colder weather for a couple of reasons. They are a fabulous way to use up leftovers and extra veggies. We make our own stock to save a bit of coin. The soups are extraordinarily easy to freeze which means we can pull one out of the freezer the night before, pop in the fridge to thaw and heat up for a lickity split quick dinner. Lastly, if we are making them from scratch, soups are perfect for meal prepping.
Meal prepping is where the work for the meal is done earlier in the week and then the making is much quicker. It is an awesome time saver we use. We chop all our veggies on the weekend or the day we do our shopping and portion into containers in the fridge or freezer, if prepping more than two to three days in advance. For the tacos for example we will chop up all the veggies and keep them fresh in the fridge. Extra will be cut and used in the spaghetti sauce the next night. This is a huge work and time saver for us.
We often do the same with the meat. We buy them in large bulk packages and from farmers so we cut, trim and prep the meat, marinade the meat in the fridge for the next day and freeze anything for later in the week. Just don’t forget to thaw the meat before the meal.
You also may notice we use our kids' thermoses a LOT for lunches. They love their sandwiches but if we have leftovers an easy way for me to make lunch and use up leftovers that are not being used up in the meal plan is to send them for lunch in a thermos. We love being able to send hot lunches when the kids don't have access to microwaves at school.
Meal Plan Week 25
Meal Plan Week 25 In-Depth and Top Tips
Ground Beef Tacos
We love tacos and have them a lot.
We do both hard corn shells that are purchased already made. Most are naturally wheat free but check with the manufacturer to see if there is cross contact in the factory. We also use soft shells. The store brand in our area Western Family from Save-on is our fave but Siete makes popular shells. We haven’t had much luck with the Siete shells staying whole. Promise is another brand that is new to us as they are just starting to be carried in our stores and we are hearing amazing things about them. The Promise soft tortillas do carry a mustard warning.
Fry up the ground meat with a bit of spice from the Spend With Pennies taco spice recipe. We make a huge jar of this and keep it on hand in our spice cabinet. I prefer ground beef but you can use pork or chicken, depending on your allergies.
The veggies we enjoy are diced tomatoes, onions, sweet bell peppers, sliced olives, avocados, jalapenos, canned black beans, canned corn, chopped lettuce and dairy free cheese. We use jarred salsa and homemade guacamole as sauces. We don’t do all the toppings all the time, we use what is affordable the week we are making the tacos. Avocados for example are extremely expensive right now and won’t be on offer.
When chopping veggies, do extra and put it in the fridge for the next night’s sauce. The meat can also be fried up as well. Separate it from the taco meat before the spices are added right after it is cooked through. This will save time the next night as you are already doing the work tonight.
Tip 2- send warmed up left over meat in a thermos and the toppings in a container with a tortilla in a separate container for school lunch as a DIY lunch taco.
Spaghetti With Meat Sauce
We will be using a pre-made spaghetti sauce that is safe for us. Watch for soybean oil and cheeses as well as other top allergens if using a branded sauce. We usually add ½ a jar of water to the sauce. You can also use canned pure tomato sauces with 1 tablespoon each of tomato paste and sugar added per can. We add oregano, thyme, salt and pepper to our sauce. Saute up sweet bell peppers or green peppers, onions, garlic, and mushrooms and add them into our sauce. Add the cooked ground meat and let it simmer for 20 mins or until reduced and thick.
To add extra protein in the kids’ diets we use lentil based noodles. They are not safe for anyone with a pea protein allergy or lentil allergy. The brand we get is Pedon more than noodles but there are many different brands, always check with the manufacturer that they are safe for you. Rice or corn based noodles can be used as well or a mix of grains in wheat free pasta. Always check gluten free marked products as they can in rare occasions contain de-glutened wheat which is not safe for a wheat allergy.
Tip 2- In a thermos that has been warmed by letting hot water sit in it for a few minutes put warmed up spags in the drained thermos for a quick school lunch idea.
Pumpkin Soup with a Kale and Fig Salad
We are moving into fall soon and the soups are starting to show up on our meal plans. This Dairy Free Pumpkin Soup is one of our favourite fall flavours in soups. We will be using pumpkin we have roasted and frozen in the freezer.
Kale is still abundant in our discount produce markets for a good price at this time of year where we are. This Kale and Fig is a nice fall salad. Any salad will go well with this dinner if another lettuce and ingredients are cheaper and meet the budget better. Using leftover lettuce from the tacos is also a great salad base.
If figs are not your thing sweet softer apples, like a Gala, can be used in place on the salad.
In place of pumpkin, acorn squash or butternut can be used. A thick canned pumpkin puree can be used in place of fresh pumpkin, if desired. The post above the recipe has things to consider when using canned pumpkin.
Lamb Tikka Masala and Rice
We buy our lamb from a farmer who sells us lamb meat in either whole or half a lamb. We pick it up after processing and inspecting at an abattoir and butcher’s shop. This Lamb Tikka Masala is a really easy dinner to make and can be prepped in advance with the veggies and frozen until the night before.
We like basmati rice with our lamb but any rice that is safe for you can be used. We make it as per the bag instructions and leave it plain for this meal.
This makes a fabulous lunch for school in a thermos that has been pre-heated with boiling water. Layer the rice at the bottom of the thermos and the lamb Tikka Masala on top. We find reheating on the stove keeps the food warm longer in the thermos than microwaving does.
Roasted Tomato Soup and Potato Wedges
Another of our favourite soups, Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup. With tomatoes in season we are going to be making a really large batch of this soup and freezing it in portioned containers for lunches and dinner sizes. This will make dinner later in the month quick and easy. This soup is a crowd pleaser and our kids love it. It is flavourful but still within their young taste.
The Potato Wedges
The potato wedges are super easy. They are 2 inch big nugget potatoes cut in wedges lengthwise. We usually get 6-8 per potato. A larger starchy potato like a russet or idahoan can be used but cut into about 12 per potato. Parboil the wedges. This means in a large pot put the wedges in boiling water for 2 minutes. Then drain into a colander and put the colander in the empty hot pot and cover with a tea towel for 10 mins to help steam the potatoes.
Make sure the pot is not on a hot burner and is on a cold surface for safety’s sake. In a large ziploc bag or large bowl mix ¼ C gluten free flour, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon each of paprika, thyme, salt, and oregano, ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Dry off the potato wedges and toss in the flour mix to coat evenly and well.
Preheat the air fryer. Spray the basket with high temp safe oil like canola. Put in the wedges and spray them with the oil. Be sure not to crowd the basket. Cook for 24-26 minutes at 380F shaking the wedges in the basket every 5-8 mins. Serve with safe ketchup.works well with sweet potatoes, too. It may take multiple batches depending on how big the air fryer is.
This soup freezes beautifully and is amazing when served with a dairy free grilled cheese sandwich for lunch the next day.
Pork Roast with Red Cabbage and Boiled Potatoes
This meal was a request from one of the kids. They asked if we can do it a bit differently this time. We have been brining the roast in pickle juice, a huge favourite sound here. The kids asked if we can do a breaded crust so we are trying it this week.
The Pork Roast
We will marinade the pork roast by slathering it in what we use instead of mustard (horseradish paste and turmeric mixed together). If mustard is safe for you a good German mustard works really well. The kids prefer the mild one to the really hot mustard.
Right before roasting we will mix the crust. It will be rice based bread crumbs, Plum b good are our favourite, fresh herbs, thyme, rosemary, and a bit of oregano. Mix it with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Once all mixed in a bowl it will be pressed evenly into the pork roast. Put into a roasting pan on a bed of carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. The bed of veggies helps make the gravy and keeps the roast off the base of the pan. We usually add 1-2 cups of water to the pan making sure not to touch the meat with the water or have it sit in it. Cover with a lid or aluminium foil for the first part of roasting and removing it for the last 20-30 mins.
*Save the drippings for the next night with the schnitzel on the spaetzle instead of gravy here. Store them in the fridge overnight in a sealed container.*
The Boiled Potatoes
The boiled potatoes are small new potatoes, baby potatoes or white or yellow gem potatoes that are boiled until fork tender in salted water. Drain and serve with salt and pepper and a bit of soy-free vegan butter-like spread.
The Red Cabbage
The red cabbage is a long process that takes 2-3 hours sometimes to make. Finely slice a 2.5 pound red cabbage head, 2 Tbsps bacon fat, duck fat, or vegan butter, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, 1 grated apple (the Macintosh variety works well), 1 Shite onion minced, 4 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar or white vinegar, 2 cups of water, ¼ C sour cherry jam, red currant, or lingonberry jelly.
Melt the bacon fat in a large pot over medium high heat. We have a jar of just bacon fat in the fridge from when we cook bacon and drain the fat off we use for this recipe. Add the apple and onion saute until translucent and cooked. Sprinkle in sugar and cook for 2-3 mins stirring to not let it burn. Cabbage should be added and mixed well. Add in vinegar and stir well.
Cover the pot and let cook until the cabbage changes colour to a slightly blue tinge, about 20 minutes. Pour in water and salt, cover again and cook for 1.5 - 2 hours or until the cabbage is soft. More water may be needed as it cooks. When finished cooking, stir in the jelly and serve.
The red cabbage takes hours to make so we make a huge pot of it with 4-5 meals worth in it. We portion out the red cabbage in freezer safe containers after the first meal we made it for. Let it cool and freeze it. The reusable sealing freezer bags work really for this as it can be filled and stored flat in the freezer. They will keep for 3-6 months in the freezer.
Schnitzel, Garlic Spinach, and Spätzle
This is going to be a tough meal to explain in here this time as it is a family recipe of Rob’s and he has been a bit elusive on how to do it.
I know he takes a large tenderloin and slices part of it into ½ inch fillets. He then pounds the fillets into ¼ inch thin schnitzels. The size is important for how they will cook up, quickly and juicy. The breading is where I am not certain of. I don’t know if he flours the schnitzels with gluten free flour and then dips them into dairy free milk and then in rice breading. I do know one way his family does it is similar to how we are doing the roast the next night, marinating in mustard and then breading. The breading is just crushed crackers or ground bread traditionally in his family. We use rice breading as it is easier and the bread and crackers are so expensive.
Spaetzle is an egg based noodle commonly found in Swiss, Austrian and German cooking. It can be served plain, with cheese, or in soups. We usually have it with what Rob calls a Rahm Sauce, or cream sauce. We will use the drippings from the pork roast the night before to make the sauce and make it using the same technique as the gravy in our turkey meatball recipe. The Spaetzle itself is a bit of a mystery and until I can get a solid well tested recipe out of Rob, I recommend making gluten free elbow macaroni instead as it is pretty fail-safe and serving it with the gravy.
The Garlic Spinach
Garlic Spinach is one of my favourites. Rob learned it from one of his favourite restaurants in Germany. The chef was retiring and taught Rob how to make it. We use fresh spinach, which reduces to a small amount. You could use frozen and it will not reduce as much. The secret ingredient here is the same one as in most of our German dishes, nutmeg. It is actually a seed and not a nut but do check with your doctor before trying it.
Boil down the fresh spinach and ½ cup water in a large covered frying pan over medium high heat. Once reduced remove the lid to boil off the excess water from the spinach. Add a bit of neutral oil and a few cloves of minced garlic once the spinach is reduced and water boiled off. Stir to mix well. When garlic is translucent, sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste and grate on fresh nutmeg. If using frozen spinach instead of boiling it down, use the pan and lid to thaw the frozen spinach in ⅓ cup of water and then follow the above directions.
Keep an eye on our site in the next few weeks as I get Rob to put the recipes for schnitsel and Spaetzle on paper so I can share it with you.
Tip 2 - We use a large pork tenderloin from Costco that he hand cuts into fillets and 1-2 roasts. One roast will be used the previous night. This helps us keep our meat costs down. The fillets can also be frozen and then thawed when needed.
Tip 3- Leftover Schnitzel make great "burger-like" Sandwiches for lunch the next day. They can be served cold with a bit of vegan mayo and mustard, if it is safe for you.
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Did you make any of the meals from the meal plan week 25? Please let us know! What is on your meal plan this week? Drop a comment on this post or tag us on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok.
- Meal Plan Week 40
- Allergen Friendly Split Pea and Ham Soup - GF/DF, Top 8 Free
- Dairy Free Banana Pudding - GF/DF, Vegan, Top 8 Free
- Meal Plan Week 39
- Kale Salad with Cranberries - GF/DF, Vegan, Top 8 Free
We have to remind everyone that we are not medical professionals or dietitians, so these meal plans are not balanced for nutrition, they are for information purposes only. Please discuss any dietary concerns, changes, or proper meal plans with your medical team.
Always check the labels for any products to make sure they are right for you. We also encourage you to contact the manufacturers in addition to checking that the process of manufacturing is also safe for you, and that there aren’t shared lines. One product or ingredients may be safe for one person but not another. Always check the products and ingredients before purchasing.