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Everything You Wanted to Know About Meal Planning

Society as a whole and the internet, in particular, seem to have finally gotten to an evolutionary point where we genuinely value eating healthy above, well, not eating healthy.

 

And meal planning is one of the staples of this healthy and wholesome lifestyle we seem to be embracing, or at least trying to embrace.

If you’re new to the sport, and you find it sounds like a time-saving and health-boosting practice but you’re unsure where to start, take a look at our guide on meal planning:
Why should I embrace meal planning?
There are several benefits to planning your meals, not limited to:

● You can save money, as you won’t be spending on ingredients that end up untouched.
● At the same time, you’ll be cutting down the amount of food you waste.
● You can choose to eat healthier this way.
● You can save yourself some valuable time and reduce your cooking-related stress levels.
● It’s easier to try out new recipes and foods.
Where do I start?
There are three steps to meal planning you need to add to your weekly schedule:

Meal Planning

Image by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash

1. Choose your recipes

The first thing you need to do is actually plan out what you want to eat next week. Take into account your actual schedule: how many nights a week are you out, do you already have lunch plans on certain days, etc. When choosing recipes, try to choose things you know and love, and add in one new dish every week. You can base a variety of dishes around similar ingredients, so you minimize the risk of waste.

2. Go grocery shopping

Meal Planning

Image by Scott Warman on Unsplash

Before you head out to the shops, compile a list of ingredients. Start with the base ingredients (the major things each dish needs, like pasta, meat, rice, etc.) and go down to the smallest condiments and spices. Once you know what you actually need, check what you already have and can use. Finally, head down to the shop and get what you need.

Another good idea is to work with seasonal ingredients and plan your meals accordingly. Also, don’t forget that some ingredients can’t be kept in the fridge for an entire week, so you may need to make more than one trip to the shops. In that case, add this second (or third) grocery run to your to-do list, and attach the grocery list too.

Meal Planning

3. Cook

There are different ways you can go about meal prep at this point. You can prep as many of the dishes ahead (for example over the weekend) and freeze them or keep them in the fridge, then just heat them up any day of the week. Or you can prep partly (chop up your veggies, measure out ingredients, mix sauces, etc.) and cook each meal on the day, or the day before. The decision will mostly come down to your own schedule and routine – you don’t have to do the same thing each week.
What do I eat?
The beauty of meal planning is that you get to try all sorts of different dishes, and fall in love with new favorites. The internet offers such a huge range of recipe ideas that you will simply be spoiled for choice.

Meal Planning

Here are a few suggestions:

● You can develop an AIP meal plan if you’re suffering from an autoimmune disease or digestive problems.
● You can try to add more fish to your diet by focusing on certain types of meals three times a day.
● You can contribute to the environment by eating more sustainable meals on several nights a week.
● You can lose weight by cutting down on your calorie intake through meal planning.
● You can boost your workout routine  with a complementary meal plan.

The choices really are endless; all you have to do is spend some time researching meals.
Tips on staying organized:

● Store all your recipes either in the same online space or in a recipe book you can reach for at any time.
● Buy a meal planning calendar you can keep on the fridge, so you never forget what’s on the menu.
● Schedule yourself reminders to look for new recipes.
● Cut down on prep time by cooking more than one dish at a time, especially if they call for some of the same ingredients.

Once you get into meal planning, you’ll wonder how you’ve ever managed to feed yourself before. Remember that this shouldn’t be another boring chore – it’s actually a great way to have fun and eat well at the same time!

Ice Cream in the Chef’s Playground

Writing recipes is an everyday occurrence in the life of restaurateur Chef Dominique Rizzo. Adding a fresh take on ice cream, taking it out of its dessert comfort zone and dropping it into the entree menu is a walk with a difference for ice cream in the Chef’s Playground.

ice cream in Chef's playground - Phillip Johnson, William Wallace, Ben Williamson, Dominique Rizzo

 

And so it was that four of Brisbane’s renowned chefs came together at the “Chef’s Playground” at the Brisbane Ice Cream Festival at West End to present their bespoke “ice cream” dishes to guests in the art and food precinct of West Village on the site of the iconic Peters Ice Cream Factory.

ice cream in Chef's playground - The Bromley Room

What did each course of ice cream in the Chef’s Playground look like? 

Take a look behind the scenes at each chef’s signature dish starting with –

Phillip Johnson’s Tomato & basil sorbet, charcoal cone, crisp prosciutto, parmesan snow 

ice cream in Chef's playground Phillip Johnson's Ice cream - Charcoal cone

Dominique Rizzo’s Handmade potato and herb gnocchi, smoked truss tomato sugo, grana padano and ricotta gelato (Gluten free)

ice cream in Chef's playground - Dominique Rizzo Handmade potato and herb gnocchi, smoked truss tomato sugo, grana padano and ricotta gelato

Ben Williamson’s Hand filleted anchovies, wood-roasted pepper sorbet and crispy sourdough

ice cream in Chef's playground - Ben Williamson's Hand filleted anchovies, wood-roasted pepper sorbet and crispy sourdough

These 2 amazing dishes were paired with a very fine 2017 Fiano (Italian Varietal) from Jericho Wines, Adelaide Hills.

William Wallace’s Lamb collar, ice cream, crispy carrot and mustard leaf’

Paired with 2017 Manos Libre Organic Tempranillo Blend.

ice cream in Chef's playground -William Wallace's Lamb collar, ice cream, crispy carrot and mustard leaf'

Phillip Johnson’s Iced goats’ cheese & leatherwood honey parfait, candied walnuts, fresh fig,

Accompanied by the smooth 2018 Souma Brachetto, Tranquillo still dessert wine from the Yarra Valley. ice cream in Chef's playground - Phillip Johnsons' iced goats' cheese

For a grand finale, Dominique presented her Sicilian Cassata gelati cannoli cups, pistachio, dark chocolate, Galliano soaked raisins

Ice Cream in the chef's playground - Dominique Rizzo's dessert Putia Pure Food Kitchen

and entertained her guests with the story behind her creation.ice cream in Chef's playground - Dominique speaking at the Chef's Playground dinner.

If it is too long to wait for next year’s Chef’s Playground event, you can experience Dominique’s gnocchi at her restaurant Putia Pure Food Kitchen, where it is served with a different delicious authentic Italian sauce every day.  Meanwhile, if you have a special occasion coming up and you want to have something different, something outstanding,  did you know that you can create your own event with bespoke recipes written by Dominique, especially for the theme of your celebration?  Just ask her.

Images provided by Kylie Lang and Amelia Miletic.

Redland City Council Mayor Testimonial

Congratulations on having the Waste Not Want Not programme featured in the Cleveland Woolworths Shopping Centre. Dominique Rizzo is fabulous and personally I think she was the best choice to participate in this programme. The speedy pizza recipe is outstanding. Once again congratulations on having this programme in Cleveland good initiative by the Council.

Frances Thompson

5 Tips to get you out of a food rut

5 Tips to get you out of a food rut

Recently I did a radio interview discussing how many of us as stuck in a food rut and a study showing that 51% of people rotate between 5 meals or less for their weekly menu. I had to agree with the survey as I have found that many of us are all excited about the cooking shows and slightly addicted but when it comes to actually getting into the kitchen and putting some of this into practice we shy away and stick to the staples. Now there is nothing wrong with roast on Sundays, Bolognese on Tuesday and steak and veg on Wednesday with a quick stir fry for Friday, but folks there is more to your food life than 4-5 family specials. Here are 5 tips to get you out of a food rut and easy ideas to get the gourmet going in your kitchen:

  1. I know we are all time poor and that you all have shelves of cook books that are being used as dust catchers more than they are being used for
    5 Tips Get you out of food rut - Dominique's Cook Book

    Dominique’s Cook Book

    cooking. So to ease you into the game, pick up the first 3 books you lay your hands on, grab the family or housemates and flick through the pages choosing 2 meals that everyone likes from each cook book, try and choose recipes that you have never tried before. Jot down the ingredients and on the next shop make it a point to include the new recipe, even better get the family or all members of the house in on the cooking.

  2. If recipe books are a little scarce, key in an ingredient or recipe that you have always wanted to try into good old google and let your fingers do the searching. If you start small by integrating one different dish per week you will soon be cooking up a collection of wonderful creations.
  3. We as Australians are such a wonderful melting pot of cultures so if you are even stuck for an ingredient that you haven’t tried, try looking for a cuisine that you have always wanted to taste. When shopping we often go on automatic pilot filling the trolly with the same staples every week. I understand that the husband may only like 2 vegetables and the kids will only eat potato, it may be that they have tried everything else and not liked anything or maybe that they have never tasted any other vegetables so get creative and incorporate one or two new items of food into the trolley per week.
  4. If you are really in a corner with fussy eaters then use what you normally 5 Tips Get you out of food rut - Middle Eastern Banquetget and pick up some different spices, seasonings, herbs and alternate some different cooking methods to bring a little pizzazz back onto the plate.
  5. A wonderful basic recipe can be found everywhere and we are surrounded by fresh produce and many professionals such as butchers, fruit vendors, deli operators who are more than happy to not only give you advice on what to buy and the best deals, they will even give you a taste and also a couple of recipes to take home.

All you need is some simple planning, an hour a week… which is nothing and you could be sizzling up your kitchen with the best of us using these 5 tips to get you out of a food rut.

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