Planning a Food Menu at Home

21Aug08

How to plan a Food menu at home

No, planning your weekly home menu isn’t tedious work. It’s actually fun, informational and that stimulates creative thinking. If you feel this is not your kind of thing, by all means give it a small go — Maybe plan for one or two days to serve one or two meals. A maximum of 4 meals in two days, minimum of 2 meals in 2 days. This will be a great start for you. Do it with someone; better still if someone you love. Not limited to your partner but could also be your mom, your brother, cousin, friend or maybe, dog.

Having your group of family and friends gives you one advantage – Cooking training. Ultimately, you can get to test out different types of foods besides catering for each and every of their needs. You do not necessarily have to be financially sound to be able to cook for a meal of 10, and this is what we’ll be discussing in the next post. To implement these food costing techniques into your home cooked meal besides giving it a good beat to the head.

Food Menu Planning

  1. Get your pen and pencil – Write things off your mind

    Cooking a dish which you feel comfortable with makes a whole lot difference – Since positive thinking can affect how much ‘love’ your guests are going to get from the menu. Write down each and every item that crosses your mind, then tick the ones that will suit them best while you feel comfortable cooking with.

  2. Analyze food science and trends

    You do not need rocket science to choose which dish suits your guest best. Think this way – What are their trends? Do they visit pubs often or parks? Do they like eating Japanese or more to local? If they like Malay food and have a good sense of Korean food, you can try something spicy but not too heavy. Curry will be an ultimate killer – Laksa will do fine. Balance between their worlds and get their flow going – Be a scientist for a while there.

  3. Be different

    Let’s not always go to the four common courses of a meal – Appetizer, Soup, Main Course and Dessert. That would be boring. Instead, why don’t you start with Tamarind Sorbet (sour, not sweet) and give them a punch of light fruit syrup with fruits first? (You can cheat – Go ahead and use the canned fruit syrup). Or maybe give them a piece of your Italian-based soup by adding in deep-fried lard fats on their Creamy Pumpkin Soup instead of just putting coriander leaves on top or croutons? You can also be variant by making your own cheese or Flavored Sugar.

  4. Head on to the Wet Market and be a Regular

    In Malaysia, wet market stall owners are most of the time friendly, somewhat rowdy and great people. They are basically what you call the average business owner – Although a lot of them are rich. If you can look for a particular supplier that offers great raw ingredients, be their regular customer. In time to come, you’ll notice that you may be able to get great discounts, free gifts and ultimately tips to cook a better Szechuan Beef.

  5. Plan your menu ahead

    Planning your menu ahead gives you greater flexibility of kitchen operations and reduces your need to drive down to the hypermarket to get any extra stuff. If you’re cooking for 2 days and 2 meals, be sure to list down everything you need – From recipes to ingredient amounts. Gauge your budget and spending power with the intensity of your menu. Always try to think of another recipe which requires one of the same ingredients that you’re going to use for another recipe. This way, your food turnover could be greatly increased, thus giving you fresher foods, emptier fridge and less rotting food items in your chiller.

    KITCHEN TIP: Always remember to get your frozen meats defrosted one day before (thawing). You can remove the meat from the freezer and seal it in a container with a lid. Place it in your refrigerator section. You can do this before you go to bed the day before, and usually within the next day, you’ll get a defrosted meat. Don’t put them in the chiller – Get them into the second last compartment or so.

  6. Consider leftovers – Or make a dish out of it

    Seriously, if there’s a will, there’s a way. If you have plenty of leftovers in the fridge – No worries. Now, you can dump all of them into a pot filled with chicken stock, boil and simmer them for 10 minutes before serving. All you need to do is add natural seasoning like pickled vegetables (anchovies don’t work well at this point unless you want to add in a lot, and I mean really SALTY ones) or your salted fish. Adding different leftovers in your pot can give you a heavenly taste if you do it correctly – Make sure it’s not weird combinations like beansprouts (taugeh) and foie gras (duck liver). You can try that, but please be careful.

Placing an FOOD ORDER MENU at home

You can always go to your computer, dump in a few recipes into any Word processing tools (Microsoft Word), add a template to it and make your own food menu. Let’s say, Mr. Stim cooks for his friends and family – They come by almost twice a week. It’s wise then to put a food menu so that each and every week, you can add and subtract to the menu, besides analyzing which would suit your guest best.

Mr. Stim would also store his food ingredients correctly – Frozen meat into freezer, vegetables into the veg compartment, dairy ingredients into the middle shelf. Because he loves his guests, he’ll make them come into his house and order – When he already prepared almost enough to cook everything that is available on the menu. If you have ten people and five dishes, consider two servings of each or three servings of a few dishes. This way, you can make yourself look like a mini-café owner and retain your status of “Wah, Mr. Stim the Chef leh!”

Cheating your way to Chef-fame

Cheat-cooking can be unnoticeable if you do it well. Of course, always do the right thing first before you start cheating. If a particular dish requires non-cheating cooking techniques like Tournadoes (rolled beef tenderloin) or Superior Fruit Punch (but you add champagne and fruit syrup in Canned Fruits), you can fly. But what if it’s too obvious like Chicken Nuggets or Burger Patties? You could deviate there, but be aware of its consequences.

Food-cheating is great when you want to defend your ego, or reduce food cost. Ultimately, this is not always recommended by Food Central, but in many ways, Food Central picks these into the brains of their students and apprentice Chefs in order to stimulate their creative minds.

Get this into your head: What can I do with these limited things, and become Jamie Oliver? For instance, let’s take Ramley’s Burger Patties. Alternatively, (instead of just frying them) you can mash these beef (or chicken) patties into your bowl, add an egg, some oregano, chopped cilantro, nutmeg powder, flour and ricotta cheese inside, then stir-fry them in hot oil. After that, lead them into your soup or create a Basic Tomato Sauce (Canned tomatoes, Garlic, Olive Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Fresh Basil) to accompany these balls you’ve just made. It’s simple – Yet needs a little extra creativity to work.

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One Response to “Planning a Food Menu at Home”


  1. 1 Pages tagged "fish house punch"

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