2 Surprising Benefits of Using a Meal Plan

baked lentilotto-2

So I’m going to let you in on a little secret… Before I started Soupstones, my done-for-you meal planning service, I thought there was absolutely no way I would enjoy following a meal plan.

You see, I like to think of myself as a ‘free spirit’, someone who hates being told what to do. I was worried about stifling my creativity.

But you know what?

Over the last year I’ve found myself following my meal plans more and more.

The thing I love about the weeks when I use Soupstones meal plans is that I don’t have to think. I just download the plan, buy what’s on the shopping list. And then walk into the kitchen each night and cook. It really is so easy (if I do say so myself!)

Anyway over the last few weeks I’ve been spending a lot of time on the phone and skype talking to the wonderful people from around the world who have been using the meal plans.

My main aim was to find improvements. But I’ve also been hearing how the meal plans are helping people.

There were the things you’d expect to hear like…

“I’m saving money because I’m only buying what we need”

“We’re eating so many more home cooked meals”

“I’m wasting so much less because I actually use the ingredients I buy”

“Everything is so quick and easy to prepare”

“I’m eating much more healthfully”

“We’re trying new and tasty recipes all the time. It’s helped me break out of my food rut!”

But there were a few surprises too!

2 Surprising benefits of using a meal plan

1. Better tasting meals.

I’m a food lover. The most important thing for me is that my recipes taste good.

So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that many people mentioned their meals have been tastier and getting more compliments since joining Soupstones. But I was surprised. And very happy at the same time!

2. Learning how to substitute ingredients.

As with all the recipes here on my blog, the meal plans include options to help you customize the meals to suit your tastes and dietary requirements. There’s a side benefit to this…

The variations have actually taught people how to substitute ingredients and given them confidence to go ‘off the recipe’ when they want to. I really wasn’t expecting this but how cool is that?

Want to know how it works?

There’s a ‘how it works’ video tour (you’ll need to scroll down a bit) along with all the details about the meal plans on my website over here:
www.thestonesoupshop.com/soupstones/

To make sure you don’t miss out go to:
www.thestonesoupshop.com/soupstones/

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baked lentilotto-2

Baked ‘Lentilotto’

I’ve been a fan of using red lentils to make a healthier and much easier (hello no constant stirring!) spin on risotto for a few years now. Normally I just cook on the stove top, stirring from time to time, but I recently had the (I like to think) brilliant idea of doing a baked version with no stirring at all. It takes a few minutes longer to cook but it is just as oozy and comforting AND you can pretty much forget about it while it cooks itself. Winner!

This is my basic or ‘template’ recipe. Feel free to add whatever other ingredients you feel like. Anything that would work in a risotto is a great place to start. Although I am a huge fan of this super simple version.

enough for: 2
takes: 25 minutes

1 large onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups chicken or veg stock
200g (7oz) red lentils
2 handfuls grated parmesan

1. Heat an oven proof pot on the stove top and preheat your oven to 200C (400F).

2. Add butter and onion and cook stirring every now and then until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the stock and lentils. Season and cover with a lid or some foil. Bake for 15 minutes or until the lentils are super soft.

4. Stir in the parmesan and serve with a green salad on the side.

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Variations

dairy-free / vegan – use olive oil instead of the butter and replace parmesan with some finely grated brazil nuts. Or just serve with some extra olive oil drizzled over for richness.

herby – add a few sprigs of thyme or rosemary or sage in with the onions.

mushroom – brown some chopped mushrooms in with the onion.

no oven – just simmer the lentils in the stock on the stove top stirring every few minutes. Add an extra 1/2 cup of stock or more because you’re going to get much more evaporation with the pot uncovered.

carnivore – brown some crumbled sausages, bacon or sliced chorizo in the pan after cooking the onions.

more veg – add chopped carrot and celery with the onion. And feel free to stir in your favourite cooked veg before serving.

Thank you so much for reading! I really appreciate you taking the time to drop by.

With big love,
Jules x

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ps. Not sure if meal plans would work for you?

Here’s what Marjorie said about her experience:

“I’ve subscribed to the Soupstone meal plans for a few months. It took me a bit to get going on it, but when I made a leap and just went and shopped from your list — Voila! It was marvelous. I made everything like you said, even if I thought, we are not going to like this recipe. It’s pretty amazing, but my husband and I have liked every single meal. I’ve heard him talk about Soupstones Meal Plans to people and he says, You read the recipe and you doubt it’s going to taste good — but it ALWAYS does! He gets very excited now to see what’s in store for the week.”
Marjorie, Soupstones Member.

To make sure you don’t miss out use the link below:
www.thestonesoupshop.com/soupstones/

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