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£50-60 a week food budget. Meal plan ideas (for odd requirements) please?(24 Posts)
Two adults, 7 and nearly 5yo, no pets. Teen DSD stays sometimes at weekends. Youngest can be a bit picky.
No access to costco, aldi etc, can't shop around (physically can't), we get two Tesco deliveries a week - as the minimum is now £25 I am hoping to get each shop as close to that as I can. Two smaller shops because it works better for us with having fresh stuff and room to store (tiny kitchen) etc. We could afford more (and spend more like £75 a week ATM) but we are saving as hard as we can so happy to be more frugal.
Keen to reduce meat, although want to keep eating oily fish, trying to use whole/unprocessed foods when possible. Health is a priority... I love lentils for example but sadly the others don't
Don't have much freezer space for bulk cooking (though I freeze ingredients like ginger and am thinking of freezing herbs, garlic etc to save wasting fresh stuff)
DH is coeliac. He gets some stuff prescribed.
Need all my meals (on my own at lunchtimes) and preferably stuff for DH's lunch at work too, to avoid dashes to the nearby Coop. DCs get FSM at the moment so that's not an issue.
Oh and just for added fun our oven doesn't work! Hope to get LLs to fix/replace but will take a while. Grill sort of works, hobs are fine.
We have food processor and stick blender, microwave, and a slow cooker... which I have used precisely once - would love some ideas for that.
So there are the requirements - I know there are fabulous meal planners on MN so any ideas would be welcomed!
I'd also love some suggestions on what basics I could stock up on to add flavour - I've recently got to grips with the soy sauce/ginger/lime etc combinations for stir fries, other than that we only have paprika and cinnamon so far! What else should I get (and freeze if relevant)?
Oh and that does include toiletries and washing stuff although if we needed to stock up on them we could spend over the £60.
Use the big packets of cooking bacon (£1 ish) and serve with gf pasta, frozen peas and passata.
Post this in the food section, there's some real foodies in there.
Try looking at the Old Style section on the Money Saving Expert Forum; this sort of thing is right up their street!
Try adding small amounts of chorizo to things to give a good, strong meaty flavour. Patatas bravas, for instance, can be made into a delicious meal (according to my kids), but adding about 75-100gms of chorizo between 4 people. You can add it to pasta sauce in the same sort of amounts. bean and chorizo chilli is good as well. Just use a couple of tins of cheap kidney beans and about 100gms of chorizo instead of mince.
Cooking bacon can be used in potato bakes, pasta, soups etc. instead of more expensive rashers.
try eating more veggie meals. I know you say your family doesn't like lentils but have you tried things like dahl, lentil loaf or lentil soup? bean burgers are cheap and really easy to make. A favourite in here is pasta with caramelised onions. it's easy and really, really cheap, although you would have to get the gluten free pasta. Lemon pasta is a cheap, summery meal. Quiche is good too. Frittata can be eaten hot one evening and then cold in sandwiches the next day for lunch.
Oily fish meals - you could have kedgeree made with smoked mackerel. Fish pate made with tinned mackerel/sardines and soft cheese, pasta with smoked salmon trimmings, peas and cream. Mackerel with leeks over jacket potatoes is another cheap one with oily fish.
Cheap breakfasts might be porridge with a handful of raisins, eggs and toast or rolls and scrambled egg, toast and peanut butter with a banana, beans on toast.
Meal plan, what about:
toast and peanut butter, bananas
scrambled egg rice with peas
bean burgers, potatoes, carrot salad, sweetcorn
lentil and bacon soup, bread
pasta with smoked salmon, cream and peas
sandwiches with peanut butter and apple slices
patatas bravas, salad
scrambled egg rolls
left over lentil soup and bread
bean and chorizo chilli and rice
toast and peanut butter, banana
more left over soup and bread
beans on toast
frittata sandwiches, apple
dahl and rice with chopped tomatoes and onions
crusty bread with mackerel pate
pea and ham soup (using the rest of the frozen peas and cooking bacon), bread, tinned rice pudding and peach slices
Spices - you should probably get garlic, chilli powder, cumin, curry powder/paste, chilli flakes
Wow thanks for all the ideas!
Cooking bacon - what is it exactly?
Chorizo I loooove so using that won't be a problem
BTW with stuff like pasta, I do normal for myself and DCs as it's like 20p for 500g spaghetti! DH normally eats later so he boils himself some of the GF stuff.
I will repost this on the food board too, thank you.
Oh and do you have a recipe or method for the lemon pasta? I had some in a restaurant a while back and it was gorgeous but I wouldn't have a clue how to recreate it. (Same with some creamy minty pasta I had once)
Shop in the evening when supermarkets reduce their food
If you want to bulk out mince, and your lot don't like lentils, then you can chuck in a handful or two of oats. It cooks in really well and I use it if we've run out of lentils.Most supermarkets do a value version. You can also add a grated carrot or two (I find it makes bolognese less acidic) and whatever cheap veg you've got.
Cooking bacon is fab and I use it for pasta dishes and soups. Asda smart price is about 80p for a big pack- I'm sure you'll find Tesco do similar. It's basically bacon offcuts so doesn't look attractive but really is very flavoursome.
Actually bolognese is the one thing I've managed to sneak lentils into! Not much though, as the time I tipped a load in, they didn't really like it so much.
Unfortunately I can't use oats in family meals because of DH being coeliac - some coeliacs can tolerate them, others can't - we tried and DH is one of the unlucky ones
I will definitely look for cooking bacon. Is it quite salty? If so I would only use a small amount as I'm not keen on the salty taste (which is annoying as for my illness my consultant instructed me to include more salt in my diet... Gah!)
Sadly I can't get to the supermarket at all really let alone in the evenings for reduced stuff used to do this and may be able to when health/other circumstances improve but for the moment we are just doing online shopping.
The cooking bacon is massively variable. From morrisons it is quite finely chopped, in tesco it tends to com in great slabs an inch thick, and in sainsburys it is usually badly shaped slices - still fin for sandwiches though! You have to rifle though the packets to get what you want.
I find I get enough bacon in a packet to generously bacon six people in a pasta bake.
lemon pasta - 500gms pasta, juice of 3 lemons, 1/3 cup olive oil, 4 or 5 ounces grated parmesan (gran padano is cheaper, or you can just use cheddar), some chopped basil and a couple of handfuls of rocket or watercress.
Cook pasta. beat lemon juice and oil together until thick and creamy looking. Stir in parmesan. Mix sauce through pasta, stir in basil and rocket. Season to taste.
Alternative lemon pasta -
cook pasta. Juice 3 lemons into a big bowl. heat a carton of cream with the zest of 1 lemon. Toss cooked pasta in lemon juice. Stir through the lemony cream and add about 4 ounces grated parmesan. Add a handful of basil leaves and some rocket/watercress.
Still not any better, fuzzpig? sadly, I know how you feel.
Thanks for the recipes!
Things are a lot better healthwise actually, not fully recovered or anything but certainly improving - I'm managing the school run and extra walking, haven't had any major flare ups or time off work for ages, gradually getting fitter I just have to still be careful not to use energy/time on things that aren't essential, IYSWIM.
Thank you for asking, I'm sorry it's not the same for you at the moment x
It's not a whole meal but a tip I learned from the Girl Called Jack book is to buy the really cheap value baked beans and rinse all the gross sauce off them-voila, haricot beans for less than half the price!
Am certainly going to try those versions of lemon pasta, I might stir through some flaked tuna or flaked salmon too, thank you!
You could make your bolognese or any mince dish go further by adding some pudding rice early in the cooking.
Glad you're feeling better, fuzz. it's a long, hard road.
Re. the rice in mince thing, that works a treat. I also have a wee trick with lentils and rice.
Cook 1 cup of lentils and 1 cup of rice in 5 cups of water with 5 beef oxo cubes added. You can then use that instead of mince. Mine like it seasoned with taco spices and served in tacos or wraps or made into bolognese or something.
Have you tried deal sites for your cleaning stuff and treats for the kids? I am always checking them ! in fact I think I am a little bit addicted - I did used to use Groupon all the time but they seem quite big now and the deals aren't all that! The newest one I have found is savingstacker.com which seems quite good!
For your food I usually buy things in bulk and then freeze loads of it in in batches so it lasts for the next few weeks - we also have a set dinner plan so I always buy the same stuff and don't waste anything
This is seriously yummy and healthy recipe:
About flavours: have you got any space at all you can grow herbs in? Even a window sill will do. I grow my own mint, parsely, oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage and chives and they take very little looking after (a bit of watering in this weather). Saves a packet on fresh herbs from the supermarket - not to mention all the plastic they're wrapped in! We had such an abundance this year, I have been making pesto and freezing it for winter when they don't grow so well.
Gluten-free and veggie cheap ideas:
Risotto - butternut squash and sage is my fave but courgette is an even cheaper option
Veggie kebabs and rice
Veg and chickpea curry - whatever firm veg you have available
Roast veg with chickpeas if your kids don't eat curry
5 bean chilli (or 3 bean or whatever!)
Dried beans and chickpeas.
I have a slow cooker and I love it. You can make chickpea & veg curry (obviously), ratatouille with courgettes, carrots and whatever veg you have. We like having ratatouille with couscous.
I've cooked it without cheese and basil, but with dates and spices (like cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, turmeric if I haven't got ras-el-hanout) to make 'Moroccan' ratatouille.
The 'Moroccan' version: www.bbc.co.uk/radioscotland/events/wk11_ratatouille.pdf
I like making bean chilli in the slow cooker and also Cajun red beans and rice: www.diannesdishes.com/2011/02/vegetarian-slow-cooker-red-bea.html
I add thinly sliced carrots to the red beans and rice for some veg. You can also make a coleslaw on the side.
I find that cajun seasoning is an extra expense, as it's quite specific, but you can make your own with common, multi-purpose cupboard ingredients:
I really like Ottolenghi's mejadra recipe. It does have lentils in it but it's delicious and very frugal.
And shakshuka (eggs) is also good:
I've used the cheaper 'Greek-style' cheese instead of feta or omitted it altogether and it's been fine and delicious
We also have pasta puttanesca when we're running out of fresh ingredients - I use anchovy paste instead of anchovies, as the paste keeps in the fridge longer, and sometimes tomato paste when I haven't any canned tomatoes.
I'd really get some cumin seeds and ground cinnamon, things like that. With Tesco delivery you can get cheaper spices and dried pulses from the ethnic section. The 'East End' brand is cheap - sometimes there's a discount on their canned tomatoes and it works out cheaper than the Tesco value canned tomatoes.
that Mejadra looks delicious
Broad bean & lemon risotto (lovely).
Fish pie (with offcuts of fish)
Sticky salmon with egg fried rice (Annabel Karmel)
Home made mince and potato pasties (regularly fought over here)
Home made pizza dough & toppings
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