Your Cheapest Recipe (share please!)

(96 Posts)
tryingmybest2012 Sun 26-Aug-12 08:53:43

I have been reading threads on here and on Money Saving Expert with how people feed their families on small amounts of money per week. I have a family of 2 adults and 1 toddler and cannot get my grocery bill (including cleaning products - no toiletries) to less than £80 per week. I have a few must haves, organic milk, cheese and yoghurts, free range eggs and chicken and good quality British other meat. I still think I should be able to get my food bill down though as I have read other posters who manage to spend a lot less than I do. I am thinking the problem could be the lack of low cost recipes I have access to, and thought it would be nice to do a thread where we each share our one lowest cost recipe that we can make. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, it doesn't have to be cooked from scratch, it doesn't even have to be healthy, anything goes.....

I will start us off with pesto pasta and salad

Teaspoon of pesto per person
50g pasta per person
Small side salad of lettuce, tomato and cucumber

Cook the pasta, stir in the pesto and done! (Serve with side salad to get one of your 5 a day)

I feel I have cheated slightly by doing such an easy recipe using shop bought pesto but as I said anything goes......

riverboat Sun 26-Aug-12 12:55:08

Well we've been eating a lot of cold meals recently since it's been hot where we are. One really cheap thing I've done is to take whatever leftover stuff is lying around in terms of cold meat, and serve it with a big grain-based salad, which is so cheap considering the amount you get out of a bag. For example:

Boil a mix of bulgar wheat and quinoa for 15-20m. Drain and leave to cool for a bit. Finely chop whatever salady bits you have to hand, e.g. cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, spring onion and add to the quinoa and bulgar wheat. Add sweetcorn and/or mushrooms or whatever other tinned veg you want. Mix it all together and season very well. Chill it in the fridge for a bit then serve. It's a really nice side dish for hot days and very flexible.

Other cheap things we've been eating a lot this summer:

Quiche + salad and sweetcorn (quiches often on special offer)

Jacket Potato + tuna/mayo sweetcorn and salad (stock up on tuna when its on special offer too, or buy the value stuff if you don't have dolphinesque scruples)

Cold meats (ham/salami etc) + potato salad (make your own)

crisisofidentity Sun 26-Aug-12 13:04:16

Pasta, when cooked stir in one packet of smoked salmon trimmings, some chopped spring onion, about 2/3 of single cream, load with freshly ground black pepper, serve with green salad.

The cheapest things I make are probably:

- dahl (really cheap providing you have a good stock of spices already. I use creamed coconut in mine for 89p a carton but that still makes a huge panful for about three pounds not counting the cost of the spices) and rice with a salad of chopped onion, cucumber and mint

- veggie chilli - I use puy lentils in mine as they give good texture but again I can make a vatful of this for less than a fiver and it makes at least two meals. Eat with rice or potato wedges or tortilla wraps.

- eggs, homemade wedges and peas!

Can you eat meat less often? I feed 2 adults and a toddler on £50 a week but we're vegetarian. I'm happy to post a sample meal plan if it helps. We do an online shop from Asda (they do a mixed size box of 15 free range eggs for £2.50) and that includes cleaning products and household stuff but then I'm not fussed about having value toilet rolls etc and I buy nappies from wilkos or morrisons at about £4 for 25 ish, value wipes etc. I'd be interested in what you cook, I'm pretty sure it's the meat bumping up the cost

tryingmybest2012 Sun 26-Aug-12 13:40:43

NiceCupOfTeaAndSitDown yes I would love a sample meal plan thank you. I have a feeling it must be the meat bumping it up as I buy all nappys, wipes, cleaning products from aldi and value toilet roll etc. In a week I would buy a beef joint which is £6.99, two packs of chicken breasts at around £4 each, cheese £2.75 a block, milk about £4, tuna steaks at around £5, we do have around 2 or 3 vegetarian meals a week but maybe we need to eat more vegetarian meals.

Can't help with the meat but often see posts on here about good cheap cuts, I'm sure somebody can help. Cheese is expensive but often on offer (Asda do 2 large packs for £4 sometimes) - do you have a poundland nearby? I've seen 4 pints of milk in there. We get our tuna steaks from Morrisons, 2 steaks for £3, they're really nice. I'll try and whip up a sample meal plan and shopping list smile

RugBugs Sun 26-Aug-12 14:30:17

I do a risotto which is quite cheap but feels expensive, the true expense is the achey wrist I get from constantly stirring the rice.

risotto rice
chorizo (is £2 but could be left out)
2 peppers
couple of stock cubes and a glass of white wine

served with some leaves and homemade dinner rolls

duchesse Sun 26-Aug-12 14:48:24

Nettle soup: A large colander of fresh nettle tops (free), one potato, one onion, some stock (can be cubes, can be boiled bones and veg etc), bit of seasoning.

Soup generally is very cheap to make and very nutritious, especially if you make your own stock..

stressedHEmum Sun 26-Aug-12 14:56:10

Pasta e ceco

500gm bag pasta (value stuff is 30p)
250g dried chick peas, soaked and cooked (about 40p)
2 decent sized onions (about 30p)
1 head garlic, finely chopped (about 30p)
splash oil, knob butter, salt and pepper.

While pasta is cooking, fry onions and garlic in oil and butter until soft and fragrant. Add cooked chick peas and cook until hot though. Stir through drained, hot pasta and season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with some salad leaves if you like. Serves 5 perhaps 6.

Pasta with caramelised onions

500gm pasta
4 or 5 big onions
oil, butter, salt, pepper brown sugar
tiny bit of grated gran padano.

Start to cook onions in oil and butter over a medium heat. When they are soft and translucent, out pasta on to boil. Season onions with salt and pepper, add a spoonful of brown sugar. keep cooking until pasta is done. Mix onions through drained pasta. Serve sprinkled with a little finely grated gran padano and salad leaves. Serves 5-6

Scrambled egg rice

1 cup leftover cooked rice per person
1/2 an onion, chopped per person
garlic to taste
salt and pepper
1 egg beaten per person
frozen peas
oil for cooking

Fry onions and garlic until soft. Add rice and cook, stirring, until hot. Add peas and stir well. Pour over beaten eggs and seasoning. Cook, stirring, ntil eggs are set.

All these will feed 5 or 6 people for £2 or less. Have plenty more for anyone who is interested.

Rugbugs I've got an awesome recipe for microwave risotto, you'd never know! It's in the BBC Good food 100 vegetarian recipe book.

OP these are our dinners for the next fortnight :
Homemade Pasty & chips
Cheats pizza (Jamie Oliver 30min recipe) wedges & salad
Pizza meatloaf & mushroom salad
Macaroni cheese & garlic bread
Cannelloni & salad
Fish, chips & peas
Tuna steaks with chilli & olives (Nigella lamb recipe) with jackets
Satay stir fry veg with noodles
Chickpea & butternut squash curry with bombay potatoes & rice
Mexican lasagne (Nigella) & jackets
Enchiladas & salad
Creamy cheese & spinach rice & green veg
Vegeburgers, wedges & salad
Day After pie with new potatoes & green veg

I plan/buy for breakfasts, lunches and snacks too. Let me know if you want me to list them or any recipes

stressedHEmum Sun 26-Aug-12 15:09:47

Curried split pea soup

1 bag yellow split peas
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 decent sized potatoes, diced
6pts veg stock
2tblspns curry powder or to taste
black pepper

chuck everything in a big pan and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 3 or 4 hours, until peas have broken down and soup is thick. Serves about 8 with bread.

Lentil soup.

You need

4 carrots chopped roughly
1 onion chopped roughly
250g red lentils
1 stock cube (I use chicken)
450ml water (roughly)

fry/sweat the onion in a little oil until soft. Add the carrots, lentils and water then crumble in stock cube. Simmer until the carrots are soft. Stir every so often to make sure the lentils dont stick to the pan. Once cooked blend with a stick blender. Add salt/pepper to taste.

We usually serve with crusty bread which is quite cheap.

That recipe is quite rough. I just bung in whatever I think at the time. Sometimes more water is needed. Sometimes I double it up and freeze it.

stressedHEmum Sun 26-Aug-12 15:25:10

recent meal plan -

breakfast, cereal, toast or pancakes with peanut butter
lunches - bulghur wheat pilaf, spicy cabbage and potatoes, curried yoghurt pasta, peanut butter and apple wraps, corn chowder, egg rice
dinners - friday casserole (baked egg and cheese rice);pasta and chick peas; pasta and chick pea soup; creamed tuna, rice and peas; sausage, mash and beans; cheese and onion pie, mixed veg; scone based cheese and tomato pizza

snacks - fruit, toast, crisps, yoghurt, hm banana cake
drinks - squash, milk, water, fruit tea.

Most of these meals feed 5 or 6, some 8-10 and the whole lot comes in well under £50. Obviously, there isn't a lot of meat or fish though.

NellyJob Sun 26-Aug-12 15:36:10

on the one day, make chicken soup with a whole chicken of good quality,(kind of Jewish style)
serve the soup with noodles and a bit
of the breast meat finely diced....
save the leftover soup and the rest of the chicken.
the next day you can have chicken sandwiches or salad.
and you can make a paella with the leftover soup as your stock, together with any chicken scraps that are left....maybe some cheap peeled prawns or mussels.
another very cheap dish is 'dirty rice', new orleans style, cook some rice as normal, fry finely diced chicken livers with onion and garlic, mix the two together.
or try a puttenesca, anchovies chili and garlic fried up, a tin of tomato and some cheap chopped olives, mixedd through your favourite pasta.

ValiumQueen Sun 26-Aug-12 15:37:31

We had pancakes for lunch, using a value mix 1 year out of date (9p) and an egg (fresh!) A splash of oil, then served with golden syrup and lemon juice. Awesome, but far from healthy grin

CumberdickBendybatch Sun 26-Aug-12 15:41:34

Lentil soup (this is for 2-3 people)

Large cup lentils
Fry for 5 mins

1/2 pint milk and tin tomatoes in, spoon of marmite, veg stock cube, Worcester sauce, chilli, paprika and tomato puree. Add salt and pepper.

tryingmybest2012 Sun 26-Aug-12 18:01:25

NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown thanks, any recipes you could give me would be gratefully received. I especially like the sound of the tuna recipe.....

I currently buy a lot of reduced yellow sticker food but still cannot get below £80 per week. I buy breakfast, lunches, dinners and snacks for all 3 of us plus cook a family meal for 7 on a Sunday. I really want to reduce my grocery bill by 50% if possible. I am going to try and do a menu plan for next month out of all the recipes on here and see how I go, maybe beans on toast for me and the toddler every day for lunch may help too!! (DD loves beans on toast so would be very very happy lol as she asks me for it everyday anyway!).

follyfoot Sun 26-Aug-12 18:15:03

A favourite meal which is also dead cheap:

Slice an onion, a pepper or two, and maybe some mushrooms if you have got some (you could add any other veg you fancy at this point too). Soften in a bit of oil. At this stage you either add about a third of a packet of fajita seasoning or some cumin seeds, chilli, maybe some paprika and oregano. Tip in a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tin of baked beans and a tin of kidney beans plus a tinful of water. Season and cook for about 15 mins. Its a lovely Mexican style soup.

If you want it as a more filling meal, add a couple of handfuls of pasta after about 10 mins and some more water. Cook until the pasta is done and serve with a bit of yoghurt on top. You can also add sliced cooked sausages before serving if you fancy.

Lonelylou Sun 26-Aug-12 18:25:16

Jacket potato, tuna mayo. Yummmmmmmm

NorthernNumpty Sun 26-Aug-12 18:30:41

Stop buying chicken breasts!

Buy leg potions, thighs or whole chickens. A whole chicken will do several meals.

Casseroles using cheap chicken cuts are v filing and very good value.

ValiumQueen Sun 26-Aug-12 18:33:18

How about posting your shopping list and we can advise - like the chicken breast comment ^^

Takver Sun 26-Aug-12 18:43:56

Do you have a garden or anywhere outside with direct sunshine you could grow stuff? If so then salad is expensive to buy but easy and cheap to grow . . .

Cheapest & easiest recipe (especially if you have leaf beet/chard/spinach in the garden wink )

Fry an onion in a bit of oil
When soft add half a mug of red lentils and a mug full of rice, stir about to coat then add three mugs of water and half a stock cube.
Bring to the boil & simmer til water is nearly absorbed.
Add lots of washed and chopped spinach or chard, stir to mix in and cook til done.

Eat with lime pickle (expensive, but a jar lasts an awful long time)

crisisofidentity Sun 26-Aug-12 18:46:48

Really skintmeal - nothing in the fridge
Sainsbury's basics chips beans and egg ( not basics), bread and butter.all washed down with a cuppatea.
Ds used to love it as a treat - "the crisis cafe".

Jakadaal Sun 26-Aug-12 18:50:49

Following a tip from my MIL I have just cooked liver for the first time ---- can hardly believe I have just written that! But have cooked it with casserole steak and made herby dumplings. It was lambs liver and cost £1.09 for a big packet. Neither DC noticed the liver just that the gravy was delicious.

4 of us usually eat for about £60 a week and I use cuts of meat that need slow cooking. I also agree with the use of chicken thighs (turkey is even cheaper) rather than breast as it is tastier.

ValiumQueen Sun 26-Aug-12 18:52:22

I miss liver (pregnant)

thepeanutsparent Sun 26-Aug-12 20:21:57

I second Dal! I serve it with rice, cucumber raitha & grated carrot. Super yummy and healthy curry. And SO cheap.
A good one courtesy of my lovely MIL: smoked mackerel & potato bake/grill. Flake a pack of smoked mack into halved par boiled waxy spuds. Stir through mustard and creme fraiche. Pop into oven or under grill til sizzling & serve wih any green. Smoked mack are delish and v v cheap even the sustainably sourced ones.

NellyJob Sun 26-Aug-12 20:25:18

talking of lentils, those tiny dark ones,cooked up and stirred through shell pasta with plenty of olive oil are nice.
Also, homemade pizzas are ridiculously cheap, I use the recipe from dear old Carluccio, I am sure you can find it online.

tryingmybest2012 Sun 26-Aug-12 20:45:33

I haven't got a shopping list to hand as I threw mine in the bin this morning after doing the weekly shop (I wish I hadn't now).

But in general I usually buy:

Weatabix and Meusli from Aldi
8 pints of Organic milk from Sainsbury
2 large cartons of fresh orange juice from Aldi
12 mini cartons of apple juice from Aldi
2 bottles of apple/blackcurrant cordial from Sainsburys
3 loves of bread from Aldi
2 packs of organic butter from Sainsbury
2 bags of apples from aldi
Bananahs from Aldi
Strawberrys from Aldi
Homebake rolls x2 packs from Aldi
5 slices of fresh ham from the counter in Sainsburys
Lettuce x3, Cucumber x2, tomatoes x3, pack of peppers x2 from Aldi
Pack of cakes from Aldi
Joint of beef or a Whole Chicken from Aldi
New potatoes from Aldi
Celery from Aldi
Cheese cake x2 from Aldi
2 bottles of fizzy drink from Aldi
Various wraps, pitta bread etc from Aldi
Organic Cheese x 2 from Sainsburys
Yeo Valley Yoghurt pots x 2 from Sainsbury
Kids organic yoghurts from Sainsburys
Free range eggs x 2 packs from Aldi
Tin tuna from Sainsburys
Bake beans from Aldi
Tin spagehetti from Aldi
Fishfingers from Aldi
Peas from Aldi
2 packs organic chicken breasts from Sainsburys
pack of organic bacon from sainsburys
pack of organic sauasages from sainsburys
Pasta from Aldi
Fresh herbs from Sainsburys
£10s worth of cat foor from Sainsburys (my cat wont eat the aldi one or anything apart from premium ones how ever long I leave it there!)
Crisps from Aldi
Pastry from Aldi
Cream from Aldi
Frozen fish from Aldi
Fresh Tuna from Sainsburys
Couscous from Sainsburys
Value vegetable stock cubes
Stir fry veg from Aldi
Rice from Aldi
Organic steak mince from Sainsburys
Tin tomatoes from Aldi
Onions from Aldi
OXO beef stock cubes
Frozen pizza from Aldi
Pesto from Aldi
Chips from Aldi
Bleach, toilet cleaner, floor cleaner, wash poweder, fabric conditinor, bin bags, toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, baby wipes x4, pull ups, sofa wipes (about every 2 weeks for the cleaning products)

I probably have missed quiet a few things off as I cannot really remember everything off the top of my head but hopefully this may be of help!

I am desperate to cut my food bill down from £80 a week to £40 a week, at the moment I am over budget by about £40 a week which is not good! I am keen to keep organic/free range meat and dairy though due to my beliefs in animal welfare. I think looking at my list less meat is probably the only answer. Plus it is probably not healthy to eat that much red meat (as my other half keeps telling me!)

CouthyMow Sun 26-Aug-12 20:58:57

Cheapest recipe? 500g mince. 375g rice. 5 tbsp gravy granules. Large tin sweetcorn (just in water, no salt or sugar added). 2 tbsp ground coriander, 2 tbsp cumin (spices can be adjusted to taste), 2 tbsp dried mixed herbs, 2 cloves garlic, large onion.

Cook the rice.

While the rice is cooking, chop onion and garlic, and fry together with the mince until the mince is browned. Mix in cumin & ground coriander. Put the tinned sweetcorn and the water from the tin in there. Mix in the gravy powder. Simmer for 30-35 minutes. Add the rice, mix together and serve. If you can stretch to pitta breads, serve with a pitta bread per person. This serves 5-6 in my house, and my older DC's eat a LOT. So serves 2 adults, a teenager, a pre-teen that eats more than the adults, a tall almost 9yo, and a toddler. You may need to add about 200ml-ish extra water to it, but it should have a fairly 'sticky' consistency.

We call it 'spicy mince & rice', even though there's no heat in it at all, and it's all my DC's favourite dinner.

CouthyMow Sun 26-Aug-12 21:05:10

Today's dinner annoyed me. A large chicken from Asda. Leftovers?! Like hell! I have the carcass left to make a chicken & veg soup for tomorrows lunch, and NOTHING else. The pre-teen had his roast dinner, and has just informed me that he was still hungry, so he had made himself a chicken sandwich with the remaining (tiny bit) of chicken. <<Sigh>>. I guess though, that the chicken said it served 4-5, and it did do 5. Still, if you only have 100g leftovers from a large chicken, it's not going to go too far even if it isn't filched for a sarnie!

ValiumQueen Sun 26-Aug-12 21:08:57

trying I think if you insist on organic, and keeping your fussy cat, you will struggle to cut it by much. Perhaps introduce more meat free meals and economise on dried herbs, and non branded items like the oxo. Also cut out treats like cheesecake. Sofa wipes??? Where do you get your cleaning products and bog roll etc? The Aldi hi juice squash is fab IMO. Hopefully others will have ideas. Well done for writing your list. It must have taken a while smile

CouthyMow Sun 26-Aug-12 21:10:52

My pre-teen is a 5ft1" tall 10yo that has already hit puberty, and eats like I would have expected a 17yo to.

It concerns me ever so slightly about how much he will eat when he IS 17...

He is actually underweight for his height right now, having just shot up another inch in the last fortnight. God knows where he PUTS all the food he eats, but having him at home for the whole 6 weeks has practically bankrupted me - I was expecting him to spend 3 weeks at his dad's, but that hasn't happened this year, he only spent a week there, and isn't staying there for the foreseeable future, so I think even my term time bill is going to increase!

Ambi Sun 26-Aug-12 21:21:16

Sausage Pepper Pasta -
Brown sausages, remove, fry onions & garlic & red pepper, add browned chopped sausages, add tin tomatos/ chicken stock/ dry pasta and simmer until pasta cooked. I love this dish, It's a family favourite in our house.

We eat a lot of mexican as it's easy and healthy: Tacos/ Fajitas/ Enchiladas. You only need cayenne pepper and chilli powder to make a mexican dish, no need for expensive mixes, add to chicken or minced beef for tacos/ fajitas and add to passata with grated cheese for enchiladas.

Ambi Sun 26-Aug-12 21:22:08

Oh and cumin for mexican (forgot that one).

tryingmybest2012 Sun 26-Aug-12 22:00:18

I can't cut out the cheescakes unless I can find a desert on Sunday to serve 7 (I have family members round on Sundays for dinner) The two cheesecakes come to about £2.80, if anyone knows of any good deserts to feed 7 that are really really cheap to make let me know as anything I can cut back on will be great. (and make a change from cheescake, I'm sure my family must be sick of it this summer, in the winter they get a strudel, the 2 cheapest deserts in aldi lol).

I buy cleaning products from Aldi, although I noticed this week the value stuff in sainsburys is actually cheaper so I will give that a try next Sunday. The leather sofa wipes are 99p from aldi and are great at wiping all the handprints and other yucky marks my 2 year old makes on a daily basis. They smell nice too! Sometimes I cheat and use baby wipes though but not sure if this does the leather any good, I haven't noticed any bad affects though!

Use of chicken thigh is something I had not thought of , if I can get rid of buying the breasts that will save a bit. I might cut out bacon and sausages too as these come to about £6 a week so that would save a bit too. (Although I like my bacon sandwiches!!) Beans on toast is healthier I guess.....

Pick some blackberries and make a crumble. smile

riverboat Sun 26-Aug-12 22:08:06

Could you buy less of the premium cat food, make up for it with a cheaper brand, and mix the two together when you serve it to your cat?

Virgil Sun 26-Aug-12 22:09:35

Just remember most posters who say they feed their family for fifty pounds a week (which is perfectly possibly) firstly don't buy all organic which is going to add 25 percent to your bill and secondly don't have a family of seven to feed every Sunday.

Why can't your family members bring the joint for Sunday lunch every other time? Or at least the pudding?

Virgil Sun 26-Aug-12 22:11:06

Rice pudding is very very cheap to make

Bread pudding is also cheap and can use leftover baked goods

Virgil Sun 26-Aug-12 22:12:32

And you can make pastry for about ten pence rather than buying it

Virgil Sun 26-Aug-12 22:16:06

Plus (I'm on a roll now) if you use fresh herbs every week why on earth don't you grow your own and keep a few pots on the window sill? Fresh herbs are expensive.

I kill all plants and so I buy those tubes of fresh herbs in oil. When I get home I squeeze them into ice cube trays and freeze them so I always have whatever herbs I need. Far cheaper.

BlameThePixies Sun 26-Aug-12 22:27:24

Tomato and lentil soup, simple and v tasty.

One large onion
1 pint veg stock
2 tins chopped tomatoes
10 tbsps red lentils

Makes a big vat of soup, blend it before serving, freezes well!
I sometimes add garlic, whatever veg needs using up, and if I have it a big bunch of basil before blending. Nice with a dollop of yoghurt too.

NellyJob Sun 26-Aug-12 22:33:18

there's alot on that list you could reduce, not least the organic chicken breast, buy thighs instead. I kind of agree about the animal welfare, but you could just buy less meat in the week and plan some vegan or vegetarian meals.
one thing i have found reduces the bill, is just not buying any out of season or imported fruit and veg. Also the cleaning stuff, you can use cheap thin bleach for alot of things, like the loo and the kitchen floor.
Things like fresh tuna and ham from the bone are luxuries and not essential.
fresh herbs are nice, but just get one instead of three, say.
things like kids organic yogurts could go too, just get one big pot.
ready made pastry is a rip, as are ready made pizzas.
spending a tenner on catfood....hmm....spoilt kitty!
make apple and blackberry crumble, blackberries from the hedgerow (unless you live in central london of course)
I really wouldnt bother with organic butter, cheese, etc.

dementedma Sun 26-Aug-12 22:44:37

Favorite cheap meal here is spaghetti mozzarella bake. By own brand slag and mozzarella from Aldi.
Cook spaghetti. While this is cooking, chop and fry one onion,tip on a tin of toms or jar of pasta sauce.drain spag and mix in with pasta sauce. Tear up two mozzarella balls.put one layer of spag in an oven proof dish,dot with mozzarella,repeat. Bung in oven and then serve. You can tart this up with bacon bits,mushrooms,sweetcron etc but our dcs love it as it is and it feeds 4 to 6

dementedma Sun 26-Aug-12 22:45:25

Own brand slag . Roflmao

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 26-Aug-12 22:46:51

I've used value cleaning products with no problems, if you clean every day why would you need strong detergants? I use sp toilet cleaner but I've switched to astonish for the cleaners from the pound shop because I like the orange oil cleaner.

I've looked at your list and had the following thoughts.

Pastry can be made with trex and smartprice plain flour, I make mine in a food processer using chilled water and I quickly pulse the fat and flour before spooning the water in. It takes seconds. You could make batches weighing 500g or whatever the quanity is that you usually buy it in and freeze it. It freezes really well, I even freeze offcuts and save it all for mince pies.

Squash isnt really needed, it's nice but it's not essential.
Same for fizzy drinks too, bone stripping and chemical laden.

A breadmaker would save you money, you could make dough for bread rolls or pizza bases. Much cheaper than shop bought pizza and nicer.

Wraps can be made, there was a recipe on here ages ago from the allrecipes site and it was very easy and cheap. Again things like this freeze well.

Herbs can be grown so easily, I used to grow them in a small strawberry planter on the windowsill.

If the cat wont change food (and I know about cats and their food refusal they make toddlers look easy) could you source it cheaper off the internet?

The organic yoghurt, do sainsburys not do an own brand version? you can get yoghurt making kits too. Lakeland do them but are really pricey ime so again the internet is your friend.

I would imagine the asian supermarkets do rice cheaper in big sacks than aldi or sainsburys do.

Apple crumble is a cheaper pudding than cheese cake and is easy to make and freeze ahead.

I dont buy joints of beef unless it is marked down, I buy big sirloin joints for £5 from morrisons. Mince based dishes are cheaper eg cottage pie, chile.

I would ring around a few local butchers and see if they are cheaper on orgainc meat/chicken than the supermarkets are per kilo.

I would try sainsburys basic cake mix for making cakes, it's very cheap and you can bake a cake while something else is in the oven too. You could do it as fairy cakes or as a round cake.

For fruit I would buy bananas, apples and oranges with whatever fruit aldi have on super six for variation or tinned fruit in juice from sains basic range. I wouldnt get strawberries when I'm trying to get the bill down.

Have you tried the local markets for fruit and veg? farm shops can be very cheap for potatoes but the crops not great this year so prices can be expected to rise eg last year 2.5kg of wilja were 70p, now their 90p at my farm shop.

But you know how much time you've got to shop around and batch bake/cook.

oreocrumbs Sun 26-Aug-12 23:36:58

Another mumsnetter shared this site a while ago and there loads of ideas on here.

Also if you have the time, and some space in the freezer, find out what time they slash the prices before they shut at your local supermarket and get your joints of meat then. It happens at a set time, and you can get loaves of bread for 10p and such, and the joints of meat are only a couple of pounds. Often it is organic as a lot of people have switched back to non organic now and that is what gets left.

When you feed the 7 on a sunday does it HAVE to be a sunday dinner? Could you make a large pot of casserole/stew instead. Or a big lasagne, shepherds pie - something based on a cheap cut that you can pad out with veg (will also make like easier wink ).

Baby wipes are fine for cleaning the sofa. You wipe your baby's skin with it - what harm could it do to a treated cow hide?

Go easy on the cleaning products. Aldi do their own version of ariel actilift washing powder, £2.99 for the 30 wash box of powder and its great.

You can clean pretty much most things in your house with washing up liquid. A bowl of hot soapy water is fine. Add a splash of bleach to tghe bowl if you want to make it a disinfectant. You don't need flash spray, air freshener, floor cleaner etc.

Buy the fruit and veg that aldi have on the offer, even if it is not what you planned.

Do you have a home bargains/B&M type shop, they often have things in tins and jars at very good prices.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 26-Aug-12 23:47:03

You can use green lentils to pad mince dishes out. Red ones are better for soups or thickening stews.

Cut out the squash +fizzy drinks ! Water or milk or dilute juice is ok.
Aldi chicken pieces are great for roast/ casserole.

tryingmybest2012 Mon 27-Aug-12 07:16:06

Wow - some great ideas.

I especially think doing something different on a Sunday such as a cottage pie would really cut costs down, and the desert ideas are great, thanks smile

Only suggestion I can't do it the 2 bottles of fizzy drinks, they are not for me but the guests on Sunday, I only buy them from Aldi (39p each) and it is cheaper than wine for them. I'm not sure they would be happy if I gave them tap water. Although I guess I could ask them to bring a bottle!

I think I can make a good start on planning next weeks menu from here, thanks guys!!

I will let you know how I get on! smile

Falafel is cheap to make:
Tin of chickpeas, cooked and drained
Lemon juice
Spoon of plain flour

Blend it up, roll into balls, fry or bake until brown.

You can use rice (cooked in stock) instead of chickpeas to save more money.

Sunny rice:
Boil two eggs
Cook rice with a stock cube and some turmeric, add frozen sweetcorn for the last 3 minutes cooking time.
Chop the eggs in and serve.

To save money on your shopping, but fruit and veg at a market or greengrocers, try to get it in season.
Buy meat at a butchers, it saves on packaging and you can see it being prepared. Get bacon trimmings instead of rashers, it's much cheaper, likewise with whole chicken (I can get a large chicken at my butcher for the price of 3 chicken breasts).
You can make your own cheesecake for less than buying two (and it'll be healthier):
Plain flour
Crumble together to make the base, press together at the base of a tin and leave to set.
Tub of value soft cheese
Vanilla essence
Value Plain yoghurt
Icing sugar
Lemon juice

Mix it all together until it looks gooey and tastes like cheesecake, pour it on and leave it to set in the fridge.

Takver Mon 27-Aug-12 08:42:37

2 large cartons of fresh orange juice from Aldi
12 mini cartons of apple juice from Aldi
2 bottles of apple/blackcurrant cordial from Sainsburys

I'd drop the juice and have it as a treat only - its a very recent thing having juice for 'everyday'. I'd keep the squash but again only for sometimes not regularly

Strawberrys from Aldi
I'd stick with apples/bananas for everyday and soft fruit only if its PYO or similar in season

Stir fry veg from Aldi
I'd expect (unless you're cooking for one) that it would be much cheaper to buy veg individually & make your own stir fry

2 packs organic chicken breasts from Sainsburys
pack of organic bacon from sainsburys
pack of organic sauasages from sainsburys
Fresh Tuna from Sainsburys
Organic steak mince from Sainsburys

I think you'll struggle to get your bill down massively without reducing the amount of meat that you're buying especially if you want to have organic (which I absolutely agree with - but we only eat meat once or twice a week). If you've got freezer space it is worth checking out if you can bulk buy direct from a farmer as that can be much cheaper - and if you've met the farmer you maybe happy to buy not organic registered but knowing that it is not factory farmed IYKWIM.

Agree with InMySpareTime's comments above about veg in season, etc.

OP your shopping list includes a lot of what I'd class as 'treats' - here are my thoughts:

Weatabix and Meusli from Aldi - value weetabix is fine, don't shop at Aldi so not sure of prices but I'm sure it'll come in at under £1. You can make your own muesli - value oat and sultanas plus any fresh fruit you've got that day
8 pints of Organic milk from Sainsbury - why organic? This is pumping your prices up massively. You say because of your beliefs in animal welfare but I'm pretty sure organic means without chemicals rather than any better treatment for the animals. There was a thread on here recently about the amount you need to pay for milk to ensure farmers get enough but I don't think organic will make much of a difference personally
2 large cartons of fresh orange juice from Aldi - long life juice is much cheaper (check its juice and not juice drink) but I think you can live without this or get it less often
12 mini cartons of apple juice from Aldi - see above
2 bottles of apple/blackcurrant cordial from Sainsburys - do without or buy value squash - about 80p
3 loves of bread from Aldi - value
2 packs of organic butter from Sainsbury - switch to own brand (non organic)
2 bags of apples from aldi - check local market/greengrocers - will probably be cheaper
Bananahs from Aldi - as above
Strawberrys from Aldi - buy every fortnight as a treat
Homebake rolls x2 packs from Aldi - get value, these are 45p in morrisons
5 slices of fresh ham from the counter in Sainsburys - switch to pre packed
Lettuce x3, Cucumber x2, tomatoes x3, pack of peppers x2 from Aldi - try greengrocers
Pack of cakes from Aldi - make your own or buy less often
Joint of beef or a Whole Chicken from Aldi - ahh I don't know, ask a meat-eater!
New potatoes from Aldi - these are probably quite cheap but look for value
Celery from Aldi - greengrocers
Cheese cake x2 from Aldi - I agree with pp, make a crumble or ask a family member to contribute a dessert, or go without!
2 bottles of fizzy drink from Aldi - make a treat or buy value. Or you could mix value squash with value fizzy water, it's 17p in morrisons!
Various wraps, pitta bread etc from Aldi - check value range, there's often no difference in taste
Organic Cheese x 2 from Sainsburys - see milk above
Yeo Valley Yoghurt pots x 2 from Sainsbury - switch brands or make a treat
Kids organic yoghurts from Sainsburys - switch to a big tub of plain yogurt and add fruit or honey, I guarantee they're full of sugar anyway!
Free range eggs x 2 packs from Aldi - look for mixed size value box
Tin tuna from Sainsburys - go down a brand
Bake beans from Aldi - see above
Tin spagehetti from Aldi - see above
Fishfingers from Aldi - probably not worse scrimping on, the cheap ones are crap!
Peas from Aldi - as above
2 packs organic chicken breasts from Sainsburys - as beef
pack of organic bacon from sainsburys - as beef
pack of organic sauasages from sainsburys - as beef
Pasta from Aldi - get a 3kg bag, tesco and Asda do these for about £3 and they last ages
Fresh herbs from Sainsburys - grow your own or make do with dried
£10s worth of cat foor from Sainsburys (my cat wont eat the aldi one or anything apart from premium ones how ever long I leave it there!) - ditch the cat. Only joking, your cat will eat what it's given if it's hungry (or catch its own) I am an animal lover but I loathe fussiness
Crisps from Aldi - go down a brand
Pastry from Aldi - make your own or cheat with a packet mix, much cheaper than ready made
Cream from Aldi - see cheesecake above
Frozen fish from Aldi - try fish counter
Fresh Tuna from Sainsburys - check aldi
Couscous from Sainsburys - buy in bulk
Value vegetable stock cubes - yay value!
Stir fry veg from Aldi - source from greengrocers and not in a ready made pack
Rice from Aldi - buy in bulk
Organic steak mince from Sainsburys - see beef
Tin tomatoes from Aldi - value
Onions from Aldi - gg
OXO beef stock cubes - value
Frozen pizza from Aldi - make your own or do your own toppings on a cheap base
Pesto from Aldi - value (60p i morrisons) or make your own with cashew nuts and spinach
Chips from Aldi - value
Bleach, toilet cleaner, floor cleaner wash poweder, fabric conditinor, bin bags, toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, baby wipes x4, pull ups, sofa wipes (about every 2 weeks for the cleaning products) - use toilet cleaner only, use hot water with a bit of value washing up liquid to clean the floor, value baby wipes are about 50p,I use them for everything! Get washing powder on offer (I got a 2kg box of surf for about £3,it says 25 washes but I swear its done at least twice that and is still half full) fabric conditioner is a waste of time and money IMO

I am desperate to cut my food bill down from £80 a week to £40 a week, at the moment I am over budget by about £40 a week which is not good! - I don't honestly think you can cut this in half if you have to have organic everything, you pander to your fussy cat (sorry mog), must eat so much meat and insist on feeding 7 and paying for a full roast every week. But if you're willing to cut a few corners, ask for a contribution to dinner, go down a brand on a few things and make do with some things every couple of weeks I think you can easily cut it by £20 a week.

I will hunt some recipes out for you and be back!

CumberdickBendybatch Mon 27-Aug-12 08:48:44

Probably been said, but get your meat from the butcher - it may well be cheaper!

Tuna steaks with chilli & olives
you need tuna steaks (obviously)
olive oil
3 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
zest and juice of a lemon
half tsp salt
15 black olives pitted and sliced
1 long red chilli (optional)

cook tuna according to pack instructions

pour olive oil over the top, add garlic, chilli flakes, oregano, lemon zest and juice

You can return to the oven or under the grill for a bit if you want. Serve with jacket potatoes or green veg.

Does it have to sunday lunch at your house can it be split between the different household so you all share the cost.

If not can those people coming either bring a dish or give you some money towards the cost. I for one would not dream of going to a relative house for lunch every weekend and not contribute.

You really shouldn't have to look for budget meals in the week so you can feed you relatives at the weekend.

CelticOlympian Mon 27-Aug-12 09:12:27

Sainsbury's basics fish fingers are only 60p a pack, they're only cheap because they're made from pollock and they're MSC certified.

ValiumQueen Mon 27-Aug-12 09:19:08

demented own brand slag! That nearly brought on labour! My 2yo was rolling on the floor with laughter watching me choking and spluttering and holding my bump! grin

Scootergrrrl Mon 27-Aug-12 09:27:45

Microwave treacle sponge is dead cheap and easy to make and rather yummy - plus stodge fills you up for longer! Just make a sponge mix to feed however many people. For seven people, I'd suggest maybe three eggs and 6 oz each of SR flour, butter or margerine and caster sugar (if you want a bigger one, increase the measurements of other ingredients by 2oz for every extra egg). Dollop a good layer of treacle into the bottom of a microwavable dish, then cover with cling film (pop a few holes in so it doesn't explode!) then microwave on high until the sponge is cooked through. The dangerous thing about this recipe is that you can make it with one egg (so 2oz each of the other ingredients), divide it between two mugs and you can have treacle pud every night!

ValiumQueen Mon 27-Aug-12 09:29:32

I am amazed your family eat at yours every week on a Sunday without contributing something, unless they travel a long way and thus spend on petrol to save you doing the same.

I am very impressed by the effort folk have gone to on this thread to help cut your bill down. Makes me very proud to be a part of MN.

How about getting a bacon joint and making a meal around it, and saving a few slices of the ham for sandwiches etc.

Do a shop at approved foods and get enough couscous, rice, sauces etc of a good six months with very little outlay.

Eggrules Mon 27-Aug-12 09:43:59

Cleaning products - I have started to use Tesco cream cleaner (Jif/Cif) which is 35p. It is amazing, on everything but especially in the bathroom and on stainless steel. I shine with a micro/e-cloth. For the floors I use water and bleach in a spray bottle.

Sunday dinner - If I was going to Sunday lunch every week, I would take dessert and drinks with me.

Drinks - Own brand apple and blackcurrant is 29p. Buy apple juice and decant into a bottle.

Buy peppers to make stir fry, mexican etc.

Cooking in bulk will save you loads:

Spaghetti /chili/bake
I grate garlic, onion, carrots and celery and fry with lean mince. I add passata (2 x 29p), oregano, sugar, seasoning, tomato puree and cook slowly for ages. I portion and put in the freezer. To make chili I fry more onion and green pepper and add to defrosted mix with paprika, chilli and kidney beans. I bake either one with sliced potatoes on top.

Soups and curries are also great.

lurkingaround Mon 27-Aug-12 10:05:35

Like others have commented above, I really think you will have trouble reducing your bill with the amount of organic meat/chicken/milk /butter you buy.
Would you consider investing in a deep-freeze, and buy only on offer meat, or get to know a farm and buy half a butchered animal to freeze?
Your animal welfare stance is admirable, but would you consider free-range? I can no longer buy organic, but I do try and buy free range, budget allowing.

cashmere Mon 27-Aug-12 10:38:04

I find gammon and pork joints to be a cheap way of eating meat. Especially if you plan several meals from one joint and then are tight with the portions!

Gammon joint (soaked to reduce salt in stock, then boiled. I then finish in the oven)
Night one- gammon, eggs, homemade wedges, beans/peas
Night two- pea and gammon pasta in a creamy sauce. Sauce may be from Boursin, cream and garlic, a White sauce with garlic, or garlic and onion dip (next to houmous, usually £1 often on special at 50p and surprisingly yummy
Night 3- special fried rice with gammon pieces, soy sauce and sesame oil (and eggs, onion, peas, peppers...whatever needs using)
Night 4- gammon soup using tiny leftover pieces and carrot, celery and onions. Add lentils or to make more stew like chickpeas are yummy. Serve with 'value' part baked baguettes which are v cheap.

Pork joint
Either roast or do in slow cooker if you want stock. I add apple juice and fennel seeds to flavour stock.
Night one- pork (again rationed!), sage and onion stuffing, frozen yorkshires, potatoes, ++ veg
Cut rest of pork into large cubes- add to the following dishes near end of cooking so don't disintegrate.
Night two- pork and bean casserole (tinned toms, various beans, onions, carrot, celery, garlic. Chorizo if lurking in fridge.Herbs- maybe
oregano and bay leave). Serve with cous cous, spuds, garlic bread or bread.
Night three- either pork with root veg apples cider/apple juice and
thyme as a casserole. With spuds/baguette OR
In a creamy sauce with onions, mushrooms, garlic and tarragon served with rice.
Night four- if used slow cooker use pork stock to make a Chinese noodle soup with whatever veg you have lurking. Add garlic, ginger, chilli, star anise, soy (again varies)

Then you just need a couple cheap meals per week.
This might be pasta or tortellini with tinned tom sauce
Beans on toast with poached eggs and cheese
Mushroom risotto
Baked potatoes
Veg curry
Macaroni cheese etc

I also eat this way with chicken (won't type any more but sure you get idea- 3 meals then soup!) A large free range chicken is £6.

Beef and Lamb joints tend to be more pricey, so I keep an eye out for reduced joints to freeze or special offers.

If you have a big enough freezer and can look out for special offers.

This week I bought a whole salmon from Asda for £7.50. Which by the time I had boned and filleted I manage to get 6 portions. I have been spending nearly £5 for 2 pieces.

I also have a meat slicer so I buy gammon, beef and pork joints which I cook and slice for sandwich/lunch and quick dinners.

CelticOlympian Mon 27-Aug-12 11:34:24

Cooking and slicing a gammon joint works out cheaper than buying free rangeham fromthe deli counter.

whatinthewhatnow Mon 27-Aug-12 12:08:18

tomato and veg pasta:

peel and chop onion, garlic if you want, and corgette. fry in oil until soft. add tin value tomato sauce and a bit of tom puree and whatever other veg you've got, except mushrooms. add whatever seasoning you like, I just wallop in some dry basil and oregano. allow to simmer for a while, then whizz up in the blender. serve with pasta, homemade garlic bread and salad. I make a load and freeze it, then there's a quick easy meal ready to go whenever. it's also a great way of getting some veg into my kids.

french bread pizzas or pitta pizzas. drizzle with a bit of oil, put tomato puree on thinly, top with whatever you've got then some cheese. grill.

I used to buy organic meat, and do still if it's on offer, but otherwise it's freedom food or if that's not available then free range. chicken breast is sooooo expensive! try and get into the habit of buying larger cuts and butchering it yourself.

Use eggs more! omelette, pancakes, spanish omelette, a big salad with hard boiled eggs, new potatoes, mozarella (get value), sweetcorn, carrots, french bread.

jacket potatoes are a great meal, and stuff on toast is underrated imo - scrambled eggs and cheese, beans, mushroom and tomato. or tuna sweethcorn mayo (all value) with sliced cucumber in a toast sandwich.

pasta and cheese sauce. make a roux with butter flour and milk, add cheese, some squashed brocolli. if you're tired or hate making roux then use creme fraiche and cheese, melt slowly in a bowl over the cooking pasta. easy mcpeasy.

go to the supermarket in the evening or sunday afternoon and get the stuff that's on offer that's about to go out of date, then freeze it straight away and eat it whenever. This is probably not recommended in terms of sell by dates but I've been doing it forever and we're all still breathing.

I don't go to aldi as there isn't one near us, so I don't know how cheap it is compared to value ranges. I find sainsbury's basics and tesco value absolutely fine for almost everything, except meat.

Don't buy crisps and treats. I just don't have that kind of stuff in the house and we don't miss it. You could make cheese straws or similar for snacks if you want. We quite often have bread and butter as a snack, which sounds a bit WWII but it works for us. If it's not in the house you can't eat it, and they're so full of crap. Make your own cakes or muffins - value flour and butter are fine for general cooking. you can put fruit in that's going off, ie bananas, apples to minimise waste.

Counter ham - really? it's so pricey! either buy packet ham or don't buy it at all. switch to cheese or cook your own cheap meat and use it. It's much cheaper to buy a ham, slow cook it and then slice that up.

Organic yoghurt seems an indulgence to me. just get supermarket own or even basics. we get basics fromage frais for the kids for a pudding, it's not got more sugar than the more expensive one, and only a little bit less fruit.

Sunday lunch: It's lovely that you have a big family lunch every week but I can imagine it's expensive! If you can't just tell them you're broke and can't afford to feed them every week, or don't want to, then how about:
cottage pie
a roast chicken or even cheaper a slow cooked gammon but with sainsbury's basics onion chutney, basics mayo, basics coleslaw, basics pot salad (you get the idea) and basics baguettes - the part baked ones are great and about 40p for 2 I think, a big salad to fill them up made with value peppers, onions and lettuce and mozarella.
huge pasta dish (value salmon? i think sainsbury's is fairly ethical but cheap) and salad, garlic bread made with cheap part baked baguettes.
Home made pud (LOVE the sponge pudding recipe above!) Value fizzy drinks.

Buy value floor cleaner, it's fine, I use it. Or just get a big bottle of cheap bleach and use that for floors, toilets, surfaces, diluted as necessary. Or just washing up liquid (ditto value is absolutely fine), although I found this left the floor a bit sticky!

Buy value baby wipes - asda smart price are great, as are asda pull up nappies, much better than pampers and about £3 for 20 I think. Again I've heard aldi ones are good and cheap but I don't know about aldi.

sofa wipes? I don't know what these are, but I use baby wipes to get smoosh off our leather sofas and they're ok, although they are very old so I'm not too bothered about caring too much for them.

Fresh herbs are a real luxury! Either grow your own or use dried. I always use dried and they are absolutely fine.

You seem to use a lot of things for 'every day' that I would save for 'best'. ie nice meat, tuna steaks, fresh fruit juice. Try and get into the habit of eating more basic food day to day and then once a week having something posher.

fabric conditioner is a waste of money.

you could just try switching down. buy everything 1 level cheaper than you do now, ie switch from branded to supermarket own, or from supermarket own to value. you probably won't notice the difference.

To be honest you could solve a lot of your problems by changing your meat eating habits.

sorry I've gone on so much. good luck!

stressedHEmum Tue 28-Aug-12 15:19:00

Last nights tea, quick, cheap and easy.

Butter 12 slices of bread and make 6 cheese sandwiches, butter side out. Cut into triangles and put i a greased baking dish, you need quite a big one, mine is 11 by 8, I think. Beat 6 eggs into 1ltre of milk, add salt, pepper and some mustard. Pour over bread and leave to soak for about half an hour. Sprinkle top with grated cheese and bake at 180 for 30-40 minutes or so until egg is set and puffed. Serve with green veg. Serves 6.

tonight's tea -

3lbs of potatoes, diced. 1 head of cabbage, shredded
2 onions, chopped, salt, pepper, curry powder to taste.

Par boil potatoes. Meanwhile, fry onions in a good bit of oil until soft. Add cabbage and stir around until cabbage is coated with oil. Add curry powder and cook, stirring until cabbage is wilted. Add potatoes, season well and cook, stirring all the time, until everything is cooked. You can add some chopped tomatoes with the potatoes if you like. Serve with either bread and butter or flatbreads. Serves 4 -6 depending on age etc.

danebury Thu 30-Aug-12 09:56:43

Lots of advice to make your own pastry - make our own cakes too! We always have homemade cakes and bread in the go and I never begrudge anyone gorging on them. After a while, when you eat shop bought cakes they'll taste stodgy and full of preservatives. Once you've mastered pastry you can make tiny little pasties (my son loves doing this) and jam tarts.

I've been collecting loads of blackberries on my recent dog walks and made a gorgeous sorbet for dinner with friends on Saturday - it tastes amazing.

Upside down puddings, crumbles - all really easy and cheap puddings.

And, like everyone else says, ditch the organic. Whatever your beliefs are, if you want to cut costs then you may have to shelve them for a while!

Do you have a slow cooker? Amazing for makin stews etc and a big pot of tomato sauce to dip into during the week.

BelinaTheChicken Fri 31-Aug-12 08:56:44

Lentil and tomato soup

500g lentils
tablespoon oil
tin of tomatoes
couple of carrots
onion (or leek, or celery, whatever needs using up)

Brown the onion in the oil, then add grated carrot and lentils and saute for about 5 mins. Add stock and sufficient water to cover lentils with about 2 inches above. Simmer for around 45mins (keep stirring, and checking if you need to add water). It's done when you can squish a lentil to paste between your fingers. Add the tinned tomatoes and cook for another couple of minutes. Blend and serve. No idea how many portions this makes, but it's lots (depending how thick you like it, the DC have it thicker so it sticks easily to the spoon). Freezes really well, and really filling. Can do the same soup with split peas, just leave out tomato and cook for longer (and soak peas over night)

tryingmybest2012 Sun 02-Sep-12 18:24:56

I did my weekly shop today and got it down to £62!! I am pleased and think I can keep shaving a bit more off it each week as I cut down more each time and find new ways to save. I am not sure I will manage to get it down to £40 but I will keep trying!! Although am happy with the roughly £18 saving this week.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 02-Sep-12 19:10:08

Well done, what did you economise on? <gets notebook out>

tryingmybest2012 Sun 02-Sep-12 23:03:15

Meat!! The only meat I bought this week were 2 packs of RSPCA Freedom Food ham. Next week I will try and make some more changes on other items.

AdoraBell Mon 03-Sep-12 03:23:45

Well done on cutting your costs so much. I can't add to the very good ideas already given, but could you lower the expectations of your weekend guests? The Shepherd's pie is a good idea, maybe the next week a pasta bake and basic fruit salad or yoghurts, then jacket spuds with baked beans. Obviously I don't know why you feed everyone every weekend, but if it's draining your resources then adjust and give them normal food rather than a full on 3 course meal.

We had the lentil and tomato soup last night with a swirl of pesto and brown bread, it was really nice, even my fussy DS proclaimed how good it was. smile

woahwoah Wed 05-Sep-12 20:56:28

Cheap but impressive banoffee flan for pud.

You need one large sponge flan case (Morrison's are cheapest I've found), spread with one tin of Carnation caramel stuff (it's amazing and you don't have to boil the tin for hours!), top with 2 sliced bananas and a small pot of whipped cream. Feeds 8 easily.

Eggrules Thu 06-Sep-12 22:24:20

I love those flan bases and always have. I usually do mine with veggie jelly and strawberries or peaches. This banoffee flan sounds great, especially for when we have loads of guests.

mummatotwo Sat 08-Sep-12 08:34:24

I had my first "Aldi" experience last week. I spent £41 for 2 adults 1 DS. That included pack up stuff but no toileteries/laundary stuff.

Im hooked!! I worked it out that this would of cost around £70 or so in other supermarkets.

I have always turned my nose up at Aldi but I tell you one thing its brilliant, good quality food and I quite enjoyed th fact it was small and I was in and out within 20 mins - normally takes well over an hour smile

KateSpade Sun 09-Sep-12 11:03:32

Im a lone student next year, this year i have been living with parents all meals sorted.

I have budgeted £25.00 per week for myself. Just for food.

This is what i think i am going to do:

Farmfoods frozen chicken (I think a bag was around £5.00's) I'd have to buy fresh and freeze it for myself anyway.

Frozen veg - same as chicken, it'd go off

Pound shop have some great sauce's 2 for £1.00 couscous same great for taking in a packed lunch. 6 WW points per portion, but cheap and yummy.

I'm not too fond of bread or milk, so have no problems buying own brand of either.

& I will probably buy packet Rizotto, which is expensive but i love it. & quicker than cooking.

Any other hints ladies? Great thread!

Showtime Sun 09-Sep-12 11:10:32

If you can find time to fit it in, making bread/rolls/pizza bases would be worthwhile, particularly if selling them casually to friends/party-throwers.

KateSpade Sun 09-Sep-12 11:23:17

I don't really like bread, so it would be lost on me. But selling them is a good idea. Or taking them back to my mum, she'd be impressed!

HarlotOTara Sun 09-Sep-12 12:21:19

This recipe is much tastier than it sounds - I got it from an Italian cook book -
Boil spaghetti as normal (approx 8 mins) - however much you normally eat.
Cut up a broccoli head into small florets and add to water for four mins.
Drain and add garlic infused olive oil - not a lot and then serve grating parmesan and black pepper over the top
You can use cauliflower or a mixture of the two

higgle Wed 10-Oct-12 16:33:26

Pasta bake with lentils and mushrooms

Ingredients: a few mushrooms, 3 oz red lentils, an onion, tin of tomatoes + dribble of puree, dried herbs. 2-3oz of penne pasta per person. Grated cheese ( optional)

Boil lentils in water until soft. Cook pasta.
Make a tomato sauce with onions, tinned tomato and puree, add the mushrooms and herbs. Make the sauce quite runny as the lentils will still soak up some fluid. Mix together and then bake in over for 20-30 minutes with cheese on top if using. Very filling and comforting.

fussychica Sun 14-Oct-12 16:50:59

You could try letting your dinner menu for the week be dictated by what is on offer & what's reduced rather than buying the same thing every week. At my DSs uni they only have a Morrisons and they say whatever is on offer there is what most students will be eating that week - how true it is I don't know but DS lives on pasta, chicken, sausages and has had to become very inventive - cooking up casseroles and other meals without spending very much.

Personally I'm a supermarket whore and go wherever the best prices are but I do have the luxury of time to do this and have the choice of several supermarkets on the doorstep.

stressedHEmum Wed 17-Oct-12 12:16:14

I have another cheapy recipe that I made the other night. it's much liked in here.

Chop 2lbs of onions and set o fry in a mix of butter and oil over a medium heat. After about 20mins, season with salt, pepper, a sprinkle of sugar and 1tspn of cumin. Cook in for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle over 1tblspn flour and 1tblspn mild curry powder, stir in and cook for a couple of minutes. Gradually add 1 pint of milk, stirring all the time. Gradually bring to the boil, stirring all the time, then reduce heat and simmer for about 25-30mins until it is a kind of creamy sauce. Meanwhile cook 2 cups of rice in 4 cups of water, add 6 eggs for the last 10 minutes. When the rice is done. remove the eggs, stir the rice, cover and set aside. Run the eggs under the cold tap until they are cool enough to handle. Peel the eggs and chop into quarters. Serve the rice onto plates, top with the egg quarters and spoon over the sauce. If you have it, you can sprinkle some chopped coriander or parsley over the top for a bit of colour. Serves 4, costs between 60p and 70p per head.

Can I ask a question? I've just made scones as a cheap alternative for dds packed lunch. How long will they stay fresh.

Pootles2010 Wed 17-Oct-12 12:46:13

I would suggest looking at your cuts of meat - chicken breasts are absurdly expensive, you'd be better using thighs, you can get them boned/skinned now, or alternatively use drumsticks etc with bone in, with something like honey & mustard and roasted. Also you can get some lovely cheap beef cuts - I really like shin of beef for stews, its much cheaper (I can even afford it in Waitrose, and don't get any other meat from there, ever), and so nice.

Have you tried going to supermarket 20 mins before closing? They often reduce a lot of stuff, especially bread thats been baked in store. Make sure you've a bit of space in your freezer, then you can just squirrel it away. I think most things in my freezer are either home made or have a yellow sticker grin

midseasonsale Wed 24-Oct-12 06:39:38

best to buy a whole ham on offer and cook it them slice thinly for sandwiches. Can be frozen and taken out when needed.

midseasonsale Wed 24-Oct-12 06:40:23

Tescos after 8pm is a winner for us. Lots of reductions.

butterfingerz Thu 25-Oct-12 00:01:01

Fried rice, I always do it with leftover rice from the previous day. Add whatever you like - frozen peas/sweetcorn, egg, shredded meat, a cheapo bag of stirfry veg. Add some seasoning like soy sauce, chilli, etc. Takes 5 mins, nutritious, filling and is really really nice... I can verify that my small fussy children love it too.

A pan of scouse - potatoes, swede, carrot, onion, meat and one too many oxo cubes! Serve with pickled red cabbage/beetroot and a crusty cob! I lob a few dumplings into mine which is not traditional but I love a good dumpling.

Corned beef hash - corned beef, cooked potato and onion roughly chopped and fried all together. Serve with a fried egg on top and brown sauce.

Helenagrace Sun 28-Oct-12 13:35:24

200g of the cheap deli meat in Morrisons (the ends of slicing joints etc £1.18 for 200g) thrown in the slow cooker with any veg (root veg, lightly fried onion, frozen peas, frozen peppers, mushrooms etc.) and some stock. Canned lentils and beans work too. Cook for a couple of hours. Throw in some handfuls of pasta an hour before you want to eat it and add more stock if needed. I make a loaf of bread and serve it with that but you could use cheap part baked loaves.

It also works with the ends of roasts. A little meat goes a long way and it's very tasty. Sainsburys sell 100g packs of cooked ham hock at 2 for £2.50 which works as well.

PhylisStein Sun 11-Nov-12 10:16:45

So many great ideas here scribbles them down furiously before remembering I can print them off

Buddy80 Sun 11-Nov-12 12:01:46

Great thread smile

Chick pea curry. Tin of chick peas, onion, leftover veg, 1/4 of coconut block ( cheaper than a tin and can freeze the rest), table spoon of curry powder, tin of toms.

Pretty cheap, and makes so much.

Lamb ribs stew (About £1.50 in Morrisons would feed 3 if bulked out easily)

Ribs, carrots/veg of any kind/potatos , herbs/garlic/salt/pepper anything else you want

Cook for 3 hours , serve with bread and butter smile

Or even cheaper do this with a couple of chicken thighs.

Ambi Sun 11-Nov-12 15:30:42

Roast tomato & pepper with Gnocchi.

Chop some tomatoes with a red pepper and bake with some garlic cloves in a bit of oil. Blitz in a processor when blackened slightly and serve with gnocchi or pasta and some grated cheese.

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