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Budget meal planner help

(21 Posts)
crookmum Mon 14-Feb-11 14:40:25

Due to a money mix up I am really short of food shopping money till dh gets paid in 2 weeks.
Can you inspire me with cheap but nice meals please. We are a family of 5 - 2 adults and 3 children (7,5 and 2)
Thanks in advance

OP’s posts: |
Chil1234 Mon 14-Feb-11 14:57:21

My cheapo favourite for saving money are dried beans and chickpeas.... Soak and cook the whole pack according to the instructions and, from 500g dried beans costing about 75p, you get about 1200g cooked ones.... lots!!! Then you can make things like this

Chilli Non Carne (Veggie Mexican fave)
Serves 4-5

1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
Chilli powder to taste
Olive oil
2 cans chopped tomatoes
Diced vegetables (celery, courgette, carrot, mushroom)
1lb cooked kidney beans (can use canned and drained)

-Heat the olive oil and cook the onion and garlic until softened.
-Add the diced vegetables and allow to cook so that the flavours come out
- Stir in the chilli powder and season well
- Add the beans, bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender

Serve with some cooked rice, a little plain yoghurt and some chopped coriander if you're feeling flash!

Chorizo Chickpea Stew (Smoky sausage flavours and sweet red peppers...mmm!)
Serves 4 - 5

1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 red peppers, thinly sliced
8oz chorizo sausage, diced
1lb cooked chickpeas
2 cans chopped tomatoes

- Heat a little olive oil in a wide pan and add the chorizo pieces. Cook until the fat runs a little
- Add the onion and pepper and cook until softened
- Add the chickpeas and tomatoes. Season with black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender

Serve with cooked rice or noodles

Chil1234 Mon 14-Feb-11 15:03:15

Eggs are another great money-saver. Try this one-pan Spanish-style omelette or frittata

Serves 4 adults

1lb new potatoes, cooked and diced
8 large eggs, beaten
8 spring onions, chopped
4 tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped
Green chilli, seeds removed and chopped (optional)
Grated cheese

- Heat some oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Preheat your grill
- Get the cooked potatoes sizzling so that they colour a little
- Beat the eggs in a bowl and stir in all the chopped veggies and seasoning.
- Tip the browned potatoes into the mix, give it a quick stir and put it all back in the frying pan. Sprinkle plenty of grated cheese on top
- Take the frying pan off the hob once the edges of the frittata start to cook and put the whole thing under the grill.
- Cook until the omelette is set, risen and golden on top.

Serve in wedges with salad or peas!

ChestnutSoup Mon 14-Feb-11 15:04:35

If I'm being frugal I do a meat curry with rice and bulk it out by doing a daal and raita as well. Everyone seems to think of it as a special treat, and doesn't notice that it costs almost nothing to make!

Also roasted vegetable and halloumi bake seems to cost very little and tastes great.

It'd probably be easier to make suggestions if you said what you have...

ChestnutSoup Mon 14-Feb-11 15:11:33

Soups are good too - pea and ham, cullen skink, minestrone etc. All nutritious and cheap to make. Serve with crusty bread (or homemade soda bread if you're feeling fancy - also cheap to make).

crookmum Mon 14-Feb-11 15:52:05

It'd probably be easier to make suggestions if you said what you have...

Ive just made a list of what we goes....

In the fridge I have leeks, lettuce, baby tomatoes, tomato puree, soft cheese, eggs, garlic, chillies and a couple of peppers.

In the freezer I have green beans, brocolli/cauli, salmon, chips, prawns, pack of chicken breasts and a pack of mince meat.

In the cupboard I have spaghetti, pasta shapes, lasagne sheets, tin cannellini beans, 1 tin of baked beans, cocunut milk, corned beef, tin of tuna. I also have oxo cubes, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, onions and a variety of herbs and spices.

It looks loads when I write it down. Im not very good at menu planning, guess I will have to get better .

Thanks for all the ideas so far and thanks in advance for any more meal ideas

OP’s posts: |
Horton Mon 14-Feb-11 21:19:47

I agree, buy some dried pulses and lentils. You can also use them to pad out meat-based dishes such as bolognese sauce or make dal with them.

I use half mince, half little green/brown lentils for bolognese or lasagne. If you cook the pack of mince with lots of veg and lentils and tomatoes (and herbs, garlic etc), you can freeze half the sauce and have one half as chile/bolognese and the other as lasagne. Get a big bag of basics onions and whatever else is cheap - courgettes are sometimes really cheap and good to add flavour and bulk to a pasta sauce.

Could you afford some yellow split peas or chana dal (if you have an Indian shop nearby)? They are not expensive - a quid for a decent bag. Make dal by boiling the dal until soft (liquidise half if you like it smoother) and then fry a finely chopped onion until soft and brown and then add a couple of teaspoons of curry powder for a short while. Tip hot spicy oil into dal mixture and simmer for a bit. This is v filling and nutritious with rice and veg. And I bet you could make a lovely curry with your salmon and coconut milk and some cauli or broccoli.

Baked potatoes are cheap and nice with a tomato/garlic sauce. If you do a bolognese type thing with lentils, you could add a couple of rashers of bacon to the frying onions for flavour and have it on baked potatoes with grated cheese.

Buy a chicken or two, if you can. Roast it with lots of veg and potatoes. Save bones (can freeze) for stock and make risotto the next day (if there is any meat left, you can add that but with a good chicken stock vegetable risotto is really tasty). Or use the stock to make Chinese noodle soup (add a star anise if you have one, a slice or two of ginger and some garlic and simmer the stock for half an hour with the flavourings) and add chopped veg (lettuce is surprisingly good in noodle soup as long as you just add it at the end). You can whisk and egg into this too. Dried plain noodles are pretty cheap and they would be good to use for a stir fry too, if you have soy sauce etc.

Sandwiches are cheap. I'd be buying a couple of bags of cheap bread flour and some yeast. Your two year old will probably love this! And supermarkets will sometimes give you yeast cheap or free if you ask at the bakery bit.

If you have a market, go and get some of the cheap pound scoops of veg/fruit.

A bag or two of basics apples would be good and a bag of raisins - stuff cored apples with raisins/butter/sugar and bake till soft for a cheap pudding. Birds custard powder and milk are fairly cheap and custard with bananas would also be nice as a cheap pudding.

Bacon and potato pie is good and cheap.

Hope some of that helps a bit. Shout if you want me to post more detailed recipes.

SickOnMyShoulder Wed 16-Feb-11 21:17:34

My weekly meal planner would go something like this:
Sunday- veg and cheese omelets, baked beans and salad
Monday- Baked potatoes with cheese or tuna with veg sticks
Tuesday- hot mince dish- meatballs and couscous or spag bol or shephard's pie (all mince padded out with lentils/beans and grated veg)
Wednesday- chicken slow cooker (brown chicken) stew with lots of potatoes and winter veg and herbs
Thursday- pasta with homemade tomato sauce and cheese
Friday- chicken strirfry (white chicken) with loads of veg and noodles
Saturday- chicken soup meal- soup stock with any leftover chicken in and loads of veg and mini pasta and barley with garlic bread sticks.

BoffinMum Thu 17-Feb-11 15:23:52

These recipes all sound lovely.

If you want a bit more meat, I have posted a budget weekly meal planner here at Dinner fof the home. Matching shopping list also there, but would need a bit of pruning to save money as it's designed as a stock up shop for the first week of a four week cycle.

Alternatively check out the Cook Fest post for mice related recipes.

BoffinMum Thu 17-Feb-11 15:25:41

I am not suggesting you eat mice, OP blush PMSL. I've heard of wild food but it's not that bad (yet).

Let's try again.

Weekend Cook Fest for MINCE related recipes.

storminabuttercup Thu 17-Feb-11 15:38:31

corned beef hash how we do it (west yorks)

in a pan put few cubed spuds, sliced carrots, onions boil till slightly tender, add cubed corned beef and some beef gravy granuals and a squirt of brown sauce (i add red too) cook till gravy is thick. we have with yorkshires mmmm

mrspercival Thu 17-Feb-11 21:16:23

i saw on Sainsburys website they do a (marketing) menu of family meals for £20, think its a weeks meals; anyway it does use their basics range but I thought it was a good idea

BikeRunSki Thu 17-Feb-11 21:26:41

Look here too.

BoffinMum Thu 17-Feb-11 21:36:21

I think I road tested that site last year for a week and it was very good, although our grocery bill came to more than it suggested (I think we live in an area of high food cost, though).

SquigglePigs Thu 17-Feb-11 22:24:14

Risotto is good and filling. A pack of risotto rice (95p) would feed you all. Soften the leeks in butter, then toss in the risotto rice. Keep adding stock in batches until the rice won't absorb any more (20 mins ish). Near the end throw in frozen/tin of peas if you have them. Then flakes of salmon, left over chicken, anything like that to top up the protein levels.

Horton Fri 18-Feb-11 13:31:05

PMSL at mice based recipes! Yum!

Furball Fri 18-Feb-11 13:47:12

Here's a link to The saisnburys recipes 5 for £20 already mentioned

they look really tasty

SchadenfreudePersonified Sat 03-Feb-18 17:28:14


Lessstressedhemum Sat 03-Feb-18 23:23:31

Buy some onions, bread, butter, some cheese, a cheap bag of rice, 6 tins of tomatoes, a pack of cooking bacon, milk, a bag of apples, a bag of bananas, a bag of cheap porridge, jam, peanut butter, split peas, carrots.

Have porridge for breakfast or toast with either jam or peanut butter.
Make split pea soup with stock cubes, a couple of onions, a leek and a few grated carrots.
Make cauliflower, broccoli and bacon soup with some chopped bacon, the frozen veg, a couple of onions, a couple of potatoes, some garlic and stock cubes
Use the rest of the bacon with some green beans and the soft cheese to make Pasta,
Make Frittata with eggs, onion, salmon, potatoes, some grated cheese and garlic. Eat it with bread and butter and shredded lettuce.
Make curry with chicken, onions, coconut milk and any remaining green beans.
Make chilli with the mince, peppers, an onion, canelini beans, two tins of tomatoes, some puree and spices. Eat with sweet potato wedges.
Make Pasta sauce with two tins of tomatoes, an onion, garlic, herbs and a spoonful of sugar.
Mash the corned beef into a tin of tomatoes and use to fill sandwiches or Baked potatoes.
Mix the last tin of tomatoes with a fried onion and the Baked beans. Top with cheesy mashed potatoes for a kind of veggie shepherds pie.
Use the prawns, any bits of veg going spare and a couple of eggs to make fried rice.
Make wedges, mix tuna with some grated cheese and a chopped onion, add some mayo if you have any. Spread it over the wedges and return to rhe oven for ten minutes or so for a tuna wedge melt.
Use bread, peanut butter and mashed bananas or sliced apples to make sandwiches.
Sliced apples with a few cheese cubes makes a good snack for wee kids
Make Dahl with remaining split peas, onions and curry spices. Eat with rice. Any leftovers will thicken right up over night and can be spread on toast.

Lessstressedhemum Sat 03-Feb-18 23:24:54

Oops, sorry didn't realise this was an old threadblush

SchadenfreudePersonified Sun 04-Feb-18 16:20:00

Sorry Lessstressed My fault. I put a full stop on it so I could find it again afterwards. I never thought about the resurrection abilities of a small dot!

But I'm still pinching your ideas . . . . grin

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