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Give me your best £30pw meal plan please.

(17 Posts)
pinkandsparklytoo Wed 26-Feb-14 15:49:59

DH lost his job so this is our current budget for all meals. We don't tend to eat processed stuff apart from the occasional fish finger for the kids. We don't really eat lentils etc and DH is one of those that doesn't consider it a dinner unless there is meat included. DH also does not eat spicy food or soup. It has to feed 2 adults, a 6yo and a 3yo.

nickymanchester Wed 26-Feb-14 17:47:09

I don't know what this will come in at but here is my suggestion:-

For any chicken recipes below buy bone-in chicken thighs - they are the cheapest and tastiest.

toad in the hole - although don't know if you class sausages as ''process food''
sausage casserole
cottage pie/shepherds pie
Asda and Aldi do a huge 1kg lasagna that is dead cheap and really tasty
chicken pie
southern fried chicken
Sunday roast with chicken thighs

MilkRunningOutAgain Wed 26-Feb-14 19:28:35

A big Spanish omelette or frittata is good value, use up any meat you have left over
Jacket potatoes with beans, cheese and a bit of bacon
Corned beef hash with lots of veg
Sausages are a good idea, with mash or in a casserole, or make a massive family size sausage roll
Pollock is quite cheap, or trout, and both are tasty, can cover in breadcrumbs and fry
Macaroni cheese, add ham or a bit of bacon for meat lovers
Tuna pasta bake with a little less tuna than usual
Egg, beans and chips , with ham for DH if you must!

AdoraBell Wed 26-Feb-14 19:39:22

Stir fry with lots of veg and some chicken off the thighs suggested, agree they are the best part and also have more nutrition than the more expensive breast.

Or buy a whole chicken, roast, use leftovers in a pasta or rice dish and the scraps in a stew or casserol if DH doesn't do "soup"wink add potato, rice, pasta and crusty bread if poss.

I do a curry with frozen mixed veg and rice with or without chicken, stick the lot in the microwave and zap it for ten mins or so. If DH won't eat a curry then flavour it with a stock cube or herbs instead.

Sausages and or bacon can be chopped and dispersed in a pasta sauce, poss with tomato sauce. Or use chopped potatoes in place of pasta.

JuliaScurr Wed 26-Feb-14 19:40:04

offal if you like it, eg liver&bacon, chicken, mince, sausages, reduced stuff from supermarkets - time varies, but often 7pm-ish
these are pretty much always the cheap meat products
Aldi, Asda, Iceland, Lidl are the cheapest shops

teenagetantrums Wed 26-Feb-14 19:48:59

We eat lots of cheap pasta here, get the value bags from Tesco 20p. Last night we had leek, bacon and pasta bake that cost about £3 to make and feed myself and two teenagers, with loads left for today.

Spag boll pasta bake is also a favorite, just use a small amount of mince and lot of tin tomatoes and pasta.

Pasta and pesto is cheap, you can add chicken or ham if you want.

Jacket potatoes, with various fillings

My budget is about the same as yours, its not easy to do but can be done. I get all my veg and fruit from the market where its cheaper and but reduced food when I can.

CaterpillarCara Wed 26-Feb-14 21:02:52

Shame about the soups! Lots of cheap soups as starters here mean that everyone needs less of the (usually) more expensive main to fill up with. I can usually make a four-person recipe feed my very hungry husband twice - one dinner, next day lunch - plus the three of us as well.

In fact, my kids think we are "well posh" in their words as they had two starters tonight! Soup and then Hiyayakko (chilled tofu with soya sauce and spring onions). They didn't know it was all a cunning plan to use up leftovers and mean they didn't eat too much of their dinner share.

Sorry, that is not much help to you really. I think batch cooking is good though. And I find some of the three-for-£10 deals at Sainsburys very good. Have often got a roasting chicken, two salmon fillets and a tray of pork for £10 and that can turn into a lot of meals.

Do you like pancakes / fritters? I find things like oat pancakes and sweetcorn fritters are quite nice with a bit of salad, and must have a negligible cost to make.

Smoked mackerel is cheap and a good way to get your omega 3.

CaterpillarCara Wed 26-Feb-14 21:06:18

Oh, and make your own chilli con carne and burgers padded with loads of veggies, will go waaaaay further. (at least twice as far, possibly 3 x).

Chilli con carne - brown mince then add any / all of onions, tinned tomatoes, red kidney beans, butter beans, parsley, chopped carrots, chopped celery, chopped pepper, broccoli, mushrooms, etc

Burgers - pad mince out (any kind, whichever is cheapest) with eggs, breadcrumbs, grated celery, grated carrot, grated onion, grated apple, grated courgette

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 27-Feb-14 09:02:05

Is there a meat wholesalers near to you? Ours has a counter open for the public and is way cheaper than most supermarkets. The meat at most markets and at Lidl are often good too.

spilttheteaagain Thu 27-Feb-14 19:50:50

If you have a lidl nearby, then ours certainly has 500g packs of mince for £1 this weekend (half price offer) which might help you out? Lots of scope for bolognaise, lasagne, chilli (but not hot), cottage pie, hm meatballs, burgers.

My recent discovery is how far mince stretches if you lob in a good handful of porridge oats when browning the mince, and loads of finely grated carrots. The oats make the sauce really rich and creamy but totally break down and the carrots disappear too.

Have a look at Cheap family recipes and A girl called jack for meal inspiration. Also the Money saving expert old style forums have lots of posters who manage on exactly this sort of budget so you could either read old threads or post for help.

I think you will struggle to have a meat centric diet to be honest, but if you can get away with token amounts of smoked bacon/smoked fish (ie the highly flavoured meats) to "meat up" a meal you might have a bit more luck. eg a pea and onion risotto with a sprinkling of crispy fried bacon over the top/mixed through it, or the same but with some smoked mackerel flaked in.

Chop up meat, ie small dice chicken bits or cut sausages into 6 or 7 pieces so it looks like more and you can get away with less of the expensive ingredient.

Save all bones and brew them up for ages in a pan of boiling water with any herbs/veg peelings & ends/dash L&P if available and you will have a rich lovely stock that will add a lot of body and flavour and "meaty feel" to meals. I do this, then simply cube and fry any of onion, carrot, swede, leek, parsnip, celery and once they are golden, pour the stock over, put a lid on and simmer til the veg are nearly done, add a pile of shredded savoy, simmer for another 5 mins, and serve. I usually also boil some pearl barley in the stock for half an hour first and that all goes in, so you get a very delicious barley and root veg stew, to have with fresh bread. If you have any leftover bits of meat from the bones then put it in. If I don't, I will often add a handful of dark lentils to the barley (the type that stay whole) for protein, but if that's not your thing, you could have a bit of cheese with the bread instead.

If you add a bit of english mustard to cheese sauces it brings out the flavour of the cheese and you can use a bit less.

I am having success making my own bread rolls with bog standard plain flour instead of bread flour - much cheaper. I will try a full loaf soon.

Lidl/Aldi/Iceland are cheap for eggs & milk - £1 for 4 pints, and £1 for 6 free range eggs, and cheaper battery eggs if free range is not affordable and you are willing to make that compromise.

I would stick to meat once a day and keep breakfasts and lunches veggie for costs sake. Beans/eggs/cheese on toast are fine lunches if you're at home. As are pitta pizzas, pasta with peas and cheesey sauce, veg omelettes, homemade pancakes, jacket spuds.

Homemade porridge is probably your cheapest breakfast bet, or the aforementioned beans/eggs on toast, or peanut butter on toast/sandwich

Frozen veg will save you a lot of money. I can vouch for peas, sweetcorn, broad beans, sprouts, spinach, green beans all being fine. Haven't tried frozen broccoli & cauliflower but I would think in a pastabake/cauli cheese etc they would be fine. Stick to the onions, carrots, cabbage, swede etc type cheap stuff for fresh. Similarly there is nothing wrong with apples & bananas and some tinned value peaches if that's all your budget runs to. Iceland currently selling big bags of 21 braeburns for £2 which is a BARGAIN.

Good luck.

nickymanchester Thu 27-Feb-14 20:23:18

My recent discovery is how far mince stretches if you lob in a good handful of porridge oats when browning the mince

Never thought about that before.

Think I'll go away and experiment

spilttheteaagain Thu 27-Feb-14 21:00:52

Just keep an eye on liquid levels nicky, it will absorb more than usual so you'll prob need to add some extra water along the way.

BirthdayMuppet Thu 27-Feb-14 21:27:59

My recent discovery is how far mince stretches if you lob in a good handful of porridge oats when browning the mince

Also try red lentils, pearl barley, or finely grated carrot as well. I try and serve around 2oz of mince per person and stretch it to a 4oz equivalent with any of these options.

AdoraBell Thu 27-Feb-14 22:10:43


Red lentils break down so anyone who says they don't lentils ,like me, won't notice them. It works.

fuzzpig Thu 27-Feb-14 22:22:27

Yes, lentils can be easily hidden in stuff like bolognaise. A can of pulses is more obvious but it's another cheap way of bulking it out.

Consider using chorizo instead of raw meat - it has a really strong flavour so you don't need much of it.

Although TBH if my DH said a meal wasn't a meal without meat in then I'd flick him on the nose and tell him to stop being so silly grin

JollyGolightly Fri 28-Feb-14 07:22:01

On £30 per week I think your DH might have to accept that he cant eat meat every day!

I'd go for
Pasta carbonara, with a small amount of bacon cut up tiny.
Baked potatoes for a meal, beans and cheese as a filling is fine and very nutritious.
A rice stir fry with bits of whatever you've got, flavoured with soy sauce and ginger. Sainsbo's basics rice is 40p for a 500g bag.
Smoked fish chowder, using 2 small fish fillets, bulked with potato, leeks and corn. Tell DH it's a stew!
Omelettes and homemade oven chips/wedges
Breakfast for dinner, this is flexible and cheap. Last week we had eggy bread, beans, kippers and mushrooms.
Slow cooked sausage casserole, I use a River Cottage one which you can google.
That's 7 dinners, I'd suggest a look at A Girl Called Jack too. She has brilliant ideas for low cost eating and she loves food so it tastes all right.
porridge will definitely become your friend, could you also consider making your own bread? If not, fill the freezer when the bakery section in the supermarket is reduced to 10p loaves in the evening.
Good luck. Your budget is a real challenge but it can be done!

spilttheteaagain Fri 28-Feb-14 08:30:31

I know your DH doesn't like soup but would you and or the children eat it for lunches? DH can then have beans on toast alongside? You could take soup in a flask to work if you are eating away from home, it travels well. And is another good place to throw in a handful or two of lentils, once blended you won't know they are there but they will add protein to a soup, make it go a lot further and be more filling. Cheap ones would be veg (carrot/onion) and lentil, french onion soup, pea and garlic (frozen peas), split pea and ham soup (just use a few scraps of smokey bacon), tomato and lentil soup (tinned tomatoes), carrot and coriander, leek and potato. There's tonnes to be honest, seems such a shame to rule them all out.

Also I would find out if your new financial circs entitle your 6yo to free school meals as that could be a big help.

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