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This is the krypton factor of menu planning, are you brave enough??!

(14 Posts)
SummerHeightsHigh Wed 17-Jun-09 22:26:14

Our household is DH, DD (not weaned yet) and I. I want to cut down on my weekly shopping bill which averages out at around £50/week I think. Some weeks its £30, some weeks £60. I think this is because I often buy other things from the supermarket, like baby clothes etc, so not sure how much I actually spend on food.

Anyway, I digress. I'm after menu ideas for meals. My DH is VERY picky, and whilst he is getting better at what he can eat it does limit what I can make (not that I mind at all).

So here are the limitations:

*Not keen on veg - will eat peas, carrots, corn
*Doesn't eat tomato based sauces (can make lasagne but have to make the sauce very meaty rather than tomato-y
*Doesn't like sauces in general in fact, gravy a no-no.
*Doesn't eat spicy foods - no curries or chillies

At the moment, we eat lasagne, cottage pie, chicken fajitas, steak or chicken pie, pork chops, pizza, chicken sweet and sour (just give him very little sauce).

Can anyone suggest cheap, healthy meals to expand our menu planner???

elliott Wed 17-Jun-09 22:37:25

how about a behavioural programme to expand your dh's tastes a little wink
A bit tricky since many ideas for budget meals rely on lots of mince or stews bulked out with lentils, pulses, cheap veg etc...the real killer for bumping up food budgets is slabs of good quality meat.
But anyway, some ideas:
fishcakes with tinned tuna or other tinned fish
meatballs - these are my current craze, you can do them with lots of different types of meat and add different herbs/spices for flavour. Much nicer with a sauce (which can be gravy based, tomatoey or curry) but still edible without!
Stir fries using cheaper bits of meat (chicken thighs for e.g.)
Fish - coley fillets can be cheap

SummerHeightsHigh Wed 17-Jun-09 22:49:33

elliott Forgot to say that fish is out too!

Meatballs is a good plan, I could make a sauce (freezing some for another time) for me and he could have them without. Will give them a go for sure.

I try to buy meat when its on offer and freeze them and often substitue with sausages to reduce cost.

I can't even beging to describe his face if I were to offer him lentils grin

SummerHeightsHigh Wed 17-Jun-09 22:50:24

Oops - 'begin' to describe

ABetaDad Wed 17-Jun-09 23:07:25

The answer is Italian dishes.

In the restaurant business pasta is known to be the most profitable dish as it has low cost but fills stomachs. Although tomato is a common sauce on pasta - there are a huge range of other possibilities

Risotto (rice dish) has very little sauce and many variations.

Pasta dishes like Primavera can be made with peas and thinly sliced carrot and butter as the 'sauce'. Pasta with egg and ham can be done fairly dry. What about Gnocci?.

Tuna and bean salad with green leaves (too much veg).

Loads of Italian egg and potato dishes.

I suggest you go and poke about in the local library and bookshops to get a feel for the wide range of recipes outside the traditional pasta and tomato sauce we normally think of as typical Italian.

Either that or give him egg and chips every night until he begs for mercy. grin

snigger Wed 17-Jun-09 23:17:41



Obviously, first recourse is to grilled meat (lamb/chicken/pork/steak) with personally acceptable spices/herbs plus rice/potatoes/pasta in basic vinaigrette with salad greens.

Or Nigella's sausage/chicken simple marinade in Feast (lemon/Worcester/Mustard plus seasoning, I think from memory)

Or grill meats/fish/poultry of your choice, make a sauce of lentils/tomatoes/garlic and serve his 'dry'?

Good luck lass, at times like these I thank my lucky stars DH is a pleasure to feed.

Flibbertyjibbet Wed 17-Jun-09 23:21:36

We quite often have something like omelette with new potatoes.
Yesterday I chopped up half of a lidl 'kabanossi' salami type sausage, fried that first for a bit before adding the eggs. It was delicious and very cheap.

I keep my food costs down by not going to just one place to shop, we get fruit and veg only whats seasonal and from he local market.

Use a breadmaker and make cheap asda or lidl own brand bread flour more interesting with 50g or so of some Allinsons granary flour in each loaf. Home made bread doesn't keep as long, I save the crusts in the fridge and make bread and butter pud once a week or so.

Popular in our house are cheap chicken thighs just baked in the oven or fried over a very slow heat, fine with peas and carrots.

Agree with others you need to find out what it is your dp doesn't like about sauces and try to get him to try some.

Home made pizza.

Once a week we have just beans on toast, or soup and toast.

elliott Thu 18-Jun-09 07:36:23

chicken wings are very cheap, drumsticks almost as cheap. Spare ribs/pork belly also worth a try. These can all be marinated and roasted very easily.
Pasta and risotto are good ideas - you can make a little meat go a long way wiht these!
Personally I'd try to keep sausage consumption down as processed meats are not fantastically healthy.
But I'd be concerned about how you're going to ensure your children have a good and varied diet with that kind of example - I seriously think you should encourage your dh to try to eat some of these things he's not keen on. I eat far more veg than I would if left to my own devices, because I figure I can't ask my kids to eat things if I won't!

SummerHeightsHigh Thu 18-Jun-09 09:13:25

Thanks all, some great ideas there for me to mull over and try out.

elliott Yes, we've talked about how DD will need to see him eat things. He understands but can;t manage it overnight so need to slowly introduce more things. I figure we'll try introducing new foods that are in line with what he eats and then when he is more used to eating new foods/textures we'll try to eat some of the things he won't eat IYSWIM?

Does anyone have any experience introducing foods to someone with food issues? Any advice welcome.

ijustwant8hours Thu 18-Jun-09 15:50:26

My dh is incredibly fussy (as is his father). Dh is a bit better now, i think this is down to range of tactics....

- cooking things i don't expect him to eat and expecting him to try them (this has unearthed a couple of things that he thought he didn't like when actually he does)

- respecting any particularly strong phobias... he hates fat or skin on meat for example.

- Trying to get him involved. I have a theory that his food issues and those of his father are about control. MIL is not deliberately controlling, but likes to do everything... so much so that she will go to a buffet to get fil's food. I do all the cooking but I make DH talk about the food etc. He's just agreed to cook one meal a week so that's a breakthrough

- Teasing and nagging, but done very very carefully, more of encouragement really and absolutely no pressure..

- Eating out. Things seem to be nicer when I haven't cooked them hmm

Same kind of tactics as a toddler really. Good luck. It drives me up the wall it really does!

SummerHeightsHigh Thu 18-Jun-09 16:13:41

ijustwant8hours Thanks for that, its encouraging to know that others are working with the same thing. TBH I don't really mind but we don't want DD to pick up the same habits. DH feels awkward about it when we are at a 'do' and he wouldn't want DD to be the same when she is grown up.

sweetheart Thu 18-Jun-09 16:27:00

I used to be a very fussy eater. Would not eat vegtables, chinese food, indian food, fish, eggs, anything spicy etc

I went through quite a big change when we had our ds. I wanted to give him all home cooked meals and beacuse I was cooking all these new things for him I ended up trying lots of new stuff. I'm actually quite gutted because some of the foods I love now were things I thought I didn't like before - I can't believe I missed out on all those years of yummy food!

Now I have a policy that I will try everything and it's great. I am discovering new things I like all the time and it makes my cooking muc more varied.

Has your dh tried cooking for himself? It taught me alot about food. For example - I always associated Chilli with hot and spicy but actually it doesn't have to be and can still be really yummy.

elliott Thu 18-Jun-09 22:37:52

Well i also used to be very fussy. I ate no vegetables at all as a child, and hated anything new. I also wasn't good with sauces or mixed up things - I basically lived off plain meat and potatoes, eggs, pasta and cheese and occasional fruit!
But when I got to about 16+ I started feeling more and more ashamed of myself - I became aware of how rude it was not to eat food i was offered. I also had a gap year in Africa being hosted by some family friends, and basically was put in lots of situations where i just HAD to eat what was put in front of me. And gradually, I became used to managing to eat food I didn't like, and over time started to like a lot of things I just hadn't really bothered trying. Mind over matter really. And just growing up! But, no-one forced me into it, I just did it for myself. Maybe your dh will do it too once your dd is eating food - especially if you keep offering things regardless. I had to realise tht I could manage it and I could force most things down without them coming up again...

SummerHeightsHigh Fri 19-Jun-09 10:36:38

Thanks guys, thats really encouraging. I think we'll get there, he just won't get better at eating new things overnight, but like you say maybe when we're introducing things to DD he will also try them.

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