I've made a meal plan for a week during the school holidays, taking into account the fact that three hungry children will be at home 24/7. My 11yo eats the same portion size my husband, despite being reed thin, so the plan could be for 3 adults and 2 children - or 2 adults and 2 older children. The lunches are deliberately substantial to cut down on snacking, and most of them are also readily transportable if we go out for the day and need to take a packed lunch.
You could of course do a meal plan that cost less by having simpler lunches and breakfasts. I figured that in the holidays breakfasts and lunches tend to be slightly more leisurely and substantial. I also haven't bought any loaves of bread or rolls. I prefer to make my own so included the cost of the flour and yeast. I did however include the cost of pitta bread and tortillas/wraps, again I would normally make my own, but not everyone does so I added in the extra cost of bought ones.
My Meal Plan also assumes that there are already some storecupboard items available like tea/coffee, herbs, spices, Worcestershire sauce, tomato ketchup, oil, butter and homemade or store bought relish/chutney and jam or honey.
I used My Supermarket to compare the cost of the shopping list and Asda came out the cheapest, so the total shown is the cost of all the items at Asda on 29/12/11.
2x Scottish Porridge Oats (500g) 55p
1x Smartprice Swiss Style Muesli (1Kg) 98p
1x Smartprice Spaghetti (500g) 25p
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg) 92p
1x Smartprice Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
1x Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 41p
1x Fast Action Dried Yeast (42g) 58p
1x Wholefoods Bread Brown Flour (1.5Kg) £1.10
1x Wild Pacific Pink Salmon (418g) £1.57
2x Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice Thick Cut (400g) 64p
2x Chilli Beans (290g) 68p
1x Sweetcorn (326g) 43p
1x Hellmann's Extra Light Mayonnaise (400g) £1.87
1x Amoy Soy Sauce Reduced Salt (150ml) £1.14
1x Double Concentrated Tomato Puree (200g) 48p
1x Heinz Baked Beanz in Tomato Sauce (6x415g) £3.00 was £3.14
2x Mexican Style Bean Mix in Water (400g) 53p
1x Passata (500g) 38p
1x Peach Halves in Juice (411g) 45p
1x The Reel Fish Co Pole and Line Tuna Chunks in Spring Water (3x185g) £4.29
1x Soured Cream (300ml) £1.13
4x British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £1.18 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x Cooks Value Medium Eggs (30) £2.98
1x Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk (397g) £1.00
2x English Mature Cheddar (400g) £2.00
1x Natural Yogurt Fat Free (500g) £1.00
600g Deli Carved Ham by Weight £3.00
1x British Beef Mince (500g) £2.40
1x Whole Chicken (1.45Kg) £4.77 any 2 FOR £7.00
1x Smartprice Sultanas (500g) 84p
1x Extra Juicy Oranges (10) £1.97
1x Salad Tomatoes (750g) £1.57
10 Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) £1.00
1 White Cabbage by Weight (500g) 45p
1x Smartprice Mushrooms (750g) £1.35
Onions by Weight (400g) 40p
2x White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £1.12 2 FOR £2.00
2x Whole Cucumber 80p
2x Round Lettuce 57p
1x Celery 83p
1x Garlic Loose 22p
1x Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.48
1 Spring Onions 70p
1x Smartprice Bananas (1.5Kg) £1.15
1x Spinach (350g) £1.37
1x Carrots (1.2Kg) £1.00
2x Wholemeal Pitta Breads (6) 55p any 2 FOR £1.00
2x Mexican Wholewheat Tortillas (8) 82p
2 cups rolled oats
For added flavour: Tinned fruit, dried fruit, fresh fruit or spoon of honey/jam
Cook oats with milk in a saucepan on the hob or in a microwave and serve topped with the tinned/dried/fresh fruit or with homey or jam stirred in to give it more flavour.
Make normal muesli go further by bulking it out with rolled oats and extra dried fruit.
500g rolled oats
300g sultanas or dried apricots
Mix together and store in an airtight container. Serve with milk or yoghurt.
Scrambled Eggs on Wholegrain Toast
2 Tblsp milk
Whisk eggs together with milk. Heat a little oil in a pan and add the eggs. Let set then stir to scramble. Serve on top of buttered toast.
Boiled eggs with Toast
Toast topped with your favourite spread or grated cheese
Potato and Egg Salad
6 hard-boiled eggs
4 potatoes cut into chunks and boiled
2 spring onions (green and white parts) sliced
handful of shredded lettuce leaves
3 tomatoes chopped into chunks or sliced
4 Tblsp mayonnaise
Chop the eggs and potatoes into bite sized pieces. Mix in the spring onion and mayonnaise and shredded lettuce. Serve with chopped tomato on the side. You could also add some carrot or celery sticks on the side if you want a more substantial meal.
Chicken Salad Wraps
5 flat bread wraps
leftover shredded roasted chicken
2 carrots grated
lettuce leaves shredded
1 sliced spring onion.
Lay out bread, top with shredded chicken and salad, then drizzle mayonnaise and roll up.
6 pitta breads
1 Tblsp tomato paste mixed with 1Tblsp boiling water
300g chopped ham
a few mushrooms sliced
1 pepper diced
1 cup (120g) grated cheese.
Spread tomato paste mixed with boiling water over the pitta breads. Top with shaved ham, sliced mushrooms, and chopped pepper. Top with grated cheese and grill/bake in the oven to melt the cheese. Eat hot or cold.
Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad
400g dried pasta
1 tin sweetcorn
2 tomatoes chopped into chunks
300g diced ham
1 cup (120g) grated cheese
4 Tblsp mayonnaise mixed with 1 Tblsp chopped fresh herbs (basil works well as does flat leaf parsley)
Cook pasta shapes. Let cool and add drained corn kernels, tomatoes, cucumber, ham, and cheese. Mix together with dressing.
Tuna Salad Sandwiches (using 1 tin of tuna left over from the Tuna Pasta Bake)
Egg Salad Sandwiches (boiled egg mixed with a little mayonnaise & fresh herbs or spring onion)
Baked Beans on Baked Potatoes
Oranges, bananas, apples, vegetable sticks (celery, carrot, cucumber, pepper).
Homemade Muesli Bars
1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
500g muesli or 250g rolled oats, 200g mixed seeds, 50g chopped almonds
100g sultanas or dried apricots
Preheat your oven to 130C/Gas Mark 1/2 and lightly oil a large baking tin. Mine measures 23cm x 33cm x 4cm.
Mix the dry ingredients and fruit together until well combined. Warm the condensed milk in a pan then mix with all the other ingredients and use a spatula to make sure everything is well coated.
Press the mixture into the tin and level the surface. The mixture is really sticky so you might want to wet your hands or lightly oil them so that you don't end up a sticky mess.
Bake the muesli bars for 1 hour then set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container.
1 cup of any fruit (fresh, tinned, dried or frozen)
3/4 cup sugar
100g melted butter or 100ml oil
2 cups plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
Mix all of the ingredients together gently but thoroughly until well combined. Spoon into lined muffin tins.
If you want to be fancy you can mix together 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 Tblsp sugar and sprinkle it over the top of the muffins.
Cook for 12 minutes or so at 180C, depending on the size of your muffins.
8 tortillas/flat breads
2 cans chilli beans
3 tomatoes chopped
small pot of low fat sour cream
1 cup (120g) grated cheese
Heat chilli beans in a pot whilst tortillas are warming in the oven. Put chilli beans onto tortillas and top with tomato, cucumber, lettuce, a little sour cream and a sprinkling of cheese. Fold up and serve.
Tuna and Tomato Pasta
500g pack dried spaghetti
400g tin tuna spring water
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 diced onion
1 diced pepper
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
1/2 tsp of chilli powder (optional).
Boil spaghetti until just cooked. While spaghetti is cooking, lightly sauté onion, pepper and garlic in a pan. Add chopped tomatoes and tomato puree. Flake tuna and mix into sauce. Add herbs and chilli, powder to taste. Serve on top of cooked spaghetti. Add a light sprinkling of cheddar cheese if you want.
Roast chicken with homemade coleslaw and potato wedges
I large chicken, roasted.
A large bowl of shredded cabbage
2 grated carrots
4 potatoes, washed
Mix cabbage and carrot together with mayonnaise to make the coleslaw.
Cut the unpeeled potatoes into wedges, mix with a little oil and then bake until cooked. Serve roast chicken and wedges with chopped cucumber, sliced tomatoes and the coleslaw.
5 homemade burger buns
1 onion finely chopped
1 egg lightly beaten
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
mayonnaise and tomato ketchup
Mix mince, onion, egg, coriander, paprika and breadcrumbs together and shape into 5 large patties. Lightly fry or grill until cooked. Fill buns with patties, top with salad, slices of tomato, a drizzle of mayonnaise, and a dollop of tomato ketchup.
Chicken and Vegetable Stir-fry with Rice
Leftover shredded roast chicken
3 cups cooked rice
juice of 1 orange
60ml soy sauce
2 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 onion cut into slices
1 head of broccoli, 1 carrot , handful of mushrooms, 2 celery sticks, rest of cabbage, and a pepper all sliced finely.
Mix orange juice, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Heat a large pan or wok over a moderate to high heat. Put a little oil in the pan and add the garlic, onion, celery and pepper then cook until softened. Add the cabbage and cook whilst steaming the broccoli and carrot in a microwave or separate pan. Mix the steamed vegetables with the vegetables in the wok, pour over the sauce, cook for a couple of minutes and then serve over rice.
Salmon and Potato Cakes
415g tin salmon (or tuna)
3-4 potatoes (or sweet potatoes) cooked and mashed
1 onion diced
¼ cup flour
1 tsp dried mixed herbs or 1 Tblsp fresh herbs
Flake salmon into a large bowl and mix with mashed potato and onion. Add egg and herbs, mixing well. Shape into patties, coating in flour or breadcrumbs. Bake or lightly fry and serve with some tomato ketchup or relish and a large salad.
Spicy Bean and Vegetable Soup
2 tins mixed beans
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 onion chopped
1 pepper diced
1 clove garlic crushed
1 celery stick diced
2 carrots diced
a large handful of spinach leaves
2 cubes vegetable stock
1 Tblsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and add pepper, onion, garlic and spices. When onion and pepper has softened add the drained mixed beans and chopped tomatoes. Mix stock cubes in 750ml boiling water to dissolve, then add with carrot and celery to the bean and tomato mix. Simmer for 20 minutes then add spinach to wilt. Serve crusty bread rolls.
What are your favourite recipes when you are trying to save a few pennies? What are your top tips for Meal Planning?