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Saturday, 21 January 2012

Our Family Meal Plan for This Week - 23/01

This is the Meal Plan my family will be following this week. It cost £62.30 from Asda online today, and I used My Supermarket to check which supermarket was the cheapest to purchase my trolley of groceries from.  The same trolley of groceries would've cost £72.97 at Tesco and £73.80 at Sainsburys.

As always, I bake all our bread and rolls myself so have included the cost of flour and yeast instead of premade loaves of bread and bread rolls. This plan will feed my family of 5, all our meals, for an entire week. 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.

I am not a nutritionist or dietitian so see a professional if you want a calorie controlled, super nutritious Meal Plan suitable for specific dietary needs.  I'm a Mum and wife who uses Meal Plans to try and manage our grocery spending whilst giving my family decent quality, tasty, and healthy food - with the occasional homemade treat. 

Dinners

Vegetable Pasta Bake – Meatfree Monday

This recipe is cheap, filling and tasty. Just what you need when feeding a crowd. I usually serve it with a side salad or some steamed greens. I add a handful of frozen peas and sweetcorn or mixed vegetables to up the amount of vegetables, you could add some wilted spinach if you wanted to.

500g bag pasta

50g butter, plus a little extra

1 pepper, diced

200g small mushrooms, halved or larger mushrooms sliced

small bunch spring onions, finely sliced

50g plain flour

500ml milk

1 large handful of frozen sweetcorn

1 large handful of frozen peas

150g mature cheddar, grated

Cook the pasta according to pack instructions, or al dente to your liking. Drain the pasta well. Heat up your oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6, and then melt a little butter in a large saucepan. Fry the mushrooms and pepper for a couple of minutes, then scoop out and set aside. Use some paper towel to wipe out the pan.

Melt the remaining butter in the pan, stir in the flour for a minute or two, and then gradually stir in the milk until you have a lump-free sauce. Increase the heat and bubble the sauce, stirring for a few minutes to thicken. Turn off the heat, stir in the sweetcorn, peas and most of the cheese, then season to taste.

Tip the pasta, pepper and mushrooms into a large ovenproof dish, then pour over the sauce and mix well in the dish. Scatter over the remaining cheese and spring onions, then bake for 10 - 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown on top.


Salmon and Rice Bake

1 onion, diced

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 tsp dried mixed herbs

1 pepper, diced

1 1/2 cups long grain rice

500ml cups water

1 handful or two of frozen sweetcorn or peas

1 large tin of salmon, I used approx 400g tin

Preheat oven to 180°C. Chop the onion and pepper.

Put the onion, pepper, chopped tomatoes, mixed herbs, frozen vegetables, water and rice into an ovenproof baking dish and stir well to thoroughly combine. Cover with foil or a lid and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the rice is cooked.

Use a fork to fluff up the rice, season to taste, then stir through the salmon and drained tin of corn. Let stand for 5 minutes or so to heat through. Serve.


Slow Cooker Beef Casserole – Wednesday and Thursday

This is a fab, low faff warming stew that is cooked in a slow cooker. It makes enough to serve us 5 generously for 2 nights. Great for nights when I need a dinner that is guaranteed to be eaten without fuss. This casserole is perfect for that. It tastes even better the second night. Sometimes I freeze the other portion but more often than not I just serve it the next night with different vegetables on the side.  You can add other chopped root vegetables to the casseroles if you want, such as potatoes, parsnip. pumpkin, sweet potato, etc.

1kg beef braising/stewing steak cut into chunks

1 tsp ground ginger

1 onion, sliced

2 sticks of celery, finely sliced

2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

2 x 400g cans of kidney beans, drained and well rinsed

2 peppers, roughly diced (any colour will do)

3 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks

2 bay leaves

2 Tblsp brown sugar

2 Tblsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce

If you have time, brown the meat in a non-stick pan, use a little oil if necessary.

Put the beef and everything else in the slow cooker. Stir well and cook for 7-8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. If the casserole needs thickening, stir 2 Tbsp cornflour mixed to a paste with 2 Tbsp water into it. Serve with mash and greens or mixed vegetables.



Quick Vegetable Curry - Friday

Cooked rice, to serve

1 Tblsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 pepper, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground turmeric

300g pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 1 inch dice

2 large potatoes, peeled and diced (same size as the pumpkin)

400g can chopped tomatoes

400g can lentils, drained

Heat oil in a large frying pan. Soften the onion and pepper in the oil and then add the garlic, cook for a couple of minutes. Add the cumin and turmeric, cook them for about a minute or until they are fragrant. Add the pumpkin, potatoes and chopped tomatoes to the pan and mix everything together well. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes then add the lentils and cook for a further 5 minutes until the pumpkin and potato are cooked. Serve with rice.


Roast Chicken and Vegetables - Saturday

I prefer to buy free range chicken, it is more expensive but I make it stretch to at least a couple of meals so it’s worth getting a decent chook. Roast chicken with roast potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin with mixed vegetables on the side. Cook a few extra roast vegetables for Sunday lunch frittata.  I usually also make use of the chicken bones to make my own stock for soup or risotto.


Sweet and Sour Chicken and Vegetables – Sunday

1-2 tbsp oil

400g leftover roast chicken

1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

500g sliced fresh vegetables (celery, peppers, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms)

1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup vinegar (rice-wine vinegar or malt vinegar)

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp cornflour mixed to a paste with 2 Tbsp water.

Freshly ground black pepper.

Heat oil in a wok or large heavy frying pan and stir fry the ginger for a minute before adding the vegetables and water to help steam and cook them.

When the vegetables have almost cooked to your liking, add the brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and chicken to the pan. Simmer gently to warm through. Thicken the sauce with the cornflour and water mixture if necessary. Season to taste and serve on rice or noodles. This week we’re having it with rice.


Lunches

As usual lunches for adults will be leftovers or the same as what the children are having. Packed lunches will have an apple and either a pear or satsuma and a small portion of flavoured yoghurt with whatever else is for lunch that day.  I will also put in a muffin or a couple of Anzac biscuits as a treat.


Super Quick Couscous and Chickpea Salad for Lunchboxes

This is a fab salad to put in lunchboxes and can even be made in the morning before rushing off to work. It's also a quick fix salad if you're having a BBQ or picnic. You could add tinned tuna or salmon, leftover cooked chicken or ham if you want it to be more substantial.  It's a great midweek dinner side dish if we're having sausages (meat or vegetable) or grilled fish. This salad will be made twice this week and will feed all 5 of us for those days packed lunches.

3/4 cup couscous

3/4 cup boiling water

1 tin of chickpeas, well drained

juice and zest of 1 lemon

2 Tblsp olive oil

2 cups salad greens or lettuce (roughly 2 large handfuls)

2 Tblsp mixed seeds and chopped dried fruit (apricots, dates, raisins)

Pour the boiling water over the couscous in a heatproof bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate or clingfilm and set aside for 5 minutes while you chop up the other ingredients and open the tin of chickpeas.

After 5 minutes, fluff the couscous with a fork, add all the other ingredients and toss well to thoroughly combine. That's all there is to it! Pack it into lunchbox containers, refrigerate until needed or serve immediately.

I’ll also be making a batch of these for the rest of our lunches for the week:


Calzone

You can use whatever filling you like with these versatile bread parcels, just make sure the filling isn't too wet. Leftover Bolognese or casserole/stew from dinner also works well if the sauce is nice and thick.  They're great for using up lefover cooked vegetables too, just mix with some diluted tomato paste, a crushed clove of garlic and some grated cheese.  I usually double or treble this mixture depending on how many hungry mouths there are to feed.

7g sachet instant dried yeast

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon caster sugar

3/4 cup warm water

2 cups plain flour

2 tsp dried mixed herbs (optional)

2 1/2 Tblsp olive oil

250g thinly-sliced ham (optional)

1 onion, finely diced

1 pepper, finely diced

200g mushrooms, sliced

100g cheddar cheese, grated

1 small bunch spinach, shredded

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons salt

Combine yeast, salt, sugar and warm water in a jug. Stir with a fork to mix it well. Cover with clingfilm and set it aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until bubbles form on surface. Sift flour into a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, the dried mixed herbs and 2 tablespoons of oil. Mix it all together to form a soft dough.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover it with clingfilm. Set aside in a warm place until doubled in size.

I do the mixing, kneading and proving in my stand mixer. It's loads quicker and I can get on with other things whilst it does the job for me.

Preheat your oven to 220°C. Brush a large baking tray with the remaining oil. Knock the dough back and then knead it gently on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Knead each piece into a ball and then roll out each ball into a 10 inch (25cm diameter) circle.

Arrange a some of the filling over half of each round, leaving a 1 inch (2.5cm) border around the edge. Brush the edge with water. Fold the dough over to enclose the filling and firmly press the edges together to seal each round.

Put the calzones on the oiled baking tray. Brush the tops with egg which gives them a nice glazed top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if you want to. Bake the calzone for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden and crisp. Serve hot or cold.


Vegetable Fritters with homemade salsa – Saturday Lunch

The “Whatever You've Got” Fritter Recipe

This is one of my favourite basic recipes for lunch, after school snacks or a super quick dinner served with salad. You can make the fritters either sweet or savoury using "whatever" is available. We’ll be having corn fritters with homemade tomato salsa and salad.

1 cup “whatever” filling you like (banana, diced apple, sweetcorn, grated vegetables, leftover ham - not all together!)

1 cup plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg, lightly beaten

about 200ml milk

Sift the dry ingredients in to a bowl then add egg and enough milk to make a smooth batter. Stir in 'whatever' filling you like.

Brown in a pan with sizzling butter. Banana or apple fritters are great for a breakfast treat. Savoury fritters can be served a salad for lunch or dinner.


Leftover Roast Vegetable Frittata – Sunday Lunch

1 pepper, diced

1 onion, diced

8 eggs

1 handful frozen peas

1 handful frozen sweetcorn

1 or 2 cups leftover roast vegetables, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/ gas 6.

Put a 25cm non-stick ovenproof frying pan on the hob over a moderate heat. Add a little oil to the pan and sauté the onion and pepper until softened.

Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl and the softened onion and pepper. Carefully fold in the leftover roast vegetables and frozen vegetables. Pour the frittata mixture back into the frying pan and cook over a low-medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until it has cooked through and is set. Serve with salad.


Breakfasts

Weekday breakfasts will either be porridge with chopped banana or toast with spread (jam, honey, peanut butter) and a banana.

Lovely Crumpets (A Fab Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Recipe) - Sunday Breakfast

This is the recipe that I always use to make crumpets. The recipe is so easy to whip up on a weekend morning and never fails to deliver a delicious, wholesome and comforting breakfast.

You can find this recipe and other fab Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipes for breakfast treats from an article in the Guardian here.

450g plain white flour

350ml warm milk

350ml warm water (approximately)

5g powdered dried yeast

10g salt

1 tsp baking powder

A little sunflower or vegetable oil

In a bowl, whisk the flour, milk, water and yeast into a rather runny batter the consistency of single cream. Cover with cling-film and leave for an hour until really bubbly.

Heat a heavy-based frying pan or flat griddle over a medium-high heat. Whisk the salt and baking powder into the batter. Lightly grease the crumpet rings and pan. Put one ring in the pan, fill to just below the top – the batter should stay in the ring and lots of holes should appear on the surface after a minute or two. (If it dribbles out underneath, it is too thin, so whisk a little more flour into your batter mix. If lots of holes don't form, it's too thick, so whisk in some water.)

Assuming your test crumpet is OK, after five minutes or so, when the surface is just set, flip it over, ring and all. (If the cooked base seems too dark, turn down the heat.) Cook for two to three minutes, until golden on the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter in batches. Butter and eat at once, or cool on a wire rack for toasting later.

A pikelet variation: If you don't have rings, whisk an extra 50g flour into the batter, to stiffen it, dollop spoonfuls into a greased, warmed pan and cook for a couple of minutes a side.


Pikelets/Pancakes

300g self raising flour

2 eggs

50g sugar

375ml milk

Mix all the ingredients together well and then cook ladlefuls of mixture in a greased frying pan over a moderate heat. Serve with chopped bananas and drizzle with golden syrup, spread with jam or brushed with lemon juice and sprinkled with sugar.


Treats

Lemon Muffins

These usually get eaten in no time at all so I normally make a double batch.  They're fab for cake stalls, shared morning teas, a treat with a cuppa or in lunchboxes.  You can leave off the topping if you want but it makes the muffins taste even better, like mini lemon drizzle cakes.
2 cups self raising flour

¾ cup sugar

75g butter

250ml milk

1 egg

zest of 1 large or 2 small lemons

Topping:

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup sugar

Preheat your oven to 200C

Mix the flour and sugar together in a bowl. Melt the butter, add the milk, egg and lemon zest. Beat well to combine, Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Mix gently but thoroughly and divide evenly between lined muffin tins. Bake at 2000C for 10 minutes. Check the muffins are cooked, if not put them back in the oven for a couple of minutes more.

As soon as the muffins are out of the oven, mix together the topping ingredients and spoon over the muffins whilst they are still hot. Leave in the muffin tins for 5 minutes or so, then remove them to cool on a rack.


 Anzac Biscuits

My girls love these biscuits and I've been making them since I was a child.  My 8yo can whip up a batch by herself, although I do watch her carefully around the hot oven.  They are great with a cuppa and a good energy boosting snack in lunchboxes or after school for both adults and children.

1 cup flour

pinch of salt

1 cup sugar

1 cup rolled oats

125g butter

1 Tblsp golden syrup

1 tsp baking soda

2 Tblsp boiling water

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line 2 baking trays with non stick baking paper.

Put the flour, pinch of salt, sugar, and rolled oats into a bowl and mix them together thoroughly. Make a well in the dry ingredients.

Melt the butter and golden syrup together in a saucepan. Once the butter has melted and is well combined with the golden syrup, dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water then quickly add to the melted butter mixture. Pour it all into the well you made in the dry ingredients. Mix everything together until well combined.

Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into balls and put onto the prepared trays, leave room for the biscuits to spread. Flatten them with a floured fork.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until the biscuits have flattened out and have become a reddish-brown colour.

Carefully transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool. They will crisp up as they cool. Once the biscuits are cold, store them in an airtight container.



Shopping List

44 items. £62.30

Packets and Cereals
2x ASDA Smartprice Porridge Oats (1Kg) 75p
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg) 92p
1x ASDA Smartprice Plain White Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
1x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 25p
1x ASDA Wholefoods Cous Cous (500g) 68p
1x ASDA East Bake Yeast (42g) 64p
1x ASDA Wholefoods Bread Brown Flour (1.5Kg) £1.10

Tins, Jars and Cooking
1x ASDA Wild Pacific Pink Salmon (418g) £1.57
3x Napolina Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice (400g) 50p was £1.00
1x ASDA Naturally Sweet Sweetcorn in Water (326g) 43p
2x ASDA Smartprice Red Kidney Beans in Water (400g) 24p
2x ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g) 70p
1x ASDA Green Lentils in Water (400g) 47p

Dairy and Eggs
6x ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £1.18 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15) £2.00 was £2.50
1x ASDA Chosen by You English Mature Cheddar (400g) £2.00 was £2.48
2x ASDA Low Fat Toffee Yogurt (450g) 50p
2x ASDA Strawberry and Wholegrain Yogurt Fat Free (450g) 50p

Meat, Fish and Poultry
3 ASDA Deli Carved Ham by Weight (100g) 75p
2x ASDA British Diced Beef Casserole (505g) £4.00 any 2 FOR £7.00
18 ASDA Free Range Whole Chicken by Weight (100g) 45.8p

Fruit and Vegetables
1 ASDA Ginger by Weight (100g) 21.1p
1x ASDA Conference Pears (800g) £1.00
1x ASDA Baby Spinach (180g) £1.00
15 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) 10p
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) 6.8p
3 ASDA White Cabbage by Weight (100g) 8.9p
10 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) 8p
1x ASDA Smartprice Mushrooms (750g) £1.35
2x ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £1.35 any 2 FOR £2.00
5 ASDA Tomatoes by Weight (100g) 19.9p
7 ASDA Butternut Squash by Weight (100g) 9.7p
6 ASDA Sweet Potatoes by Weight (100g) 11.1p
2x ASDA Round Lettuce 57p
1x ASDA Celery 83p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.47
1x ASDA Spring Onions 70p
1x ASDA Fruit & Seed Mix (100g) 67p
1x ASDA Unwaxed Lemons (5) £1.37 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x ASDA Great Stuff Satsumas (500g) £1.20 any 2 FOR £2.00

Frozen
1x ASDA Smartprice Sweetcorn (907g) 94p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peas (907g) 85p

15 comments:

  1. Good grief! Sincerely, I'm impressed. This is the first time I've read one of your meal plans and it's impressive to me because I think it must take you a long time, but maybe it doesn't? If you would like to come and live in our house, we will love you forever. My husband would be particularly grateful as he does the cooking in our house!

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  2. Thanks Liz :o) I've always Meal Planned, just decided to blog about it and hopefully help others to save money & eat well too. Blogging about it does take a while but worth it if others find it useful and helpful. x

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  3. How much salmon was used in the salmon and rice recipe? I'm making Anzac biscuits and damper next week for Australia day.I've finally finished the budgeting post just come over to get your URL link.Oh I'm going to try calazone but a veggie version soon asI'm a bit addicted to easy bread recipes at the mo'.

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  4. Hi Aly, I used a 400g tin of salmon but you can use whatever size suits your budget or tastes. Anzac biscuits are a recipe we regularly bake, and they keep well in a tin too. Calzone are great for using up leftovers, or a good alternative to sandwiches.

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  5. Hi Utterly Scrummy

    I have been wanting to try menu planning for a while (otherwise, I feel like I'm at the grocery store every other day, and I have that daily "what on earth are we going to have for dinner?" moment, which I hate).

    I came across your blog, and it has inspired me to give menu planning a try. My family is going to be eating what yours did last week. My family is me and husband, 14 year old son (adult appetite), 11 year old son and 7 year old daughter, so I'm hoping your quantities are going to be right for us (seems like it, from what you say in your blog blurb).

    I'm in the US, an expat Brit. Maybe I could price up everything too, and then we could do a comparison (but not this week - when I've got more established with the routine).

    One question. What size chicken do you get, in order to feed five and have enough left over for sweet and sour?

    Thanks for inspiring me, and getting me started. I've been wanting to do this for ages, but it seemed overwhelming to start. Having it all set out like this has made it easy. Thank you.

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  6. One more question. Do you find you can cook for 5 in a wok? In which case, do you have a huge wok?

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  7. I've started baking my own bread again and its saving me a fortune! I tend to do a two week shop now which is helping get the costs down.

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  8. Hi Iota, thanks heaps for your comments and questions! :o) I usually buy a 1.8kg or 2kg chicken for the 5 of us that will do 2 meals. I shred the leftover chicken for the stir fry which makes it look like there's more meat than there actually is. LOL I use a really big heavy based saucepan to make the stir fry as we don't have a big enough wok. I bulk out the stir fry with loads of vegetables so we don't notice that there's less meat in it. You could also shred an omlette and add that to the stir fry to bulk it out as well.

    I'm so glad you are starting to Meal Plan, it can be daunting at first which is the main reason I blog such comprehensive ones as I was hoping it would help others to start Meal Planning too.

    Let me know how you get on. xx

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  9. Hi Beth, great to hear from you! :o) Baking bread does save loads of money and you can flavour it how you like it too. We don't shop fortnightly as we tried it before and ran out of things during the second week. LOL We're not disciplined enough, either that or too hungry. It works better for us to shop & plan weekly. I've read your Meal Plans on your blog and they are delicious! x

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  10. fab fab fab! Yet again you have inspired me and my meal plan this week. Do you ever swap meals around according to if you fancy something else? I write a list of meals but don't stick to days as I like to pick what I fancy nearer the time :)

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  11. Hi Danielle! :o) Sometimes I swap dinners around but only the dinners that are on the plan for that week. For example, I might need something quick on a Wednesday instead of Friday so might sway those dinners around. I still stick to the plan though. When I make up the plan I check the family calendar to see what days/nights are going to be busy and plan meals around that.

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  12. We used to have a nice big wok, but Husband tells me that when we moved to the US, I decreed that we'd get rid of it. I didn't like it, because it was too big. That was back in the days when I was usually stir-frying for 2 adults only, or occasionally for 2 adults and 3 small children. I should have had more foresight, and realised that one day I'd be stir-frying for a family with bigger appetites!

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  13. Such great detail! I might give the salmon and rice a go

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  14. Ooh I look forward to your meal plan so much!

    Thanks for joining in again.

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  15. Wow - this is fantastic. So impressive that you make all this for that cost. I do a rough food plan but I am so inspired to get my backside in gear and do it properly. Great work and thank you.

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