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.
Simmered Mince Many Ways – Cook this Sunday Afternoon
This is my basic simmered mince recipe that I can transform into loads of different meals and can feed us well for several dinners and a lunch or two. It makes 1kg of mince stretch a long way and is great if you are counting pennies after an expensive Christmas or are starting to use Meal Plans to cut your household spending.
3 Tbsp oil
3 onions, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped into smallish chunks
3 celery sticks, finely sliced
2 peppers, chopped into smallish chunks
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 kg beef mince
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
3 beef stock cubes dissolved in 1 litre of boiling water
Heat half of the oil in a large pan over a high heat. Add the onions, garlic, herbs, carrot, celery and pepper. Sweat until softened. Put into your slow cooker. If you're not using a slow cooker, just take the pan off the heat and set it aside.
Brown the mince in a large pan over a medium heat, about a third at a time. Fry until there are no pink bits left. Don't brown all the mince at once or you will crowd the pan and it will take longer to brown. Put the browned mince in your slow cooker. If you aren't using a slow cooker, add the vegetables you sweated off earlier to the mince at this point.
Add the tinned tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and stock to the mince and vegetable mixture, either in your slow cooker or in a large saucepan on the hob, mix until well combined.
Either simmer uncovered on the hob for one hour until the volume of liquid has reduced slightly and the sauce has thickened or cook in your slow cooker for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. You can thicken the sauce with a little cornflour mixed with cold water then stirred into the sauce.
Cottage Pie - Monday
Spoon about a third of the above mince mixture into a baking dish, top with about 750g mashed potato and bake at 190C/375F/Gas 5 for 30 minutes, until bubbling and golden-brown on top. Serve with mixed vegetables or peas.
Chilli Con Carne - Tuesday
Use 1/3 of the simmered mince mixture and stir a tin of kidney beans in chilli sauce, or a tin of kidney beans and enough chilli powder to suit your taste, into a third of the mince mixture and warm through. Serve with rice or tortillas topped with little soured cream.
Spaghetti Bolognese - Wednesday
1 pack bacon lardons or 4 rashers finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
300ml red wine
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 beef stock cube
300ml boiling water
1/3 batch of simmered mince (recipe above)
500g dried spaghetti
Heat a saucepan and add the lardons, let the fat run out and then sauté the garlic for a couple of minutes. Drain off as much oil as you can and then add the red wine. Boil the wine until it has reduced to about 2 Tblsp of liquid and then add the tinned tomatoes, braised mince and stock.
Simmer for 45 minutes - 1 hour or until the mince has thickened to Bolognese sauce consistency. Whilst the mince is thickening, cook your spaghetti according to the instructions on the pack. Check the mince mixture for seasoning then serve over cooked spaghetti. Top with grated parmesan if you want.
Bacon and Vegetable Bake – Thursday
350g (6 slices) thickly sliced bread, crusts removed
4 bacon rashers, chopped
120g grated cheddar cheese
2 peppers, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
handful or two of frozen mixed vegetables
6 large free range eggs
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce or dried mixed herbs
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Cut the bread into cubes. Put the bread in a 1.5-litre/6-cup capacity oven-proof dish.
Add the bacon and onion to a non-stick frying pan and cook, stirring it around, until the onion has softened and the bacon has browned. Drain the bacon on absorbent paper. Sprinkle the cheese, bacon and pepper over the bread in the ovenproof dish then sprinkle over the frozen mixed vegetables.
Whisk the eggs in a large jug with a fork until well combined. Add the milk and Worcestershire sauce or dried mixed herbs, then season with salt and pepper before whisking everything again until well combined. Pour over bread mixture in the dish.
Bake for about 35 minutes or until the egg looks set. Serve with a salad.
Hotdogs and Salad – Friday
Cook 5 good quality pork sausages and serve each sausage into a wholemeal bun topped with homemade tomato salsa accompanied by a side salad.
Vegetable Frittata - Saturday
1 pepper, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
300g frozen mixed vegetables
500g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
Preheat the oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/ gas 6.
Simmer the potatoes and pumpkin in a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain and leave to cool slightly before slicing thinly.
Meanwhile, put a 25cm non-stick ovenproof frying pan on the hob over a moderate heat. Sauté the onion, pepper and garlic in a little oil for about 5 minutes until the onion and pepper has softened.
Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl and the softened onion, pepper and garlic. Carefully fold in the potatoes, pumpkin and frozen mixed 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.
Sausage and Lentil Bake - Sunday
5 good quality pork sausages
2 celery sticks, cut into small chunks
4 carrots, peeled cut into small chunks
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 pepper, deseeded sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 vegetable stock cube
500ml boiling water
1 tsp Dijon mustard
410g tin green lentils, drained & rinsed
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas Mark 6. Put the sausages in an ovenproof baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes before adding all the vegetables and garlic. Return to the oven to cook for 10 minutes.
Mix the stock cube with the boiling water and mustard then pour over the sausages and vegetables along with the lentils. Stir everything together. Cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes, taking the foil off for the final 10 minutes. Serve with mixed vegetables.
Weekday lunches will be egg, sweetcorn and mayo sandwiches or falafel with herb and yoghurt dip. All packed lunches will have an apple, carrot and cucumber sticks and a cookie/flapjack in them. Adults will have leftovers of previous nights dinner or same packed lunch as children.
Easy Mini Falafel with Yoghurt Dip
I was given this recipe by one of the of the Mums at school and it's now a firm favourite in our house. The falafel can be eaten as a lunch in a wrap with salad, taken on a picnic or served as a weeknight dinner with couscous and salad leaves. The falafels are also freezable for up to 6 months in an airtight container. Great for make-ahead lunchbox treats or emergency dinners.
2 (400g) tins of chick peas
1 large onion, very finely chopped or grated
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
4-6 Tblsp plain flour
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying
Put the chickpeas in a bowl with the very finely chopped onion, crushed garlic gloves, cumin, ground coriander, salt and pepper. Use a potato masher or pestle and mortar to lightly mash the mixture until it begins to stick together. You can quickly pulse it in a food processor but don't be too over enthusiastic, you don't want a mushy puree.
Take walnut-sized blobs of mixture and and shape them into small flat rounds about 1/2 and inch thick. Roll the falafel in the flour ensuring they are well coated. Chill them for 15-30 minutes, this makes them much easier to work with. Heat some oil, about 1 inch deep, in a frying pan. When it's hot add a few falafels and cook over a medium heat for about 5-6 minutes, turning them frequently. Carefully take them out of the oil and drain well on kitchen paper.
To use the falafels from frozen: Put them on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and warm in the oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for about 10 minutes or until piping hot.
Serve with a dip and crudités, in a wrap with salad leaves, or as a dinner/lunch with couscous salad.
Yoghurt and Herb Dip
150ml natural yoghurt
2 Tblsp mayonnaise
2 Tblsp chopped fresh mint or flat leaf parsley leaves
Pinch of salt
Put the yoghurt, mayonnaise in a bowl and whisk together well with a fork. Add the chopped fresh mint or parsley. Mix together well and, if you think it needs it, add a pinch of salt.
Cover the dip with clingfilm and leave in it the fridge for at least 1 hour to allow the flavours to mingle before you serve it.
Savoury Bacon and Cabbage Swirls - Saturday
These are quick and easy to make, perfect for an easy weekend lunch or after school snack.
Make up a basic scone recipe:
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
About 1 cup/250ml milk
1 Tblsp chopped fresh coriander
Sift dry ingredients together then rub in butter. Mix in chopped coriander and enough milk to make a soft dough. Knead onto a lightly floured board and roll out to about 1cm deep. Cover and set aside.
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 Tblsp freshly chopped parsley and coriander
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups finely sliced green cabbage
4 rashers of bacon finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 230C
Heat a little oil in a large frying pan. fry the onion until it begins to soften before adding the chopped bacon, coriander seeds, salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the finely chopped cabbage and fresh coriander to the pan. Fry until soft. You might need to add a little water to keep the filling it moist as it cooks in the pan. The filling should take around 5 minutes to cook. Once cooked make sure it is drained really well.
Spread the cabbage mix filling on top of the scone dough, and then roll up to form a log. Use a sharp knife to cut into 2cm wide slice. Put the slices cut side up onto a baking paper lined tray and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown and well risen.
Serve hot with home made onion marmalade or tomato chutney
Twice Baked Potatoes – Sunday
Sufficient large potatoes to allow one or two halves per person, scrubbed well until clean
Butter, if you want
Selection of additions: grated cheese, leftover shredded chicken, diced ham or cooked bacon, tinned tuna, chopped spring onion or chives, corn kernels, baked beans, whatever you have available and is to your taste.
Wrap the cleaned potatoes in foil and bake at 180C for about one hour or until a skewer or knife goes in easily. Take the potatoes out of the oven and allow to cool. If necessary, you can refrigerate them until later at this point.
When you are ready to carry on with the recipe, halve the potatoes lengthwise and scoop out the cooked flesh. Be careful not to puncture the skin and leave enough potato on the skin to form a bowl for the fillings.
Mash the scooped potato and add any fillings you like, then season to taste. Gently spoon the mixture back into the shells of the potatoes, piling it up generously. Sprinkle grated cheese on the top if you like.
Return the potatoes to the oven and bake at 180C for a further 30 minutes or until golden brown and well heated through.
You can serve the stuffed potatoes as a dinner with salad, on their own as a lunch, or as a side dish.
Weekday breakfast will be cereal or porridge with a sliced banana. Weekend breakfasts are as follows:
Savoury Eggy Bread – Saturday
5 Tbsp Milk
Pinch of cinnamon
1-2 Tblsp Butter
10 - 12 thick slices of bread
Pinch of salt and grind of pepper
Mix 5 eggs and 5 tablespoons of milk in a bowl with a pinch salt and a grind of pepper until well combined.
Cut 10 - 12 thick slices of bread, you can then cut them in half or quarters if you want to. Heat a little butter in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.
Dip the bread into the egg and milk mixture. Coat both sides well.
Put the coated bread into the frying pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. You should be able to cook 2 to 4 pieces at a time depending on the size of your frying pan.
Repeat with the remaining slices of bread (add a little more of the margarine if needed between batches) until they have all been cooked. Serve while they are nice and hot.
Homemade Fruit Bread - Sunday
2 tsp mixed spice
3 1/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp instant dried yeast
1/4 cup sugar
375ml (1 1/2 cups) warm water
2 cups of mixed dried fruit
1 Tblsp milk
1 Tblsp each cinnamon and sugar mixed together
Sift mixed spice and 3 cups flour into a bowl. Stir in yeast and sugar. Make a well in the centre. Add water then mix to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Add remaining flour. Knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. I use my stand mixer to knead my bread if I'm not in the mood to knead it by hand.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. I leave my dough in the stand mixer, with the plastic shield on it the dough proves quite happily. Grease a 6cm-deep, 9cm x 19cm loaf tin.
Using your fist, punch the dough down. Knead until smooth. I just knead a little in my stand mixer. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface. Gradually knead in the dried fruit. Again, I just use my stand mixer. Shape then put in to the prepared loaf tin. Cover with lightly greased cling film and set aside in a warm place for 15 minutes or until the dough rises to the top of the tin.
Meanwhile, your preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Once the dough has risen, brush the top of it with milk. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 170°C/150°C fan-forced. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and hollow when tapped on top. Stand in tin for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve with butter and jam.
Snacks and Treats
340g porridge oats
3 Tbsp golden syrup
100g sultanas or mixed fruit
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Line a 28cm x 18cm x 3cm or 11in x 7in x 1.2in baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
Gently heat the butter and golden syrup in a large saucepan on the hob until the butter has melted, stir well to mix. Don't let it boil!
Once the butter has melted take the saucepan off the heat and add the oats, sugar, sultanas and pinch of salt. Thorough mix everything until well combined and the oats are completely covered by the butter mixture.
Put the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth evenly into the corners. Bake in the oven for approximatly 15minutes, turn the tin around and bake for another 5 minutes until golden brown.
Once cooked remove the baking tray from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. With a bread and butter knife lightly mark out about 16 pieces before the flapjack completely sets. Cut up into pieces when completely cold.
Peanut Butter and Choc Chip Biscuits (I'll make 2 batches)
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Beat the peanut butter and sugar together in a bowl. Mix in the beaten egg thoroughly, then mix in the chocolate chips. The mixture will be quite stiff. I usually use my hand held electric mixer.
Roll tablespoonfuls into balls and put on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Flatten firmly with a fork.
Bake at 180C for 15-18 minutes until the biscuits are cooked and lightly browned. Transfer to a cake rack to cool and then keep in an airtight container.
Rice Pudding (Lunchbox treat, afterschool snack or pudding)
65g long grain white rice
pinch of salt
50g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
50g sultanas or mixed fruit (optional)
In a medium sized, heavy bottomed saucepan combine the milk and rice with a pinch of salt. Place saucepan over a fairly high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the rice is tender. This usually takes about 25 minutes. Stir the milk mixture frequently using a heatproof rubber spatula or wooden spoon to stop the rice from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
When the rice is tender (al dente) take the saucepan off the heat and sugar, vanilla extract, and ground cinnamon. Mix well to combine. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook until the rice pudding thickens, this should take about 5 - 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the sultanas if you are using them. Spoon the pudding into a bowl to cool and cover with clingfilm to stop a skin forming. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. To make this into more of a Mullerice type treat add some jam or golden syrup to swirl through the rice pudding. You could also add dried apricots or dates instead of sultanas if you have some in your store cupboard.
Cost of 40 items was £61.49 from ASDA on 14/01/12.
Packets and Cereals
1x ASDA Smartprice Porridge Oats (1Kg) 75p
1x ASDA Smartprice Plain White Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (500g) 61p
1x ASDA Plain Chocolate Drops (100g) 55p
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
1x ASDA East Bake Yeast (42g) 64p
2x ASDA Wholefoods Bread Brown Flour (1.5Kg) £1.10
1x Sunnybisk Wheat Biscuits (48 per pack - 864g) £1.59
1x ASDA Freshly Frozen Mixed Vegetables (1Kg) £1.00
1x ASDA Smartprice Peas (907g) 85p
Tins, Jars and Cooking
4x Napolina Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice (400g) 50p was £1.00
3x ASDA Naturally Sweet Sweetcorn in Water (326g) 43p
1x ASDA Good for you! Mayonnaise (500ml) 79p
2x ASDA Smartprice Crunchy Peanut Butter (340g) 92p
2x ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g) 70p
1x ASDA Green Lentils in Water (400g) 47p
1x ASDA Red Kidney Beans in Water (400g) 42p
Dairy and Eggs
6x ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £1.18 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x ASDA Smartprice Salted Butter (250g) £1.19
1x ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g) 55p
2x ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15) £2.00 was £2.50
2x ASDA English Medium Cheddar (400g) £2.00 was £2.48
Fruit and Vegetables
1x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Fruit (500g) 64p
1x ASDA Salad Tomatoes (750g) £1.57
20 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) 10p
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) 6.8p
3 ASDA White Cabbage by Weight (100g) 8.9p
20 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) 8p
1x ASDA Smartprice Mushrooms (750g) £1.35
10 ASDA Onions by Weight (100g) 7.6p
5 ASDA Butternut Squash by Weight (100g) 7.5p
2x ASDA Whole Cucumber 80p
3x ASDA Round Lettuce 57p
1x ASDA Celery 83p
2x ASDA Baking Potatoes (2.5Kg) £1.00
3x ASDA Garlic Loose 30p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.47
Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x ASDA Unsmoked Back Bacon Thick Cut (12 per pack - 530g) £4.00 any 3 FOR £10.00
1x ASDA Extra Special Pork Sausages (10 per pack - 756g) £3.90 any 3 FOR £10.00
1x ASDA British Beef Mince (900g) £3.75 any 3 FOR £10.00