This is our Meal Plan for Half Term Week. In theory our Meal Plan shouldn't cost much more than usual but with outings planned, visitors coming for lunch or afternoon tea, us taking baking to friends when we visit, and 3 children who love to bake, holiday Meal Plans are inevitably slightly more expensive than usual. I have included extras such as butter, icing sugar, cocoa, light soft brown sugar and extra flour for baking and bread making.
This Meal Plan cost £70.21 from Asda online today, and I used My Supermarket to check which supermarket was the cheapest to purchase my trolley of 43 items of groceries from. The same trolley of groceries would've cost £82.99 at Tesco and £92.90 at Sainsburys.
The plan for this week includes quite a bit of baking, lunches that are easy to make and filling as well as being portable should we have outings planned. As usual I will be baking all our own bread, fruit bread, rolls, etc. I will have extra help making them this week as my 3 girls are all keen bread bakers. The art of cleaning up, washing dishes and the importance of hygiene are key skills that all 3 girls have learnt along with baking techniques so my kitchen is cleaned by them, properly and thoroughly, before and after every baking session. Oh yes, they are VERY well trained! ;o)
Ham, Chips and Mixed Vegetables - Monday
I'll be roasting a large gammon joint and we'll have some for dinner and the rest will be used in various recipes for lunches throughout the week. I will, as always, make my own oven baked chips and cook some frozen mixed vegetables to have on the side.
One Pot Mince in a Hurry - Tuesday
450g beef mince
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 pepper, deseeded and diced
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
2 Tbsp oil
2 tsp Vegemite (or Marmite)
1 Tbsp flour
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables
Cook the onion, pepper, celery and beef mince in the oil in a large saucepan for 5 minutes until the onion has softened and the mince has browned. Break up the mince with a spoon as it browns.
Mix together the Vegemite, flour, tins of tomatoes and water and pour it all over mince. Stir in the sweet potato, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sweet potato is almost cooked. Add the frozen mixed vegetables and stir to mix them through. Cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste then serve with a homemade wholemeal roll to soak up the sauce.
Macaroni Cheese - Wednesday
I make my own cheese sauce from a roux base and add sauteed onion, garlic, pepper and mushrooms for extra flavour. I sometimes add a handful or two of frozen mixed vegetables towards the end of the pasta cooking time to bulk out the meal and add more vegetables to what can sometimes be a slightly stodgy meal.
Sausages, Mixed Vegetables and Mash - Thursday
Nothing fancy here, just grilled sausages, cooked mixed vegetables and mashed potato. You could make some gravey to have with it if you like but my family like some homemade tomato relish with the sausages for extra flavour.
Vegetable Curry - Friday
500g pumpkin, peeled and diced
2 Tblsp oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 can of coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
2 handfuls of frozen mixed vegetables
Put the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion, garlic and spices. Add the coconut milk and chopped pumpkin. Bring everything to the boil and then lower the heat so the curry can simmer until pumpkin is only just tender. Add a couple of handfuls of frozen mixed vegetables and simmer for another 5 minutes or so until the vegetables are heated through and the sauce has reduced. Serve with rice and homemade naan breads.
Sausage Casserole - Saturday
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
1 pepper, deseeded and diced
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 x 300g tin chilli beans
2 Tblsp tomato paste
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
Add onion and garlic to pan, cook on medium heat for a few minutes. Add the sliced celery and pepper and stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, chilli beans and tomato paste. Simmer for around 10 minutes, or until celery is soft. Return sausages to pan, add the frozen mixed vegetables and heat for a further 5 minutes. Serve with rice or mashed potato. I’ll be serving mine with rice.
Meatballs in Tomato Sauce - Sunday
450g beef mince
1 large free range egg
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 large handful each fresh parsley and basil, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp paprika
1 onion, finely diced
1 pepper, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
125ml beef stock
1 tsp of dried rosemary and basil or 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
Make the tomato sauce first. The longer it has to simmer, the better it will taste. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large saucepan and gently sauté the onion, pepper and garlic together until onion has softened and is transparent. Add all of the remaining sauce ingredients and bring everything to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down so that the sauce can simmer gently, uncovered, for at least 15 minutes until it thickens.
While sauce is simmering, thoroughly mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl. Once everything has been thoroughly combined take 1 Tblsp of mixture and shape into a meatball, continue until all the mixture has been used.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying-pan. Brown the meatballs all over and then put them into the sauce to cook for around 15 – 20 minutes until they are properly cooked through.
Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions add the frozen mixed vegetables for the last 5 minutes of pasta cooking time. Serve the meatballs and tomato sauce with spaghetti and mixed vegetables.
Half Term Week Lunches
200g dry chickpeas or 2 x 425g cans cooked chickpeas
60ml lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 Tblsp tahini paste
1-2 Tblsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Put the dry chickpeas into a large saucepan. Cover with plenty of cold water and let them sit overnight to swell and double in size.
The next day, drain off the water and thoroughly rinse them. Add about 2 litres of fresh cold water, bring it to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. The chickpeas should have a soft, creamy texture. Drain the cooked chickpeas and then rinse them in cold water.
If you’re using tinned chickpeas, rinse them twice in cold water and drain them well before using.
Put chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic and tahini into a food processor (or put into a bowl if using a stick blender). Process briefly; add olive oil and seasoning to taste. Mix to a semi soft texture. Cover and keep in the fridge, it keeps for 2 – 3 days.
I usually serve crudités with the hummus as a side dish or a great tummy filler if we are out and about.
Savoury Bread Cases
These tasty morsels are great for kids parties as well as lunches and packed lunches. You can vary the fillings according to your needs and tastes. Tuna or salmon and cream cheese works well. You can serve them hot or cold. I’ve made them using fruit bread and chocolate spread topped with fresh fruit or filled with berry compote with a dollop of mascarpone on the top.
Oil (for greasing miffin tins)
Grease muffin tins with a little cooking oil. Roll slices of bread slightly to flatten them a little and then line the muffin cases with the bread slices. Bake at 190C for 10 minutes until crisp and lightly golden. Fill with hot filling and serve.
Ham and Sweetcorn Corn Filling
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 pepper, finely diced
2 tsp oil
1 (310 g) can creamy sweet corn
2 thick slices of ham
1 Tblsp chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion and pepper until the onion has softened and is transparent. Add the tin of creamy sweetcorn. Chop ham into small cubes and add to the frying pan with the fresh parsley. Heat until bubbling. Fill bread cases and serve.
Ham, Cheese and Tomato or Vegemite Cheese and Tomato Toasted Sandwiches
Homemade Pizza or Calzone
Carrot and Coriander Soup
1 large onion, diced
1 large sweet potato
1 Tblsp dried coriander
1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 400ml boiling water
1 Tblsp vegetable oil
Ground black pepper
Peel and chop the sweet potato and carrots into smallish chunks. Saute the onion in the oil for a couple of minutes until it’s softened. Add the ground coriander and stir for 1 more minute. Put the carrots and sweet potatoes into the saucepan and add the stock and milk.
Bring everything to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. When the vegetables are tender blend the soup with a stick blender until smooth and then serve with homemade bread rolls.
Breakfasts will be porridge with sliced banana, eggy bread or toast with spread. We might have crumpets or pancakes on the weekend but during the week breakfasts will be fairly simple so we can get on with our day, especially if we have an outing planned. At some point during the week I have promised that we will have Floating Bread which is a favourite treat of mine from my childhood.
Treats and Snacks
Chocolate Peppermint Slice
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups light soft brown sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut (optional)
3 cups cornflakes or crushed Weetabix
250g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 Tblsp butter, melted
Peppermint extract, to taste
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 Tblsp cocoa powder
1 Tblsp butter, melted
Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, coconut (if you are using it) and cornflakes or Weetabix, and make a well in the centre.
Stir the melted butter and vanilla extract into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Press the mixture into a lined 33cm x 23cm slice tin. I use a potato masher to make sure it’s well pressed down and even.
Bake at 180°C for 25 minutes. Cool 15 - 20 minutes before icing the base with peppermint icing. Set aside in the fridge for 30 minutes until the icing has set.
Carefully spread over the chocolate icing and allow to set. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.
To make the peppermint icing:
Sift icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and enough hot water to make a thick icing. Flavour with peppermint extract.
To make the chocolate icing:
Sift icing sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and enough hot water to make a thick icing.
100g butter, softened but not melted
1¼ cups light soft brown sugar
1 Tblsp golden syrup
1 Tblsp vanilla essence
2 large free range eggs
1 cup plain flour, sifted
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease and line a 23cm square cake tin.
In a large mixing bowl cream the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and vanilla extract, beating until the mixture is fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold the flour into the creamed mixture. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow the blondies to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into small squares to serve. Keep your blondies in the fridge.
100 grams butter
½ cup light brown sugar
1 large free range egg, beaten
½ cup golden syrup
½ cup milk
1½ cups plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat well to thoroughly combine. Gradually mix in the golden syrup and milk.
Sift the flour, mixed spice, ginger and baking soda together and carefully fold them into the butter mixture. Spoon into a 20 cm square cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper or well greased.
Bake at 180C for 35 minutes or until the ginger cake springs back when lightly pressed in the centre. Leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack to cool completely.
Easy Tea Cake/Bread
This is a fab recipe if you feel like cake but have run out of eggs. It keeps well in a tin and is great warm straight from the oven with custard. Not that I'm admitting to anything.
1 cup sultanas or raisins
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup hot strong tea (without milk)
1 cup light soft brown sugar, firmly packed
2 or 2 1/4 cups self raising flour
Measure the sultanas, mixed spice, cinnamon and butter in to a medium sized bowl. Pour hot recently made tea over them and leave them to stand until the mixture is cold. It may look as attractive as a mud pie the kids make in the garden, but rest assured it smells much better than that, and will taste fab when it's cooked.
When the mixture is cold, add the brown sugar and self raising flour. If you use 2 cups of flour the tea bread will be more cake-like, whereas if you use 2 1/4 cups of flour the tea bread will be more bread like. Mix gently until just combined, don't overmix or the tea bread will be tough.
Line a 20cm cake tin, or a 23cm x 12cm loaf tin with baking paper and pour the mixture evenly in to it. Bake at 180C for 35-45 minutes in the cake tin, or 1 hour in the loaf tin, until a skewer pushed in to the middle comes out clean.
When cold store in an airtight container. It's best left for 24 hours, wrapped in clingfilm, before cutting and eating it but that hardly ever happens in our house.
200g self raising flour
Preheat oven to 220C or gas mark 7.
Sieve the flour into the mixing bowl. Rub the butter in to the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in any extra ingredients such as raisins/dates or cheese/herbs, if you want to. Gradually stir in the milk to form a soft dough. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 2cm thick.
Cut the dough into rounds or squares and put onto a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper. Collect any dough trimmings together, roll them out and cut them out again.You should be able to make around 10 scones from this recipe.
Brush the scones with a little milk and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the scones have risen and turned golden.
Packets and Cereals
1x ASDA Smartprice Cornflakes (750g) 46p
1x ASDA Smartprice Porridge Oats (1Kg) 75p
1x ASDA Smartprice Spaghetti (500g) 25p
1x Silver Spoon Icing Sugar (500g) £1.09
1x ASDA Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg) 60p
2x ASDA Smartprice Plain White Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (500g) 71p
1x Silver Spoon Soft Light Brown Sugar (1Kg) £1.88
1x ASDA Smartprice Golden Syrup (680g) £1.08
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
1x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 30p
1x ASDA East Bake Yeast (42g) 64p
2x ASDA Wholefoods Bread Brown Flour (1.5Kg) £1.10
1x ASDA Organic Chick Peas (500g) 78p
Tins, Jars and Cooking
5x ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g) 42p
1x ASDA Chilli Beans (290g) 54p
3x ASDA Smartprice Sweetcorn (326g) 37p
1x King Fisher Coconut Milk (400ml) £1.00
Dairy and Eggs
6x ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £1.18 any 2 FOR £2.00
2x ASDA Smartprice Salted Butter (250g) £1.19
2x ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15) £2.00 was £2.50
1x ASDA English Medium Cheddar (400g) £2.48 any 2 FOR £4.00
1x ASDA Chosen by You English Mature Cheddar (400g) £2.48 any 2 FOR £4.00
1x Cadbury Bournville Cocoa Fairtrade (250g) £2.00
Fruit and Vegetables
2x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Fruit (500g) 64p
20 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) 10p
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) 6.8p
3x ASDA Lemons Loose 30p
20 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) 8p
1x ASDA Smartprice Mushrooms (750g) £1.29
10 ASDA Onions by Weight (100g) 7.6p
2x ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £1.35 any 2 FOR £2.00
7 ASDA Butternut Squash by Weight (100g) 9.7p
10 ASDA Sweet Potatoes by Weight (100g) 11.1p
2x ASDA Whole Cucumber 80p
1x ASDA Celery 83p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.57
Meat, Fish and Poultry
2x ASDA Extra Special Pork Sausages (6 per pack - 454g) £2.68 any 2 FOR £4.00
15 ASDA Smartprice Gammon Joint by Weight (100g) 37.8p
1x ASDA British Beef Mince (900g) £3.75 any 3 FOR £10.00
1x Macedonian Tahini Sesame Paste (300g) £1.98
4x Birds Eye Field Fresh Peas Carrots & Beans (480g) 50p