Welcome to my blog!

Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Our Meal Plan For This Week - 06/02

This is the Meal Plan my family will be following this week. It cost £62.85 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 £72.65 at Tesco and £82.54 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.

Our Meal Plan this week is not particularly complicated or adventurous. It will be a busy week with some evenings when we have school events, etc going on so I need quick and easy meals that I know the family will eat without any fuss. I hope you enjoy our Meal Plan for this week as much as we hopefully will.

Dinners

Vegetable Nachos - Monday

1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 x 400g tins chilli beans
1 can whole corn kernels, drained
1 large packet tortillas
1 cup grated cheese

Preheat oven to 200°C

Put a non-stick fry pan onto a moderate heat, add a little oil and saute the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes or until the onion softens.

Stir in the chilli beans, corn and tinned chopped tomatoes.  Bring mixture to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Simmer the mixture uncovered, for 15 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Stir occasionally so the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the fryingpan.

Cut the tortillas in to triangles, put them on a lightly greased oven tray and cook for 5 minutes or so until they are crisp.  To serve, divide the homemade tortilla chips amongst plates and pour the thickened bean mixture over the top.  Sprinkle with grated cheese which will melt with the heat of the bean mixture. 


Mince and Pasta Bake - Tuesday

350g lean beef mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic diced
1 pepper, deseeded and diced
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tblsp Tomato paste
1/2 beef stock cube
1 Tblsp sugar
1 Tblsp corn flour
1 Tblsp water
300g dried pasta
1 Tblsp butter or oil
1 heaped Tblsp plain flour
250ml milk
1/2 cup grated cheese

Brown the mince in a frying pan over a miderately high heat.  Add the chopped onion, crushed garlic and diced pepper and continue cooking until the vegetables have softened.  Pour in the chopped tomatoes, add the tomato paste, herbs, 1/2 a stock cube, sugar and Worcestershire sauce then simmer for 10-15 minutes. While the sauce is simmering cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions and make the cheese sauce.

Melt the butter or oil is a small saucepan, turn the heat to low and stir in the flour. Mix well and then, using a whisk, gradually add the milk.  Add the milk a little at a time, stirring continuously, to create a smooth and lump free sauce. When all the milk has  been added swap the whisk for a wooden spoon and stir the sauce continuously until it begins to thicken.  Do not allow it to boil!  When the sauce will coat the back of a spoon, stir in the grated cheese, mix well and set aside.

Drain the pasta and stir it into the meat sauce.  Put the pasta and meat sauce mixture into a large ovenproof dish and smooth the top.  Spoon the cheese sauce over the top and grill or bake until the top is golden.


Vegetable Fritters - Wednesday

2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups grated courgette, or 1 tin of whole kernel corn, drained
1 Tblsp fresh mint, finely chopped (optional)
125ml cup milk
125g grated cheddar cheese
1 Tblsp vegetable oil

Beat the eggs with about half of the milk.  Stir in the flour and grated courgette (or corn) and mint. Add more milk, if necessary.  If the mixture is too runny, add a little more flour.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan.  Put spoonfuls of the mixture into pan to form fritters.  I usually cook about 3 in the pan at once.  Once the mixture bubbles, turn the fritter over and cook the other side until golden.

Put the cooked fritters on a kitchen towel and keep warm in the oven until the whole batch has been made.

I serve these with homemade potato wedges and homemeade tomato chutney or tomato salsa.


Chunky Minestrone with Homemade Meatballs - Thursday

350 g beef mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, finely sliced
2 small courgettes, roughly chopped
400 g can chopped tomatoes
2 Tblsp tomato paste
1 Litre of beef stock
400g tin cannellini beans, drained
400g tin kidney beans, drained
300g dried pasta
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 handful fresh basil leaves (optional)

In a large saucepan, gently fry the onion and garlic over a low heat until the onion is transparent.  Add the  carrots, celery, courgettes, and any other veggies you have on hand that need using up.  Make sure that the vegetables are all cut to the same size so that they cook evenly.  Cook the vegetables over a medium heat until the carrots start to soften.

Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and stock and bring to a gentle simmer.  Add cannellini beans, half the can of kidney beans and pasta and simmer gently for at least 20 minutes or until the pasta has softened.

While soup is simmering, make tiny meatballs.  Mix the beef mince with the dried mixed herbs, a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Each meatball should be about a heaped teaspoon.  This may seem really small but it means the mince goes much further and the meatballs won't break up in the minestrone, they'll also cook really quickly too.

Fry the meatballs in a little olive oil until they're lightly browned all over. When pasta has softened add the meatballs and fresh basil (if you're using it) and stir them through. Simmer the Minestrone for another 5-10 minutes then serve.



Mixed Vegetable Frittata - Friday

3 Tblsp oil
300g pumpkin, peeled and diced
300g potato, peeled and diced
6 eggs
Handful or two of frozen mixed vegetables
Salt and pepper to season

Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan (about 24cm diameter).  Add the potatoes and pumpkin to the fryingpan and cook over a moderate heat for about 10 minutes or until they're tender.  Add the frozen mixed vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes to warm them through.

Beat the eggs and seasoning together in a bowl. Pour over the potato and vegetable mixture and cook without stirring over a low heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until the egg has set.

Once the egg has set, sprinkle grated cheese over the top and put the fryingpan under the grill until the cheese has melted and bubbles.  I serve this with homemade tomato chutney and a simple side salad.


Slow Cooker Beef Casserole – Saturday, and as pasties on Sunday

1 kg casserole beef
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 peppers, deseeded and diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celerly sticks, finely sliced
2 Tblsp plain flour
2 Tblsp tomato paste
250ml beef stock
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 Tblsp dried oregano
400g can cannellini beans, well drained

Cut the casserole beef into 2.5cm-3cm pieces and season the beef with salt and pepper.  If you have time, brown the meat in a frying pan over a high heat and then transfer to the slow cooker.

Scatter the onion, garlic, peppers, diced carrot and sliced celery over the beef.  Stir the flour, tomato paste, beef stock and dried oregano together to make a smooth paste and pour over the beef. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir well and put the lid on the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-5 hours. Add the cannellini beans, stir to mix through and allow to heat through for about 10 minutes before you serve the casserole.  I usually serve this with mashed potatoes.

To make pasties, make sure the sauce of the casserole is nice and thick.  Cut squares from puff pastry rolled out to the thickness of a £1 coin.  Put a few tablespoonfuls of the casserole into the middle of each square then draw up the pastry around the filling and crimp to seal.  Bake in an oven preheated to 200C for about 20 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked.


Lunches

Weekday Lunches

Leftovers or Tuna, Mayo and Sweetcorn Sandwiches or Savoury Pastry Swirls with carrot and cucumber sticks and an apple.

Savoury Pastry Swirls

These are a delicious lunchbox treat, picnic lunch or tummy filler for after school guests. They can be frozen so are a great standby to have lurking in your freezer. You can alter the fillings to suit your taste, budget or occasion so they are very versatile.

2 sheets frozen pre-rolled flaky puff pastry, thawed
2 Tblsp tomato sauce, chutney or relish
1 cup grated Mature Cheddar cheese
2 Tblsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley

Other filling suggestions: – well drained sauteed onion and pepper, chopped ham, crispy bacon, sliced salami or chorizo instead of the bacon, finely sliced mushrooms, pesto, drained and chopped roasted peppers or olive slices.

Join the 2 sheets of pastry together by brushing the edges with a little water and crimping with a fork to make a very large rectangle.  You need to make sure it's a really secure join. Brush the pastry with tomato sauce/relish/chutney and then sprinkle with the cheese and whatever other fillings you are using. Sprinkle with the chopped fresh herbs.

Tightly roll the pastry up from the short side, a bit like making sushi, and secure the edge so it won't unroll.  To get a good secure seal, wet the edge of the pastry and use a fork to crimp edge of the pastry to the rest of the roll. Wrap each of the rolls in clingfilm and chill them in the fridge for at least an hour, this makes them much easier to handle. The rolls can also be frozen at this stage for up to a month.

To cook the rolls, preheat your oven to 200°C. Line two oven trays with non-stick baking paper and spray well with cooking spray.

Slice the rolls (this can be done even if they're still frozen) into 1/2 cm slices and lay them flat on the trays. Leave room for them to spread.  Bake the pastry swirls for 10 – 15 minutes until they are puffed up and golden. Take the trays out of the oven, turn the pinwheels over and bake them for another 5 minutes to make sure they're evenly brown.  Cool them on a wire rack and serve them warm or leave them to cool and pack in lunchboxes or take them on a picnic.



Weekend Lunches

Baked Beans on toast

Twice Baked Potatoes

Breakfasts

Weekday breakfasts will be Weetabix/Porridge and milk with a banana or toast with spread and a banana.

Weekend Breakfasts

Eggs and Soldiers

Pancakes

Treats and Puddings

Chelsea Buns

225g strong white bread flour
25g caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
25g softened butter – for the dough
1 1/2 tsp fast action dried yeast
1 free range egg, beaten
90ml warm milk
25g butter, softened – for the filling
65g light muscovado sugar
120g dried fruit

Combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into a mixing bowl.  Make a well in the centre and add the softened butter, egg and milk. Mix to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth, which takes about 10 minutes by hand.  Once the dough is smooth, put it into a lightly greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove until it has doubled in size.

If like me you have a stand mixer, just bung everything in and knead it with the dough hook attachment for about 5- 7 minutes on a low speed.  Then cover the dough and leave it to prove until doubled in size.  Again I do this in my stand mixer as it has a splashguard thingy that seals the top of the bowl and provides the perfect cosy place for the dough to rise.

Once the dough has proved, roll it out on a floured work surface.  You will need to roll it out into a rectangle shape about 30 cm x 20 cm.  Spread the softened butter as evenly as you can over the dough. Sprinkle the sugar and the dried fruit on top, and gently press them it into the butter. 

Roll up the dough starting with the longest side.  Seal the edge by gently rubbing the edge of the dough into the roll.  Turn the roll over so that the seal is underneath and cut the roll into about 8 - 10 evenly sized buns.

Put the buns, cut side down, onto a lightly greased and lined oven tray (or use a 20cm cake tin) and leave to prove until the dough has doubled in size once again.  If you use a cake tin they will all join together into one big Chelsea bun muddle.  If you prefer them separate then use the oven tray method.  Bake at 180C for about 15 - 20 minutes.

Once the buns are cooked, leave them to cool on a wire rack, and eat them as soon as you like.  You can even slather them with a little icing if you want a real sugar rush LOL



Spiced Apple Muffins

3 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp each ginger and mixed spice
375ml milk
1 cup finely diced peeled apple
2 free range eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup sultanas or dried fruit (optional)
100g butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 200ÂșC. Grease 16-18 standard muffin tin holes or line them with paper cases. 

Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and spices into a bowl and make a well in the centre.

Beat together the milk, apple, eggs, butter and vanilla extract.  Fold into the dry ingredients, adding the sultanas or dried fruit, if you're using them.

Three-quarters fill the muffin cases bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until well risen, golden and cooked through.

Remove the muffins from the oven and serve warm or leave to cool and pack into lunchboxes.

Brooklyn Apple & Cinnamon Muffin


I will probably also make some Rice Pudding for puddings and a crumble using cooked apple or frozen berries from the depths of the freezer.


Rice Pudding (Lunchbox treat or pudding)

600ml whole milk
65g long grain white rice
pinch of salt
50g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
50g sultanas (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.



Berry Crumble

500g mixed frozen berries or sliced fresh apple
1/4 cup caster sugar

Topping:
1/3 cup brown or white sugar
1/2 cup self-raising flour or 1/2 cup plain flour and 1tsp baking powder
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
60g butter, diced or grated

Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 1 litre capacity ovenproof dish.

To make the crumble topping combine sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon in a bowl. Rub the in butter until totally combined. If you grate the butter in to the bowl, this process takes next to no time at all.

Mix the berries and sugar together thoroughly in a bowl then put them in the bottom of the ovenproof dish. Evenly sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top. Put the overnproof dish in to the oven, on a baking tray, and bake for about half an hour or until the crumble topping is golden. Serve with ice-cream and/or custard.

Leftover crumble makes a fab lunchbox treat, especially for grown ups with access to a microwave and a small pot of custard. Not that I'm admitting to anything! LOL



Shopping List
 
39 items. £62.85

Packets and Cereals
1x ASDA Scottish Porridge Oats (500g) 55p
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg) 99p
2x ASDA Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg) 60p
1x ASDA Smartprice Plain White Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
2x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 30p
2x ASDA Ready to Roll Puff Pastry (500g) £1.00
1x ASDA East Bake Yeast (42g) 64p
1x ASDA Wholefoods Bread Brown Flour (1.5Kg) £1.10
1x Sunnybisk Wheat Biscuits (48 per pack - 864g) £1.68

Tins, Jars and Cooking
1x Branston Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce (4x410g) £1.00 was £1.50
7x ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g) 42p
2x ASDA Cannellini Beans in Water (300g) 58p
2x ASDA Chilli Beans (290g) 54p
2x ASDA Smartprice Red Kidney Beans in Water (400g) 19p
3x ASDA Smartprice Sweetcorn (326g) 39p
1x ASDA Smartprice Mayonnaise (500ml) 48p
1x ASDA Double Concentrated Tomato Puree (200g) 48p
1x The Reel Fish Co Pole & Line Tuna Chunks in Spring Water (3x185g) £3.49 was £4.29

Frozen
2x ASDA Freshly Frozen Mixed Vegetables (1Kg) £1.00
2x ASDA Diced Casserole Beef (454g) £2.00 was £2.50

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
2x Cathedral City Extra Mature Cheddar (350g) £2.00 was £4.38
2x ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15) £2.00 was £2.50

Fruit and Vegetables
1x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Fruit (500g) 64p
20 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) 10p
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) 6.8p
20 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) 8p
10 ASDA Courgettes by Weight (100g) 16p
8 ASDA Onions by Weight (100g) 7.6p
2x ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £1.35 any 2 FOR £2.00
4 ASDA Butternut Squash by Weight (100g) 9.7p
2x ASDA Whole Cucumber 80p
1x ASDA Celery 83p
2x ASDA Garlic Loose 30p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.47

Bakery
1x ASDA Plain Tortillas (10) £1.10

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x ASDA Lean Beef Mince (700g) £4.00

3 comments:

  1. Wow - I am amazed at the amount of information you've posted here! Really interesting reading. I particularly like the idea of using leftover stew to make pasties the following day - I had never thought of that before!

    Thanks so much for putting so much effort into this post :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks heaps for your lovely comment :o) I'm glad my tips are useful and are helping others save money. I must admit the blog post does take a while to write up LOL

    ReplyDelete
  3. All sounds delicious!

    Thanks for sharing and linking up.

    ReplyDelete