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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.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Our Family Meal Plan for Week of 06/08 - £72

It is the Summer school holidays here in the UK and trying to keep 3 active kids fed without needing to buy the entire supermarket is proving challenging. Lunches, if we are at home, will be substantial to cut down on afternoon snacking. If we are out we usually take our own lunch to save money, which is filling but not too heavy to carry.

Our raspberry and strawberry plants are doing us proud with a bumper harvest, as are the two apple trees in the back garden – great free food which saves us loads of money. We’ve also been foraging so have blackberries, cherries and plums to snack on – all for free. We've also got salad greens, chard, kale and spinach growing in our back garden which also helps to keep costs down and provides us with freshly picked salad leaves and greens to have with dinner.  I have added the cost of our usual fruit and vegetables to the Shopping List in this post to make it easier for those who don’t have access to free fruit to follow the Meal Plan. 

We’ve baked rather a lot these holidays so far which keeps the kids amused and also saves us more than a few pennies. My daughters love making their own bread, which I actively encourage, as it not only entertains them it provides us with lunch as well.  I have included the price of flour to make all of our own bread, wraps, bagels and fruitbread for the week within the Shopping List.

The cost of our Meal Plan this week was £72.32 online from Asda on 5th Augusst 2012.  I used My Supermarket to do my shopping and the same basket of groceries would've cost £82.00 at Sainsbury's and £83.13 from Tesco.

Breakfasts will be either toast or cereal and fruit for afters.  If I have time I might make fruitbread or bagels for a treat. 

Lunches

Vegetable Fritters

1 large potato
1 large carrot, grated
1 onion, finely diced
½ cup tinned sweetcorn, drained
1 cup tightly packed courgette, grated
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ - 1 tsp ground cumin (optional)
1 free range egg
250ml cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tblsp olive oil

Grate potatoes then squeeze out as much excess water and starch as you can with your hands.

Put the potato and all other ingredients, apart from the milk and oil, into a large bowl. Add the milk slowly whilst stirring the ingredients to combine them thoroughly. Cover the mixture and let the batter rest for half an hour.

Heat a large frying pan over a moderate heat, add the olive oil, then put large spoonfuls of the mixture into the frying pan Cook the fritters until they are golden brown on each side.

These fritters freeze well when wrapped individually in clingfilm. To eat from frozen put them in an oven preheated to 190°C for 10 minutes until heated through.


Crustless Salmon Quiche

1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
4 free range eggs, beaten
500ml milk
75g butter, melted
415g can pink salmon, drained
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp fresh chives, finely sliced

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Put the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs milk and butter. Combine to make a batter then stir through the salmon, onion, cheese and chives until they are just combined.

Pour into a large ovenproof dish which has been greased or lined with non-stick baking paper. Cook at 180C for about 45 minutes until the quiche is set. I usually serve mine with salad or steamed mixed vegetables.


Falafels

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 Dip with Mint and Cucumber

150ml natural yoghurt
2 Tblsp mayonnaise
Juice of 1/2 a lime or lemon
1 small or 1/2 a large cucumber, thickly grated then drained on kitchen roll
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 Tblsp chopped fresh mint leaves
Pinch of salt

Put the yoghurt, mayonnaise and lime/lemon juice in a bowl and whisk together well with a fork. Add the drained cucumber, garlic and chopped fresh mint leaves. 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.


Super Quick Chickpea and Couscous Salad

3/4 cup couscous
3/4 cup boiling water
1 tin of chickpeas, well drained
juice and zest of 1 lemon
small handful of toasted walnuts or hazelnuts, whole or roughly chopped
2 Tblsp olive oil
2 cups salad greens (roughly 2 large handfuls)
2 Tblsp chopped dried fruit (pears, 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 a 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, refridgerate until needed or serve immediately.


Vegetable Parcels

These are fab to keep in the freezer for weekend lunches, or after school snacks as well as lunchbox fillers. You can cary the fillings or use pumpkin instead of the sweet potato. I have been known to add some curry powder to the mashed sweet potato for an extra kick, or pesto mixed in to the mashed sweet potato works well too.

1 small sweet potato, peeled and roughly diced
1 small carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 potato (Maris Piper is a good type to use), peeled and finely chopped
1 handful of frozen peas
1 small can of sweetcorn, rinsed and drained
1 handful of grated Cheddar cheese
2 eggs, lightly whisked
3 sheets ready-rolled frozen shortcrust pastry, just thawed

Preheat oven to 220°C. Line an oven tray with non-stick baking paper. Cook the sweet potato in a medium saucepan of boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender and then drain it well. Transfer it to a heatproof bowl and use a fork to mash it smooth. Set it aside to cool in the bowl.

Meanwhile, cook the carrot and potato in a saucepan of boiling water for around 5 minutes or until they're tender. Make sure you drain them well and then set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

Add the cooked potato and carrots, peas, corn, cheese and 1 egg to the mashed sweet potato and stir everything to combine it well. Season with salt and pepper if you think it needs it.

Use a 12cm diameter pastry cutter to cut 12 circles from the pastry sheets. Spoon the vegetable mixture evenly amongst the circles of pastry. Brush the edges of the pastry circles lightly with the remaining egg.

Fold the pastry circles in half to enclose the filling and use your fingertips to gently press and crimp the edges together to seal them. Put the parcels on the lined baking tray and lightly brush them with the remaining egg.

Bake the parcels in the oven for 15 minutes or until they're golden brown and cooked through. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool. Once they're completely cool, wrap them and put them in lunch boxes.

As an added bonus you can freeze these parcels unbaked. Just before you bake them, put in an airtight container in the freezer. When you're ready to defrost them, put them in the fridge for around 4 hours to defrost and then bake them for 15 - 20 minutes at 220°C.


Dinners

Spicy Rice with Chickpeas and Spinach – Meatfree Monday

This is a quick, healthy and delicious family dinner for a Meatfree Monday or any day of the week. My daughters like it with some poppadoms on the side and mango chutney. Give it a go, it works well as a side dish too.

1 ½ cups basmati or long grain rice
1 Tblsp olive oil
3 carrots, roughly diced
1 pepper, roughly diced
1 leek, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp mild curry powder
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
400ml vegetable stock, made with 1 stock cube
300ml water
200g spinach (fresh or frozen)
2 Tblsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 Tblsp chopped fresh mint leaves

Put the rice in a sieve and rinse it under cold running water until the water runs clear. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the roughly diced carrots, pepper, leek, garlic, raisins/sultanas and spices. Cook, stirring it occasionally for about 8 – 10 minutes or until the vegetables, especially the carrots, are tender.

Once the vegetables are tender add the chickpeas, rice, stock, and water. Bring everything to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook everything with the lid on the saucepan for 12 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and put the spinach over the top of the rice. Replace the lid on the saucepan and stand for 8 minutes. Uncover the saucepan again and add the chopped fresh herbs. Stir everything together until well combined.


Chicken Traybake

1kg chicken drumsticks
2 large potatoes roughly chopped into chunks
300g squash chopped into chunks
1 head of garlic, unpeeled and in half widthways
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
125ml chicken stock

Preheat oven to 200ºC. Put the chicken in a large baking dish along with the prepared vegetables. Sprinkle over the dried mixed herbs.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Pour over the stock and bake for another 5 minutes so a gravy forms. Serve with rice or mash and steamed greens or vegetables.


Lentil Bolognese

This is so versatile! It can be served with pasta, baked potatoes, polenta or homemade gnocchi. I sometimes made double because it freezes well and is great to have in your freezer as a quick fix meal option. If you really have to you could add some beef mince or soy mince to bulk it out more.

1 cup red lentils, uncooked
2 Tblsp oil
1 onion, diced
1 pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 Tblsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper to taste

Pasta and 2 handfuls of frozen mixed vegetables (cooked), to serve.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Pour in the lentils and stir them around to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Boil the lentils for 8-10 minutes or until soft.

Heat the oil in a medium pan and sauté the pepper, onion and garlic until softened. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and herbs, then stir in the lentils. Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until the flavours develop.

Serve with pasta cooked according to packet instructions. When the pasta has about 3 minutes left to cook toss in a handful or two of frozen mixed vegetables.


Slow Cooker Meatballs

500g beef mince
½ cup uncooked long-grain rice
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, etc) or 3 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 large onion, finely diced
1 pepper, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely sliced/diced
500g homemade or store bought pasta sauce
375 ml beef stock or water

Turn the slow cooker on to low to preheat whilst you chop all the vegetables.

In a bowl, mix together the mince, rice and fresh herbs with a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Roll tablespoonfuls into balls and set aside for a few minutes.

Put the onion, pepper, carrot and celery Into the slow cooker. Mix together the cook-homemade pasta sauce and beef stock then pour into the slow cooker. Stir to mix thoroughly with the vegetables.

Put the meatballs on top of the sauce in the slow cooker and then cover with the lid. Cook on low for 6–7 hours or on high for 3–4 hours. Serve with mash/pasta/baked potatoes and steamed mixed vegetables.


Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

2 Tblsp vegetable oil
2 Tblsp butter
1 onion, cut into wedges
1kg chicken thighs, cut into large pieces
2 Tblsp mild curry powder
3 Tblsp tandoori paste
2 tsp garam masala
1 cup tomato paste
400ml coconut milk
250ml natural yoghurt

In a frying pan heat the oil and butter over a moderate heat. Brown the chicken thighs and soften the onion. Add the curry powder, tandoori paste, tomato paste and garam masala and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

Add the coconut milk with the yoghurt and half a cup of water. Pour the whole lot into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 3-4 hours then serve with rice and vegetables.


Fish Pie

1 onion, finely diced
1 Tblsp oil
425g tin tuna or salmon in water, drained
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
200g spinach
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
700g potatoes for mash topping
1 cup grated cheese to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 200C.

Cook the potatoes in boiling water and mash, seasoning to taste.

Mix together the tuna/salmon, frozen mixed vegetables, spinach and tinned tomatoes in an oven-proof dish. Cover with mashed potatoes and grated cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is golden. I usually serve this with steamed broccoli or cauliflower.


Chicken Goujons

2 chicken breast fillets
1/3 cup plain flour
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
¼ cup oil

Cut chicken into strips approximately 1cm thick and about 10cm long. Toss the strips of chicken in flour, shake off excess. In a bowl whisk eggs, add garlic, salt and pepper. Cover chicken strips beaten egg then roll in breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a deep frying pan and fry the chicken strips in two batches until golden brown. We’ll be having ours in wraps with salad.


Baking and Treats


Homemade Muesli Bars

1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
500g muesli
100g mixed dried fruit

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.


Quick and Easy Banana Cake

I have several over-ripe bananas lurking in my freezer. Whenever we have over-ripe bananas I freeze then so that I have some available to use as a base for smoothies as well as baking muffins, caramelising them to have with pancakes and for baking this cake.

125g butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
500-600g (unpeeled weight) spotty over-ripe bananas
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a round 23cm square cake tin with non-stick baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, mash the bananas and beat well in to the mixture. It will look curdled but don't panic. Beat in the eggs one at a time adding 1/2 a cup of the flour so the mixture comes together. Add the last 1 cup of flour (and vanilla if using) then beat for one minute on low speed or until well combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin andamp; gently shake to level, don't bang it. Bake in oven at 180°C for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the cake tin for 10 minutes to cool slightly before transferring the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.


My Favourite Tea Bread

1 cup sultanas or raisins
1 tsp mixed spice
1tsp cinnamon
25g butter
1 cup hot strong tea (without milk)
1 cup 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 to stand until cold.

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 24 hours before cutting but never lasts that long in our house.

Shopping List

49 items: £72.32

Packets and Cereals
1x ASDA Smartprice Cornflakes (750g) 46p
1x ASDA Smartprice Muesli (1Kg) £1.18
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg) 88p was 98p
1x Asda Wholefoods Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg) 60p
1x ASDA Wholemeal Bread Flour (1.5Kg) £1.28
1x ASDA Smartprice Plain White Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Easy Cook Long Grain Brown Rice (1Kg) £1.61 was £1.79
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
1x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 30p
1x Great Scot Red Split Lentils (500g) £1.28
1x ASDA Wholefoods Cous Cous (1Kg) £1.35
1x ASDA Chosen by You Ready to Roll Puff Pastry (500g) £1.00
1x Asda Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g) 64p

Tins, Jars and Cooking
2x ASDA Wild Pacific Pink Salmon (418g) £4.34
2x ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g) 62p
2x ASDA Sweet Sweetcorn in Water (326g) 90p
1x ASDA Good for you! Mayonnaise (250ml) 48p
4x ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g) £2.80
1x ASDA Double Concentrated Tomato Puree (200g) 48p
2x Kingfisher Coconut Milk (400ml) £2.00 was £1.40
1x ASDA Chosen by You Bolognese Pasta Sauce (735g) £1.00

Frozen
2x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg) £1.50

Dairy and Eggs
6x ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £6.00
1x Country Life English Butter (250g) £1.00
1x Nestle Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk (397g) £1.44
2x ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g) £1.10
1x ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15) £2.50
2x ASDA Smartprice Mature Cheddar (334g) £4.08

Fruit and Vegetables
1x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Fruit (500g) 64p
20 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) £2.00
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) £1.36
15 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) £1.17
4 ASDA Courgettes by Weight (100g) 64.8p
3 ASDA Leeks by Weight (100g) 77.7p
10 ASDA Red Onions by Weight (100g) 90p
2x ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £2.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
10 ASDA Tomatoes by Weight (100g) £1.99
4 ASDA Butternut Squash by Weight (100g) 34.8p
5 ASDA Sweet Potatoes by Weight (100g) 57.5p
2x ASDA Whole Cucumber 80p
1x ASDA Celery 89p
1x ASDA Garlic Loose 27p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.50
1x ASDA Spring Onions 70p
2x ASDA Spinach (350g) £1.50

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x ASDA Butcher's Selection British Beef Mince (500g) £2.00
3 ASDA Free Range Chicken Breast Fillets (100g) £3.83
20 ASDA Free Range Corn Fed Chicken Legs (100g) £6.16

Prices and special offers reflect those of the Asda online grocery store on the My Supermarket website, and were correct as of 5th August 2012.

4 comments:

  1. My strawberry plants have had a really bad year - too much rain down here in Cornwall! Loving the sound of the slow cooker chicken curry - using my slow cooker loads at the moment.

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  2. OMG! You are SO organised and what a great menu plan too....I have also liberated my slow cooker! Karen

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  3. Hi there! This is fab, can you freeze the quiche? If so at what stage do you freeze it? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Ella, you can freeze the quiche once it has been cooked. Defrost it thoroughly then heat it through until it is piping hot.

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