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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.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Our Family Dinners Meal Plan - The Super Savvy Shopper Edition

I do love a good bargain! It has to be a proper bargain though, not something bought then wasted or never used just because it was on offer.

I was with a friend on the way back home the other day and we popped in to the supermarket as she needed a few things.  It was about 1 hour before closing time so I immediately sprinted walked over to the reduced shelves hoping to score a bargain or two.  Our online shopping was due the next day so I had time to amend it if I was able to buy items that we needed much cheaper than usual.

I was in luck! There was a 830g pack of premium range beef mince that was on offer reduced from £4 to £3.23 then reduced for quick sale to £1.  There were also packs of 8 premium range sausages reduced from £2.40 to 75p.  I quickly put the pack of mince and 2 packs of sausages in my basket and headed to the reduced fruit and vegetables section.

I managed to buy a 1.2kg bag of carrots for 30p, 2 bags of peppers (5 in each bag) for 50p each, 2 heads of celery for 20p each and 2 bags of leeks for 30p each.  I was SO chuffed! I had enough meat and vegetables to make at least 5 dinners for my family of 5 and only spent £4.80 instead of £15.25 which is what the products would've usually cost at that particular supermarket.

I know I was lucky to find the bargains I did. I don't normally visit supermarkets late at night unless I am on the way home from somewhere and I am sure the bargains to be had vary widely each night.  However, it is a great way to save money on shopping if you can manage it.  The meat I bought was put in the freezer as soon as I got home and the vegetables straight in the fridge.  I then defrosted the meat when I was ready to cook with it and made 5 dinners for our family of 5 with little effort and energy.  It took me about an hour in total, including prep time, cooking and packing up the meals, and the time it took to wash the dishes.  We don't have a dishwasher, tis shocking!

Here's how:

I decided to make Simmered Mince Many Ways in my large slow cooker using the mince, 1 head of celery, 6 carrots, 1 pack of leeks and 5 peppers as well as garlic and onions.  Adding loads of vegetables not only bulks out the meal it is much better for you. 

I then made Sausage Casserole using 6 carrots, 1 head of celery, 1 pack of leeks and 5 peppers with a couple of cloves of garlic.  All the vegetables were chopped fairly finely and the only faff was the chopping required to prepare the vegetables.  I cooked the sausages whilst the vegetables for the Sausage Casserole were sweating down and then chopped them up, added them to the vegetables with added a few tins of chopped tomatoes, 1 Tblsp paprika and 250ml of vegetable stock.  I simmered the Sausage Casserole for about half an hour or so and it was done.

Once both huge pots of dinners had cooked and cooled I packaged them up in family dinner sized portions and put them in the freezer.  There was enough food for 5 generous dinners for my family, all I need to do is defrost and reheat the casserole and cook some potatoes, pasta, rice or crusty bread to go with it.  How easy is that!

If I add in the cost of the chopped tomatoes, garlic, herbs/spices and stock cubes (approximately £3.50) then the total cost for 5 dinners for our family of 5 using the bargains I snaffled was £8.30 instead of the usual £18.75 without the bargains.  That works out at 33p per portion of dinner!

To supplement our week of mince and sausage based meals I will be making a Pearl Barley Risotto and a Vegetable Curry that will break the monotony of the other dinners. 

I have, as usual, included a Shopping List of all the items I used to make the 7 dinners.  The items on the Shopping List are at full price so the cost of 7 dinners for my family of 5 was £24.92 at Asda on 30/09/2012.  Of course in reality it was much cheaper because of the massively reduced bargains I was lucky enough to find.  However I do think that £24.92 for 7 dinners for a family of 5, with some leftovers for lunches, is a pretty good deal. 

Shopping List

21 items: £24.92

Frozen
1x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg) 75p

Tins, Jars and Cooking
6x ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g) £1.86
1x Knorr Stock Cubes Vegetable (8x10g) £1.00

Fruit and Vegetables
1 ASDA Root Ginger by Weight (100g) 17.9p was 21.1p
3 ASDA Mushrooms by Weight (100g) 83.4p
1x ASDA Cauliflower Loose 50p
10 ASDA Red Onions by Weight (100g) 90p
1x ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £1.50 2 FOR £2.50
4 ASDA Tomatoes by Weight (100g) 40p
6 ASDA Butternut Squash by Weight (100g) 54p was 10.7p
2x ASDA Celery £1.78
2x ASDA Trimmed Leeks (500g) £2.00
2x ASDA Garlic Loose 60p
2x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £2.74
1x ASDA Carrots (1.2Kg) £1.00

Packets and Cereals
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
1x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 30p
1x Great Scot Pearl Barley (500g) 58p

Meat, Fish and Poultry
2x ASDA Butcher's Selection British Sausages (8 per pack - 454g) £3.00
1x ASDA Butcher's Selection Beef Mince (830g) £3.23

Dairy and Eggs
1x ASDA Chosen by You Natural Set Yogurt (500g) 89p

5 comments:

  1. If you're going to use the pepper for cooking with you can freeze them. Just cut them up and then add into stews or sauces. They will go a bit floppy so they're only going to be good for cooking but it's a great way to avoid wasting them if they're looking like they might not last.

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  2. Amazing Michelle! Although I was very against the extended sunday trading laws, Tony and I found ourselves at Tesco in Bristol recently late on a sunday evening and we got some absolute steals. It is so satisfying isn't it, especially when it is what you need, and doesn't get shoved in the freezer!
    Charlotte x

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    1. It was very satisfying indeed! I amended my Meal Plan to make good use of the items available so I wouldn't waste them or freeze them and forget about them. I might make a point of calling in to the local supermarket near closing time whenever I am passing.

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  3. Be careful its dangerous to freeze food twice as you'v done with the meat.

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    Replies
    1. The meat has been cooked between freezing, otherwise I would not have frozen it twice. I am very careful to observe safe food handling practices.

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