Yes, I have at last blogged a Meal Plan after not having done so for a few weeks. Rest assured I have still been Meal Planning and not fallen off the budgeting wagon, I have just been flat out with work and life so have not had the time or energy to blog the Meal Plans we have been using as a family.
I have a couple of busy weeks ahead so my 3 girls will be having school dinners, much to their dismay but it does free up time that I need to spend working so they will have to put up with the situation until school breaks up for the Christmas Holidays.
The weather here in the UK has gone from us thinking we need to build an ark to us thinking we will be soon building igloos. Either way it is cold, freezing or below most nights and low single figure highs during the day. Comfort food is needed, hopefully not too much of the sort that makes us look like we're wearing padded coat when we've already taken our coat off LOL
I will be making several batches of soup which hubby and I will have for our lunches and will also be an after school snack for our 3 girls. A cup of soup will be a more nutritious and filling alternative to a hot chocolate or hot cordial when they get home from school and are ready to devour the contents of the fridge.
Our breakfasts will be warming porridge with fruit compote or homemade bread toasted and spread with vegemite or homemade jams. As usual I have included the price of flour and yeast in the shopping list. I realise that families may not have the time, energy or inclination to make their own bread so that will alter the cost of the Meal Plan should that be the case. We also have some hardy greens from the garden to use and I have added the cost of those in to the Meal Plan as not everyone has access to greens from the garden.
The cost of our Meal Plan this week was £56.39 from Asda on 08/12 and our shop would've cost £67.44 from Tesco and £68.66 from Sainsburys. As usual I used My Supermarket to compare the cost of my shopping.
1 onion, diced
1 Tblsp oil
4 cups of vegetables - I used leeks, celery, carrots and pumpkin
1 large potato or sweet potato
Vegetable stock, enough to cover the vegetables
seasoning to taste
Soften the onion in the oil over a medium heat then add the vegetables and cook, covered, until softened, Add enough stock to just cover the vegetables and then simmer until they are tender.
Blend with a stick blender until smooth, season to taste, adding more stock or water to thin down the soup to your preferred consistency.
Vegetable and Lentil Soup
1 onion, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely sliced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 swede, peeled and diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 Tblsp ground cumin
115g red lentils
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1.25 Litres vegetable stock
Put a large saucepan on the hob over a medium heat. Sauté the vegetables and garlic in a little oil until they begin to soften. Add the cumin and cook for a minute until fragrant. Add all the rest of the ingredients to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.
If I can be bothered I whizz up the soup a little with a stick blender. I serve this with cheese on toast or crusty bread rolls.
Carrot and Coriander Soup
Carrot and Coriander Soup
Vegetable Nachos - Monday
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
2 x 400g cans mild chilli beans
1 x 300g can whole corn kernels, drained
1 large packet nacho chips
1/2 cup grated cheese
Preheat oven to 200°C
Heat a non-stick fry pan that has been sprayed with a little oil. When pan is hot, cook onion and garlic for about 5 minutes or until onion softens.
Stir in beans, corn and canned tomatoes (including tomato juice). Bring mixture to the boil then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until mixture has thickened. Stir occasionally so mixture doesn't stick to bottom of pan.
Place corn chips onto large oven-proof dish. Pour bean mixture over chips. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered for about 10 minutes or until cheese is golden and melted.
Mince and Pasta Bake - Tuesday
400g lean beef mince
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tblsp Tomato paste
1 tsp beef stock powder
1 Tblsp sugar
1 Tblsp corn flour
1 Tblsp water
200g dried pasta - I used penne
1 tbsp butter or oil
1 heaped tbsp plain flour
¼ cup grated cheese
Brown the mince in frying pan. Add the chopped onion, garlic and capsicum and continue cooking until the vegetables are soft. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs, stock, sugar and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 10-15 minutes. While the sauce is simmering cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the packet directions and assemble 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, a little at a time, stirring continuously to create a smooth lump free sauce. When all the milk is 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 into the meat sauce, place in a heat proof dish and smooth over the top. Spoon the sauce over the top and grill or bake (depending on how much time you have) until golden.
Vegetable Fritters - Wednesday
2 free range 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)
1/2 cup milk
125g grated cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Beat eggs and half the milk.
Stir in flour and grated courgette (or corn), feta and mint. Add more milk, if needed. If the mixture is too runny, add a little more flour.
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan. Place spoonful of mixture into the pan. When the mixture bubbles turn the fritters over. Cook the other side until golden brown.
Place cooked fritters on a paper towel and keep warm in the oven until the whole batch has been made. Serve with steamed greens and homemade salsa.
Minestrone with Meatballs - Thursday
430g 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 tbsp tomato paste
1 litre beef stock
400 g can cannellini beans, drained
400 g can kidney beans, drained
1 cup dried pasta (I used penne)
1 tsp dried basil
1 big bunch spinach leaves
1 handful fresh basil leaves
In a large saucepan, gently fry onion and garlic over a low heat until transparent. Add bacon and fry until crisp. Throw in carrots, celery, courgettes, green beans and frankly any other veggies you have on hand. Make sure, however, that they are cut to the same size so that they cook evenly. If some vegetables are denser than others, dice them a little smaller. Cook vegetables over a medium heat until carrots start to soften and brown a little.
Add 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 beef mince with dried basil, a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Form a meatball from a heaped teaspoon of minced beef. Repeat until all mince mixture is used.
Fry meatballs in a little olive oil until lightly browned all over. Make sure they are small, otherwise they’ll break apart in the soup, though that’s not a complete disaster!
When pasta is softened, add meatballs, spinach and basil and stir through. Simmer for another 5 minutes then, if wished, serve with a swirl of pesto on top or a dusting of Parmesan, or both.
Mixed Vegetable Frittata - Friday
3 Tblsp oil
300g pumpkin, peeled and diced
300g potato, peeled and diced
6 free range eggs
Handful or two frozen mixed vegetables
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan (about 24cm diameter).
Add potatoes and pumpkin to pan and cook over a moderate heat for 10 minutes or until tender.
Beat eggs and seasonings together in a bowl. Pour over potato and vegetable mixture and cook without stirring over a low heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until the egg has set.
When the egg sets, sprinkle with a little grated cheese over the top and pop under the grill until golden and bubbly. Or instead of putting under the grill, cover with a lid and cook for a little longer.
Serve hot or warm in generous wedges with a simple salad or steamed greens. Wrap leftovers and have cold for lunch the next day.
Slow Cooker Beef Casserole – Saturday, and as pasties on Sunday
1 kg casserole beef
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 each red and green capsicum, chopped
2 Tblsp plain flour
2 Tblsp tomato paste
250ml beef stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 Tblsp dried oregano
400g can cannellini beans, well drained
Cut beef into 2.5cm-3cm pieces and season the beef with salt and pepper. Brown the meat in a frying pan over a high heat and transfer to a slow cooker.
Scatter in the onion, garlic and capsicums. Stir the flour, tomato paste and beef stock together to make a smooth paste and pour over the beef. Add the tomatoes, scatter in the oregano and cover.
Sloe Cooker: Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-5 hours. Add the cannellini beans, stir to mix and allow to heat through before serving.
Oven Cook: Prepare the casserole as above, adding an extra 250ml of beef stock. Cook in a lidded ovenproof dish at 180ºC for 120 minutes.
Hob Cooking: Put the browned beef and other ingredients into a heavy-based pot. Partially cover, and keeping the heat low, simmer until the meat is very tender. Stir occasionally, adding water if needed during the cooking time to keep ingredients just covered. In the last 30 minutes of cooking time, add the tomatoes and cannellini beans.
Baked Beans on toast
Twice Baked Potatoes
Eggs and Soldiers
Spiced Apple Muffins
3 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon each ginger and mixed spice
1½ cups milk
1 cup finely diced peeled apple
few drops vanilla essence
½ cup sultanas, optional
100g butter, melted and cooled
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Grease 16-18 standard muffin cups or line 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 and vanilla essence. Fold into the dry ingredients, adding the sultanas, if using and the butter towards the end of mixing.
Three-quarters fill the prepared muffin cups and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until well risen, golden and cooked. Remove muffins from the oven and serve warm or leave to cool and pack into lunchboxes.
39 items: £56.39
Packets and Cereals
1x ASDA Smartprice Porridge Oats (1Kg) 75p
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg) 88p
1x Asda Wholefoods Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg) 60p
1x ASDA Smartprice Plain White Flour (1.5Kg) 60p
1x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 24p
1x Great Scot Red Split Lentils (500g) £1.28
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
1x ASDA Wholefoods Brown Bread Flour (1.5Kg) £1.28
Tins, Jars and Cooking
1x ASDA Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce (4x410g) £1.42
8x ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g) £2.48
2x ASDA Cannellini Beans in Water (300g) £1.28
2x ASDA Chosen by You Chilli Beans (290g) £1.36
1x ASDA Smartprice Red Kidney Beans in Water (400g) 27p
2x ASDA Smartprice Sweetcorn (326g) 64p
2x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg) £1.50
2x ASDA Chosen by You Diced Casserole Beef (454g) £5.00
Dairy and Eggs
5x ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £5.00
1x ASDA Chef's Value Medium Eggs (30) £3.10
1x ASDA Smartprice Salted Butter (250g) 98p
1x The Lake District Cheese Co. Mature Cheddar (2x350g) £3.00
Fruit and Vegetables
1x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Fruit (500g) 98p
2x ASDA Spring Greens (500g) £1.94
20 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) £2.00
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) £1.36
1x ASDA Lemons Loose 30p
5 ASDA Courgettes by Weight (100g) 81p
10 ASDA Red Onions by Weight (100g) 90p
5 ASDA Swede by Weight (100g) 42.5p
2x ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £3.00 2 FOR £3.00
10 ASDA Butternut Squash by Weight (100g) 90p was 10.7p
1x ASDA Celery 89p
1x ASDA Trimmed Leeks (500g) £1.00
1x ASDA Garlic Loose 30p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.25
2x ASDA Carrots (1.2Kg) £2.00
1x ASDA Clementine (650g) £1.00
Snacks and Sweets
1x ASDA Chosen by You Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips (200g) 80p was 95p
Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x ASDA Butcher's Selection Beef Mince (830g) £3.23
Prices and special offers reflect those of the online grocery websites, and are correct as of 8 December 2012.