This week is the last week for my daughters at school before the Christmas Holidays so we will all be busy with Carol Services, school events, and final preparations for the festive season. I've gone for a very low faff, slow cooker based Meal Plan this week to save our sanity and fill our tums with minimal moaning.
Breakfasts will be porridge with homemade seasonal fruit compote. On the weekend we will have pancakes and crumpets.
Slow Cooker Vegetable Stew – Meatfree Monday
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pepper, diced
1 Tblsp oil
2 tsp cumin
2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
500ml tomato passata
2 handfuls of sliced mushrooms
1 large carrot, peeled and finely sliced
1 small sweet potato, cut into small dice
2 tsp dried oregano
250ml red wine
500ml vegetable stock
Soften the onions, pepper and garlic in a little oil then stir in the cumin and cook for about a minute until fragrant. Put in the slow cooker with all the other ingredients. Stir well. Cook on low for 3 hours. Season to taste before serving with crusty bread.
Quick and Easy Lentil Bolognese - Tuesday
Slow Cooker Beef Casserole – Wednesday and Thursday
This is a fab, low faff warming stew that is cooked in a slow cooker. It makes enough to serve us 5 generously for 2 nights. Great for nights when I need a dinner that is guaranteed to be eaten without fuss. This casserole is perfect for that. It tastes even better the second night. Sometimes I freeze the other portion but more often than not I just serve it the next night with different vegetables on the side. You can add other chopped root vegetables to the casseroles if you want, such as potatoes, parsnip. pumpkin, sweet potato, etc.
1kg beef braising/stewing steak cut into chunks
1 tsp ground ginger
1 onion, sliced
2 sticks of celery, finely sliced
2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
2 x 400g cans of kidney beans, drained and well rinsed
2 peppers, roughly diced (any colour will do)
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
2 bay leaves
2 Tblsp brown sugar
2 Tblsp red wine vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
If you have time, brown the meat in a non-stick pan, use a little oil if necessary.
Put the beef and everything else in the slow cooker. Stir well and cook for 7-8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. If the casserole needs thickening, stir 2 Tbsp cornflour mixed to a paste with 2 Tbsp water into it. Serve with mash and greens or mixed vegetables.
Spicy Vegetable Parcels - Friday
You can make these vegetable parcels as spicy or mild as you like. Sometimes I use filo pastry to make them more like samosas but puff pastry is an easier alternative, and cheaper too. Any leftover filling is fab in wraps for lunch the next day.
4 large potatoes, cubed
1 tsp oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp chilli powder, I used mild
1 - 2tsp garam masala
1 - 2tsp tumeric
1 - 2tsp coriander
1 - 2tsp ground cumin
200g frozen mixed vegetables
500g block of puff pastry
Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender then drain. Whist the potatoes are cooking heat the oil in a fryingpan over a moderate heat. Saute the onions and garlic until soft then add the spices, mixed vegetables and cooked potatoes. Mix well, mashing everything together a little, making sure the mixture is thoroughly heated through.
Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan. Line a couple of oven trays with non-stick baking paper.
Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle shape and pastry is 3mm thick then cut into 6 squares. Place a dollop of filling on one half of each square, fold over then crimp with a fork to seal. Put the parcels onto prepared baking tray.
Bake for 15 minutes until golden and crispy. I’ll be serving ours with steamed greens and mango chutney.
Slow Cooker Chicken Casserole - Saturday
This dinner is fab for those times when you need a low maintenance meal or are out all day and want to come home to a tasty hot meal. I have also included instructions for oven cooking in case you don't have a slow cooker.
8 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
500g pumpkin, skin removed and chopped into bite-sized chunks
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp paprika
1 can chopped tomatoes with 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (I use a casserole pack)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Place all ingredients, except chickpeas and frozen vegetables, in slow cooker and cook on LOW for 7 - 8 hours. Add the chickpeas and frozen mixed vegetables and cook on high for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Or if you don't have a slow cooker, put all of the ingredients into a casserole dish and cook in your oven at 180 degrees for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven, add the chickpeas and frozen vegetables, and cook for another 30 minutes.
Macaroni Cheese with Mixed Vegetables – Sunday
33 items: £52.77
Packets and Cereals
1x Mornflake Superfast Oats (2Kg) £2.18
1x ASDA Wholefoods Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg) 80p
1x Jus Rol Puff Pastry Block (500g) £1.10
1x Great Scot Red Split Lentils (500g) £1.28
1x Asda Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g) 65p
1x ASDA Wholefoods Brown Bread Flour (1.5Kg) £1.28
1x Cook Italian Wholewheat Spaghetti (500g) £1.00
1x Cook Italian Wholewheat Fusilli (500g) £1.00
2x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg) £1.50
2x ASDA Chosen by You Diced Casserole Beef (454g) £6.00
1x ASDA Chosen by You Casserole Mix (1Kg) £1.00
Tins, Jars and Cooking
5x ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g) £1.55
2x ASDA Smartprice Red Kidney Beans in Water (400g) 54p
3x ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g) £1.80
1x ASDA Smartprice Passata (500g) 34p
Dairy and Eggs
4x ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £4.00
1x Suffolk Farm Large Free Range Eggs (6) £1.58
1x ASDA Cheddar and Mozzarella Grated Cheese (250g) £1.50
1x ASDA Mature Light Grated British Cheese (250g) £1.50
Fruit and Vegetables
15 ASDA Bananas £1.39
10 ASDA Royal Gala Apples £2.56
1 ASDA Butternut Squash 80.8p
1 ASDA Sweet Potatoes 58.9p
3x ASDA Whole Cucumber £1.50
1x ASDA Celery 89p
1x ASDA Garlic Loose 30p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers £1.58
1x ASDA Smartprice Brown Onions (2Kg) 98p
1x ASDA Plums (500g) £1.00
2x Inspire Premium Baking Potatoes (2Kg) £3.00
2x ASDA Carrots (1.2Kg) £2.00
2x ASDA Smartprice Pears (500g) £1.58
Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x Banham Poultry Chicken Drumsticks (1Kg) £4.00
Prices and special offers reflect those of the online grocery websites, and are correct as of 14th December 2013. Prices may vary in different in-store locations.
Our groceries cost £52.77 from Asda, had I shopped elsewhere my shopping would've cost £57.02 from Tesco or £60.71 from Sainsburys.
Don't forget to check out all the other Meal Plans on the linky with