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Sainsbury's 5 for £20 Meal Plan is Back - and I've done my own 5 for £18.33 Meal Plan

Tuesday 24 January 2012

This month Sainsbury’s is launching a new online meal plan to provide a family of four with five meals for £20.  Following the previous success of Feed your Family for £50, and other plans this has the added advantage that customers can click on the ingredients needed and send them straight to their online basket. The weekly meal plan will be available online at www.sainsburys-live-well-for-less.co.uk/meal-planning from 25th January featuring five mid-week evening meal suggestions and recipes including: Creamy pork with mash, Turkey chilli with rice and Cheesy jacket potatoes with bacon and pepper ratatouille. 

Annie Denny, Special Diets and Health Manager at Sainsbury’s said: “The menu ensures the recipes include 1 to 2 portions of your recommended five a day with all ingredients meeting our high quality standards including British Turkey and Pork.  We've chosen simple, everyday items to make balanced and flavoursome mid week meals for four people at just £20.” 

Check out the Sainsbury's 5 for £20 Meal Plan, great if you can't/don't/won't Meal Plan but still want to save some pennies.

The Meal Plan promotion runs from 25th January-14th February and the menu consists of:

Monday - Cheesy Jacket Potatoes with Bacon and Pepper ratatouille
Tuesday - Creamy pork and mash
Wednesday - Simple Sausage Supper
Thursday - Tomato and Broccoli Risotto
Friday - Turkey Chilli with Rice

And . . . . . .Now for my turn!

Every week so far this year I have blogged Our Family Meal Plans and thought I would rise to the challenge and see if I could do 5 dinners for cheaper than the Sainsburys Meal Plan.  I also thought the Sainsburys Meal Plan didn't have as many vegetarian meals as I would like.  I'm sure Sainsbury's have have spent weeks formulating their Meal Plan.  I formulated mine in 2 hours on a Tuesday evening LOL.

And guess what?! I succeeded in creating a cheaper Meal Plan, using My Supermarket as usual, and the following 5 meals that would feed my family of 5 cost a total of £18.33 at Asda, £20.64 at Tesco and £22.66 at Sainsbury's.  The cost of the Sainsbury's Meal Plan is usually formulated using products on offer at the time the plan is launched, this was the case for their Feed your Family for £50 plans.  My plan isn't dependent on offers, in fact, it probably could be cheaper if I had've selected cheaper (lower quality) sausages.  I am not promoting or advocating the use of any specific supermarket.  I'm just stating how much the Shopping List for my Meal Plan cost at various supermarkets.  My Shopping List is at the bottom of this post after the recipes.

Vegetable and Lentil Soup

I love this soup, so warming and tasty on cold winter nights.  It is really filling and a great low cost dinner.  It also freezes well and  is fab for lunches too.
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 (1/2 cup) red lentils
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1.25 Litres (5 cups) 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.

Creamy Bacon and Vegetable Pasta

I can have this dinner on the table in under 20 minutes from whine to dine LOL Great for those nights when you are really tired or really busy with a low tolerance for faffy dinners.
500g spaghetti
200g unsmoked back bacon
350g frozen chopped spinach
Handful or 2 of frozen mixed vegetables
300ml pot crème fraîche

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the spaghetti and cook following pack instructions. When the spaghetti has about 3 minutes left to cook toss in a handful or two of frozen mixed vegetables.

Meanwhile, in a deep frying pan, fry the bacon until the fat starts to run and then add the garlic, fry until the bacon is lightly golden. Add the chopped spinach and 2 tablespoons of water, then cover and cook until the spinach has defrosted.

Remove the lid, stir everything together, season to taste, then cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

Drain the spaghetti and vegetables and add to the bacon and spinach mixture with the crème fraîche. Stir to thoroughly combine and serve immediately.

Spicy Rice with Chickpeas and Spinach

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
½ 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
Natural yogurt and more chopped fresh coriander leaves to serve

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. Serve topped with some yoghurt, chopped fresh herbs.

Lentil Bolognese

This is so versatile! It can be served with pasta, baked potatoes, polenta or homemade gnocchi.  Freezes well and 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.

Spicy Sausage Hotpot

This recipe makes a pack of sausages go a long way.  You can use whatever vegetables you have available and also use vegetarian sausages if you like.  It's a recipe that can be easily bulked out if you have unexpected dinner guests.

450g pack good quality sausages
1 Tblsp oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, diced
1 leek, sliced
1 pepper, diced
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tins chilli beans
2 cups/handfuls frozen mixed vegetables
4 baking potatoes, cooked and mashed - to serve

Grill or bake the sausages until they are cooked. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then slice into pieces around 2cm thick. Set aside.

Add oil, onion and garlic to a saucepan over a medium heat. Cook for a few minutes then add the carrots, leek and pepper. Sauté for another couple of minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes and chilli beans. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Add the sausages to the saucepan with the frozen mixed vegetables. Cook for a final 5 minutes. Serve with cooked rice or mashed potato/sweet potato.

Shopping List

Cost of 21 items. £18.33

Packets and Cereals
1x ASDA Smartprice Spaghetti (500g) 25p
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
1x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 30p
1x Great Scot Red Split Lentils (500g) £1.10

1x ASDA Chopped Spinach Leaves (1Kg) £1.00
1x ASDA Freshly Frozen Mixed Vegetables (1Kg) £1.00

Tins, Jars and Cooking
5x ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g) 38p
2x ASDA Chilli Beans (290g) 68p
1x ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g) 70p

Dairy and Eggs
1x ASDA Crème Fraîche (300ml) £1.00

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x ASDA Extra Special Pork Sausages (6 per pack - 454g) £2.00
1x ASDA Smartprice Unsmoked Middle Bacon (350g) £1.68

Fruit and Vegetables
5 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) 8p
5 ASDA Onions by Weight (100g) 7.6p
3 ASDA Swede by Weight (100g) 8.5p
1x ASDA Baking Potatoes (4) 60p
1x ASDA Celery 83p
1x ASDA Trimmed Leeks (500g) £1.00
1x ASDA Garlic Loose 30p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.47

1x ASDA Cheese Topped Baguette 40p

So what do you think? Do you like both Meal Plans, will you try any of the meals or entire Meal Plans?  Do you think that supermarket produced Meal Plans are helpful and a good idea? Let me know!


  1. Wow, very impressed just wish mine would eat more non meat meals. Must admit I prefer sainsburys food to Asda and can often switch things to get it cheaper. Thanks for all your hard work x

  2. I was wondering do you use the basics flour? I use lots of different flours and wondered if going dead cheap was worth it? I love Mysupermarket.com too.I switched from Ocado last year but after loosing my job in August the food bill has gone hay wire.I went back to Tesco this month and using MSM I could see how much I saved.I brave it to use ASDA next month.

  3. I use the cheapest flour and it works out fine, sometimes use more expensive flour if finances allow. I use expensive organic flour for my business but we suffer the cheap stuff at home lol

    I don't usually brave a visit to Asda, I shop online so the groceries get delivered. Much less tempted by cheap clothes & other stuff that way too ;o)

  4. How fantastic! As neither a mum or the main cook in our house, I would never have thought that you could make five meals for £20! I love your ideas for dinners. Maybe Sainsburys will employ you to come up with ideas next time!

  5. Hi Pru! :o) I thought it was a bit cheeky of me to do my own version but then thought, why not?!

    I would love it if Sainsbury's or another supermarket approached me to help them with Meal Planning for busy families. Not sure they actually use busy Mums or Dads with families to help them formulate their Meal Plans or not. They should do though, would make them much more user friendly.

  6. Great idea. Your menu sounds lovely. I use mysupermarket.com to do my weekly shop and Asda almost always works out to be the cheapest (cheapest delivery too).

  7. I like that your plans are full of vegetables, but how much extra does it cost to use wholegrain products? Brown rice, wholewheat pasta etc?

    1. It would cost a little extra, I try and get wholegrain versions as often as I can and include them in the Meal Plan. Look out for special offers on wholegrain products, I prefer them as they are better options nutritionally than the cheaper white/plain versions. Good point! :)

  8. This is exactly what I have been looking for in budget meal planning! After spending two hours slogging through different blogs, I stumbled onto this one and it has made that time worth it! The recipes here sound delicious and I can't wait to try them! Thank you!

  9. This is fab! Im going to try it, we have 4 kids, two are little so they would eat one meal, our shopping bill has become awful so a big thank you :) sally

  10. Hi .. am I being a little strange is the price for veg per onion carrot etc.. or for the whole 5?? I never seen them that cheap am I doing something wrong x

    1. Hi Nina, the 8p, etc is per carrot so you'd times it by the amount of that vegetable, eg: 40p for 5 carrots. Prices have increased in the year or so since I blogged this Meal Plan but should still be fairly thrifty meals.

  11. I've always thought that it could be done cheaper than Sainsburys advertise too! some great inspiration here. I'm goin gto include the spicy sausage hotpot in our mealplan this week for sure!


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