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Our Family Meal Plan for this week 27/02 - £60

Saturday 25 February 2012
I’m a rather weary Meal Planner this week. Yes dear readers, there are times when even I get rather tired of the seemingly relentless task of cooking for our family. I am sure every domestic god or goddess and clever culinary cutie (not that I am either of these) has times when they just can’t be bothered.

It took me a couple of days to sort out this meal plan when it usually takes me either an afternoon or an evening. Motivation, patience, energy and creativity were all in very short supply so please bear with me if this plan is not particularly exciting or as frugal as usual.

In spite of being rather jaded this week, I will not only be baking our own bread, I shall be baking English Muffins and Bagels. Nothing like extra work and baking challenges to get my Meal Planning and cooking mojo back. Yeah right! LOL

This weeks Meal Plan is slightly less expensive despite the fact we’re having friends around for Saturday lunch and also on a Friday after school I look after 3 delightful girls (who are friends with my girls) and have also allowed for extra baking and snacks then too.

The cost of the 44 items on this weeks Shopping List was £60.09 at Asda when I ordered online yesterday (Friday 24/02).  As always I used My Supermarket to compare the cost of my shop and it would've cost £66.69 at Tesco and £75.27 at Sainsbury's.


Bean and Veg Burgers with Wedges – Meatfree Monday

This recipe is from the Morrisons M-Savers event that I attended in London last Tuesday. I shall be blogging about the event, and more of the recipes, later on in the week.

1 tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 onion, finely diced
1 pepper, finely diced
1 tsp chilli powder
100g fresh breadcrumbs
about 500g potatoes, for the wedges

Sauté the onion and pepper in a little oil for a couple of minutes until it softens then leave to cool for a bit. Mash the kidney beans with a potato masher, leave it a little lumpy – not too smooth. Add the cooled sautéed pepper and onion along with the breadcrumbs to the kidney beans and mix everything together thoroughly. Shape into 5 burgers and fry in a little oil for a couple of minutes on each side, until they’re golden brown. Then put them in the oven at 180C for about 10 minutes until completely cooked through.

Wash the potatoes and cut them into wedges, not too thick. Put a little oil on your hands and rub the wedges so that they get lightly coated in the oil. To cook the wedges, bake them in the oven for about 25 minutes at 180C.

Serve the burgers in buns with tomato, lettuce and mayo. I sometimes sprinkle a little paprika and/or chilli powder over the wedges to give them a little more flavour.

Photo courtesy of Morrisons

Baked Fish with White Beans - Tuesday

2 tsp olive oil
2 large leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
30ml water
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
1 handful each of frozen sweetcorn and peas
5 sprigs fresh thyme
5 thick white fish fillets
1 lemon, washed and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 200°C. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks and water. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until the leeks are soft. Transfer to a shallow ovenproof baking dish.

Add the tin of tomatoes, drained tin of cannellini beans, frozen corn and peas to the baking dish. Stir to combine everything. Arrange the sprigs of thyme and fish fillets on top of the vegetables. Put the slices of lemon on top of the fish and sprinkle over some freshly ground pepper. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Remove the thyme sprigs before you serve the dish.

Mushroom and Bacon Risotto - Wednesday

1.5 litres vegetable stock
1 Tblsp olive oil
1onion, finely chopped
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 pepper, finely diced
300g mushrooms, sliced
200g bacon, rind removed and chopped finely
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
Handful or 2 of frozen peas

Heat the stock in a saucepan and keep it simmering until you need to use it.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan. Add the onion, pepper, garlic, mushrooms and bacon. Cook for 3 - 5 minutes until the onion and pepper has softened and the mushrooms and bacon are cooked. Add the rice and stir for 1-2 minutes to coat with oil.

Add some hot stock, about a cup at a time. Stir with a wooden spoon to prevent the rice sticking to the pan as it absorbs the liquid. Continue adding more stock, stirring occasionally, until it has all been absorbed. After about 20 minutes or so the rice will be cooked and creamy. If not, add more stock and continue the stirring and heating process until the rice is cooked. Add a handful of frozen peas and cook for a couple of minutes to heat them through then serve the risotto.

Quick Fish Chowder - Thursday

1 Tblsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 pepper, diced
100g bacon, rind removed and finely diced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 potatoes, washed and cut in 1cm cubes
1 carrot, scrubbed then finely diced
625ml cups milk
1 tsp garlic salt
1 handful frozen corn
500g fish fillets, cubed
1 Tblsp chopped fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill
1 Tblsp cornflour
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the onion and pepper and cook until they soften. Add the bacon, celery, potatoes and carrot to the pan and cook, stirring frequently to stop them browning, for about 5 minutes.

Add 500ml of milk and the garlic salt to the pan. Bring to a simmer and then simmer for 10 minutes, or until the potato is just tender. Add the fish,corn and dill.

Mix the remaining milk with the cornflour and add to the pot. Bring the chowder to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 7 - 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked.

Season to taste with salt and pepper then ladle into large bowls. Serve with crusty bread rolls.

Meatloaf – Friday

This isn't one of those meatloaves that look and taste like a brick. It's moist and flavoursome, you can serve it hot or cold with salads or cooked vegetables, and it’s fab in packed lunches the next day. I cheat by using supermarket or butchers sausages that are already flavoured. You can get some great ones that are around 95% meat so not full of loads of undesirable ingredients to fill them out.

2 garlic cloves, crushed
450g beef mince
400g sausage meat (I use flavoured sausages with 95% meat)
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
black pepper to taste

If you're not using flavoured sausages then add:
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 handful chopped fresh parsley

1/3 cup rolled oats
2 Tblsp light soft brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup tomato sauce/ketchup

Preheat oven to 190°C/170°C fan-forced. Grease a 7cm deep, 10cm x 22cm (base) loaf tin.

Put the garlic, mince, sausage meat, egg, onion, grated carrot and any herbs or flavourings you want to use, into a large bowl. Thoroughly combine everything using your hands to really squish it all together to that it's really well blended. Press the mixture firmly into the loaf tin and level the top. Combine the topping ingredients and then spread it evenly over the meatloaf. Cover with foil then bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 30 minutes or until juices run clear when you test it with  skewer. I usually serve this with cooked mixed vegetables and mashed potato.

Nan’s Sausage Casserole - Saturday

400g good quality sausages
1 tsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 celery sticks, finely sliced
2 carrots, finely sliced
3 apples, peeled and diced
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
250 ml beef stock
1 tsp cornflour

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Slice the sausages into 1 inch/ 2.5cm chunks. Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the onions, garlic and sausages. Mix the beef stock and cornflour together.

Put the browned sausages, onion, garlic, carrots, apples, tinned tomatoes and herbs in an ovenproof dish. Pour the stock over and mix everything together well. Cover the dish with a lid or kitchen foil and bake for 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. I usually serve this with mashed potato and cooked mixed vegetables.

Family Sized Mince Pie - Sunday

450 g beef mince
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
200g mushrooms, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely sliced
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
1 Tblsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 Tblsp mustard
2 Tblsp tomato paste
1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
300ml beef stock
Handful each of frozen peas and corn
1 sheet puff pastry

Heat a good splash of olive oil in a large frying-pan that has a lid. Fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the vegetables and herbs and fry until they are just starting to soften.

Add the mince and brown it whilst breaking it up. Once the mince has browned and no pink patches remain, add the mustard, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and a few grinds of black pepper.

Add the beef stock and allow the mince to simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. Add the frozen peas and corn and simmer for a further 5 minutes. You may need to add a little extra water. Stir the mince occasionally. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the pie filling into an ovenproof dish and allow to cool.

Preheat your oven to 180 °C.

Lay the pastry over the pie filling, crimp the edges, and make little cuts with a sharp knife to let steam escape during cooking. Brush the pastry with a little milk to glaze it and then bake the pie for around 30–40 minutes until the pastry is golden. I usually serve this with mashed potatoes.


Adults lunches will probably be leftovers, as usual.  Our 3 daughters are back on packed lunches and will be having falafels with yoghurt dip and crudites or vegetable fritters.  All lunches will have an apple and/or mandarin and either a cookie, muffin or tart for afters.

Falafels with Yoghurt Dip

I was given this recipe by one of the of the Mums at school and it's now a firm favourite in our house. The falafel can be eaten as a lunch in a wrap with salad, taken on a picnic or served as a weeknight dinner with couscous and salad leaves. The falafels can be frozen for up to 6 months in an airtight container. Great for make-ahead lunchbox treats or emergency dinners.

2 (400g) tins of chick peas
1 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.

Vegetable Fritters

2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup self-raising flour
400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
400g can corn kernels, drained
1 carrot, scrubbed and grated
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, basil
oil to grease frying pan

Put the eggs and milk in a large mixing bowl and whisk until well combined. Sift flour into egg mixture, whisking well to remove any lumps.

Add chickpeas, vegetables and herbs. Mix until well combined.  Spray a large frying pan with oil and put onto a medium heat. Scoop ¼-cupfuls of batter into the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden. Repeat with the remaining batter to make approximately 12 fritters. Serve hot or cold.

Vegetable Pasta Bake – Saturday Lunch

500g pasta
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 onion, diced
1 pepper, diced
1 courgette, diced
200g mushrooms, finely chopped
1x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 ball mozzarella cheese

Chop all the vegetables into a 1cm dice and sauté them in a little oil until they start to soften. Add the tin of tomatoes and dried mixed herbs. Let the sauce simmer whilst you cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

Drain the pasta and mix thoroughly with the sauce before putting into an ovenproof dish. Chop or rip the mozzarella into small pieces and scatter it all over the top of the pasta. Bake at 180C for about 15 – 20 minutes.


Breakfasts will be toasted muffins or bagels with spread and a banana for afters or porridge with sultanas and chopped banana.  The muffins and bagels will be baked throughout the week and stored or frozen until needed.

English Muffins

25g butter
180ml boiling water
125ml milk
1 Tbsp instant yeast
2 tsp sugar
350-420g plain flour
1 tsp salt

Measure the butter into a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over the butter, then add the cold milk. Sprinkle over the yeast and sugar then stir until the yeast has dissolved. Leave this mixture to stand in a warm place for 5-10 minutes until the surface bubbles. Add 350g of flour and 1 tsp of salt and beat to mix thoroughly. Leave to stand in a warm place until the dough mixture doubles in size. This should take about 30 minutes.

Stir the mixture until it returns to its original size, then turn the mixture onto a well floured board. Add just enough extra flour so you can work with the dough without it sticking. Keeping the dough very soft, adding as little flour as possible. Cut the dough into eight pieces and roll them into balls. Put each ball of dough onto it’s own piece of greased non-stick cooking paper or lightly oiled clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 15 20 minutes, until light and puffy.

Carefully put the muffins, paper side up and top side down, into a frying pan on a moderate heat and lift off the clingfilm or paper. Cook the muffins for about 2 minutes, then carefully turn over. Cook the second side for 5-7 minutes, turn again and cook for a further 5 minutes. This bit is a little faffy but makes sure the muffins have even sized cooked surfaces which makes them easier to toast later on.

Put the cooked muffins on to a rack to cool completely and then store them in the fridge or freeze them for later.

Before you eat the muffins, brown each side under the grill then split them and eat them hot with your favourite sweet or savoury topping. Alternatively, split the muffins, then brown them in a toaster.


3 tsp instant yeast
310ml lukewarm water
2 Tbsp honey
1½ tsp salt
1 cup wholemeal bread flour
2 cups white bread flour

Measure the first five ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave for 15 minutes or longer in a warm place.

Stir in the white bread flour, then add extra flour or water if necessary, until you have a dough just firm enough to knead.

Knead the dough thoroughly, using the dough hook of an electric mixer or kneading by hand on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes, until you have a soft dough which is smooth and springs back when pressed gently.

Turn the dough in 2-3 teaspoons of oil in bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface for a minute or two then cut it into 8 equal pieces. Roll each into a snake 26cm-28cm long. Dampen the ends with water and press them together firmly, forming the classic bagel shape. Place the rings on individual squares of baking paper and leave in a warm place for 10-15 minutes.

During the proving time bring a large pan containing water 10cm deep to a simmer. Carefully lower 2 or 3 bagels at a time into the boiling water, then lift away the paper, and cook for 30-45 seconds per side, turning carefully once. Drain the bagels on kitchen towels then put them on a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper – make sure you leave some space for them to spread.

Brush as far down the sides of the bagels as you can with egg glaze (mix 1free range egg with 1Tbsp water and ½ tsp sugar) and sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds.

Bake at 220C for 10 -12 minutes until they’re evenly browned. Cool on a rack and serve warm or toasted, within 24 hours of making them. You can freeze the bagels in an airtight container once they’re cold.

Cinnamon and Dried Fruit Bagels

Measure the bagel ingredients (from the plain bagel recipe) into a mixing bowl and add ½ cup packed brown sugar, 1 tablespoon each of cinnamon and mixed spice, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Mix and knead the same as the plain bagel recipe. Knead until smooth and then knead through the fruit.


Sweet Tarts

For the pastry:

225g plain flour
115g butter
1 tsp white sugar
1 egg yolk
1 – 2 Tblsp cold water

Sift the flour into a bowl and rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and then use a knife to mix in the egg yolk. Add the water, a little at a time, stirring it together with a knife until the mixture comes together into and you can form a ball of dough with your hands.

Wrap the pastry in cling film and refrigerate it for 30 minutes. This allows the pastry to rest and makes it much easier to work with and roll out.

Preheat your oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6. Dust the work surface and rolling pin with plain flour and roll out the pastry to about the thickness of a £1 coin. Using a small round cutter, cut circles of pastry big enough to line the holes of a mini muffin tin.

Re-roll any trimmings and cut out more circles of pastry until it has all been used. Bake the mini tart cases for about 5 – 7 minutes until they are a pale golden colour. Fill with jam or lemon curd and bake for another 5 minutes or so.

Remove from the oven and leave them to cool in the tin for a few minutes before carefully removing them from the tin to finish cooling completely on a wire rack.

Energy Boost Muffins

2 cups plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup grated unpeeled apple
3/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line each hole of a 12 muffin tin with a paper case.

Stir all the ingredients together, until just combines. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and bake 15 – 20 minutes until well risen, and golden brown. Cool the muffins in the tin for 2 – 3 minutes in the muffin tins before gently transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sultana and Oat Biscuits

1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
125g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups rolled oats
2 ½ cups plain flour
1 cup sultanas or raisins

Preheat your oven to 180C. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Beat the sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla together until creamy with a mixer or by hand. Mix in the rolled oats and flour. Gently mix in the sultanas or raisins.

Put teaspoonfuls of mixture on to the lined baking tray, leaving room between the biscuits for them to spread. Flatten the biscuits a little with a floured fork. Bake the biscuits for 20 – 25 minutes until they are golden brown. Cool the biscuits on a wire rack and store them in an airtight container.

Apple and Sultana Scrolls

Lemon Drizzle Cake or Plain Sponge Loaf

This is one of my husbands favourites and about the only cake he'll eat that isn't chocolate cake LOL It is so quick and easy to whizz up in my mixer. I call it my 2, 2, 2, 3 lemon cake because that's how I remember the recipe. If you don't want to make a lemon drizzle cake, or don't have any lemons, then all is not lost! Just leave out the zest and don't make the drizzle. This loaf cake tastes fab plain, either dusted with icing sugar or with some buttercream icing. Give it a whirl!

200g softened butter
200g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
3 free range eggs
finely grated zest of 1 lemon, give it a good wash first to get rid of any wax/grease

Lemon Drizzle:

Juice of the zested lemon
about 50g of sugar, add 5g more if you used a rather large lemon

Preheat your oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Line a loaf tin with non stick baking paper or one of the precut liners you can buy. My loaf tin is 22cm x 11cm.

I usually have my Kenwood Mixer on minimum speed then on 1 speed at the most. You don't want to beat the mixture too roughly.

Cream the butter and sugar then add the lemon zest and give it a beat for another minute. Add the eggs one at a time with about 1/3 of the flour each time, beat for a bout 1 minute or so for each egg and flour addition.

Scrape down the sides of the mixer and beat for another 30 seconds or so. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for about 40 minutes. Test the cake with a skewer inserted into the centre. If the skewer comes out clean then the cake is cooked. If not, I turn the oven heat down 10C and put it back in for 5 minutes before checking again with a skewer.

Once the cake is cooked, take it out of the oven and make the lemon drizzle.

Mix the lemon juice and sugar together until they are well combined but don't dissolve the sugar. Prick the cake all over with the cake tester skewer and slowly spoon over the lemon drizzle.

Leave to cool in the in for about 30 minutes then cool on a wire rack, right side up of course.

Shopping List

43 items cost £60.09 from Asda on 24/02/12.

Packets and Cereals
1x ASDA Smartprice Porridge Oats (1Kg) 75p
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg) 99p
1x ASDA Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg) 60p
2x ASDA Smartprice Plain White Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Arborio Risotto Rice (500g) 99p
1x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 30p
1x ASDA Ready Rolled Puff Pastry (375g) £1.25
1x ASDA Wholefoods Bread Brown Flour (1.5Kg) £1.10

Tins, Jars and Cooking
4x ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g) 33p
1x ASDA Cannellini Beans in Water (300g) 58p
1x ASDA Smartprice Red Kidney Beans in Water (400g) 18p
1x ASDA Good for you! Mayonnaise (250ml) 48p
5x ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g) 70p

Dairy and Eggs
4x ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £1.18 any 2 FOR £2.00
2x ASDA Smartprice Salted Butter (250g) £1.19
1x ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g) 55p
1x ASDA Smartprice Mozzarella (125g) 44p
1x ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15) £2.00 was £2.50

Fruit and Vegetables
1x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Fruit (500g) 64p
1x ASDA Smartprice Sultanas (500g) 84p
20 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) 10p
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) 6.8p
20 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) 8p
5 ASDA Courgettes by Weight (100g) 19p
1x ASDA Smartprice Mushrooms (750g) £1.29
7 ASDA Onions by Weight (100g) 7.6p
2x ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £1.35 any 2 FOR £2.00
5 ASDA Tomatoes by Weight (100g) 19.9p
1x ASDA Whole Cucumber £1.00
1x ASDA Round Lettuce 57p
1x ASDA Celery 89p
1x ASDA Trimmed Leeks (500g) £1.00
1x ASDA Garlic Loose 30p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.57
1x ASDA Spring Onions 70p
1x ASDA Mandarins (700g) £1.25 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x ASDA Unwaxed Lemons (5) £1.37 any 2 FOR £2.00

1x ASDA Smartprice Sweetcorn (907g) 94p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peas (1Kg) 93p
1x ASDA Pollock Fillets (1Kg) £4.00

Meat, Fish and Poultry
2x ASDA Extra Special Pork and Leek Sausages (6 per pack - 454g) £2.68 any 2 FOR £4.00
2x ASDA Smartprice Smoked Back Bacon (312g) £1.63
1x ASDA British Beef Mince (900g) £3.75


  1. i LOVE bagels, never attempted to make my own, but will attempt your recipe this week!

  2. Great meal planning as always!

  3. In the falafel recipe you put ground coriander in your ingredients but no quantity? How much please as I would like to make these. Thanks?
    Great foodie blog x

    1. Usually 1 teaspoon of ground coriander, use more or less to taste :)


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