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Our Family Meal Plan for week of 15/04/2013 - £50 Challenge Version

Sunday, 14 April 2013
I have been challenged by the lovely folk at Good To Know magazine to Feed Our Family for £50.  The brief I was given said to compile a 5 day plan but in the interests of being frugal, stubborn and possibly slightly insane, I decided to see if I could do a 7 day plan for £50.

It has been quite a difficult challenge!  We like to eat loads of fresh fruit and vegetables, even the basic price ones are expensive in large quantities, so that has been the main challenge in formulating the Meal Plan.  Luckily we have herbs and greens in our garden, however I have included the cost of all the vegetables in the Meal Plan.  The Meal Plan doesn't include dried herbs, spices, sauces, drinks or spreads.

Armed with a £50 Asda voucher provided by Good To Know, I managed to compile a shopping list on My Supermarket of all the groceries needed for this Meal Plan from Asda for £49.99.  Armed with the shopping list I managed to get all the groceries needed for £47.64 by visiting my local Asda store on 14/04/2013.  I was able to get a few reduced price vegetable bargains which saved me £2.35.

For details of the shopping list and feedback from my family about how they found the Meal Plan, see this page on the Good To Know website.  


Breakfasts will be porridge with either grated apple or chopped banana.  We will have scrambled eggs and pancakes over the weekend for breakfast.


Weekday lunches for adults will be leftovers from dinner the previous night. School lunches will be tuna/egg/ salad wraps/sandwiches with crudites and herby yoghurt dip with a piece of fruit and Anzac biscuit or flapjack baked with sultanas in the recipe.  I make my own wraps and bread so have included the cost of flour and yeast in my Meal Plan. You could buy basic brand bread if you wanted to instead of making your own.

Weekend lunches will be baked beans on toast and leftover calzone or courgette fritters.


Macaroni Cheese with bacon and mixed vegetables

Macaroni cheese perked up with the addition of 150g bacon cooked until crispy then finely chopped and accompanied by steamed mixed vegetables.  A quick and filling dinner for the first day back at school after the school holidays.

Chicken and Bean Hotpot

1 Tblsp oil
400g chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
2 onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 carrots, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
1 tsp dried thyme
750ml chicken stock, made with 2 stock cubes
2 x tins beans, drained and rinsed.  I used borlotti and cannellini.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a moderate heat.  Brown the chicken thighs then add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and thyme.  Cover the pan with a lid and cook for another 3 - 5 minutes until the vegetables start to soften, add a little water to the pan if the vegetables start to catch on the bottom of the pan.

Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.  Add a little water if necessary, cover then simmer for another 20 minutes.  Add the beans, cook for another 5 - 10 minutes until the beans are heated through.  Season to taste then serve.

Spicy Vegetable Parcels

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 usually serve these parcels with mango chutney and a large green salad.

Sausage and Bean Traybake

You could use a drained tin of three bean mix instead of butterbeans and add some deseeded and roughly diced peppers when roasting the sausages and onions.  You could also add some paprika or chilli powder to spice up the dish should and serve ir with rice instead of mash should you want to.

6 or more good quality pork sausages
2 onions, cut into wedges
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 clove garlic, crushed
250ml vegetable stock
1 tin butterbeans, drained and rinsed

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan.  Put the sausages and onions into a roasting tin. Roast for 20 minutes.  Take the roasting dish out of the oven, pour in the tinned tomatoes, garlic, stock and beans.  Bake for another 20 minutes then serve.  We'll be having ours with steamed mixed vegetables and mash.

Savoury Bake

1 Tblsp oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 courgettes, grated and moisture squeezed out
150g bacon or ham, rind removed and finely chopped
375ml milk
1/2 cup self raising flour
8 large free range eggs
180ml soured cream
300g frozen mixed vegetables, defrosted
1 cup grated cheese
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp dried mixed herbs

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Heat the oil in a small saucepan.  Add the onion, courgette and bacon/ham.  Cook until the vegetables have softened and the bacon is cooked.  Set aside to cool whilst you assemble the other ingredients.

Grease a large ovenproof dish.  Mix the milk, eggs, flour and soured cream together in a large bowl until smooth.  Add the cooked vegetable mixture and stir until well combined.  Pour into the greased dish and bake for 40 - 45 minutes until golden and browned on top and completely set.  I usually serve this with potato wedges and salad or mixed vegetable mash with wilted greens.

Family Size Vegetarian Calzone

This feeds the 5 of us very generously and there's enough leftover for us to have as lunch the next day or to freeze for later.

4 cups plain flour
7g sachet yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 Tblsp oil
300ml - 400ml lukewarm water

1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 celery sticks, finely sliced
2 carrots, finely diced
400g tin chopped tomatoes
290g tin chilli beans
seasoning to taste

To make the dough:
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl or stand mixer.  Add enough water to form a dough, you may not need to add all the water.  Knead until smooth and elastic, this can be done on a lightly floured work surface or in a standmixer.  If kneading by hand the process usually takes around 10 minutes, or alternatively 5 - 7 minutes in a mixer.

Once dough is smooth and elastic over and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  Once the dough has doubled in size, knock it back, divide into two portions and roll each out into two large circles or rectangles.

To make the filling:
Make the filling whilst the dough is rising.  Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the onion, garlic, celery and carrot until starting to soften.  Add the tinned chilli beans and tomatoes.  Simmer until thickened and the vegetables are tender.

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

Assembling the calzone:
Knock back the dough, divide it into two portions then roll each portion into two large circles or rectangles.  Spread the filling over on of the rolled out portions, leaving a 2cm border around the edge.  Lay the second rolled out portion of dough over the top and seal the calzone by folding the edge of the base over the edge of the top and pinching to seal all the way around.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 - 35 minutes until golden and crisp.

Fish Pie with crumble topping

500g fish fillets
400ml milk
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 Tblsp oil
75g butter
1 onion, finely diced
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
2 carrots, finely diced
175g plain flour
300ml vegetable stock

75g butter
175g plain flour
30g rolled oats
50g cheese, grated

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan.  Grease a 1.5 litre ovenproof dish.  Put the fish into a saucepan with the milk, salt and pepper to taste and the bay leaf.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 8 - 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked.  Carefully remove the fish and flake it into the prepared ovenproof dish.  Save the cooking liquor.

Heat the oil with a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan pan, add  and the onion, celery and carrots.  Cover and cook for about 10 minutes until softened.  Spoon the vegetables into the ovenproof dish.

Melt the remaining butter in the saucepan then add the flour.  Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes.  Slowly whisk in the cooking liquor from the fish, minus the bay leaf, until you have a thick and smooth sauce.  Pour over the fish and vegetables in the oven proof dish.

Make the crumble by rubbing the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumb then stirring through the cheese and oats.  Sprinkle over the dish and bake in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes until the topping is golden.  We'll be having ours with steamed vegetables and mash.

What are your top tips for Meal Planning and saving money on your food shopping?  How much do you usually spend on groceries for your family and do you feel that groceries are becoming more expensive?  Let me know by leaving a comment.

Don't forget to check out other Meal Plans on the At Home With Mrs M linky.


  1. You are seriously good at this stuff.

  2. Aww thanks Jax, lovely of you to say! It was really tricky this week. I hope my Meal Plans help those like my family who are feeling the financial pinch.

  3. That sausage recipe sounds lovely as does the savoury bake, might add them to my menu plan, we're having sausages this week and the bake I might add later on! Thanks

  4. Needing to cut our food bill down so should try to limit myself like this too but sadly where I live there are no big chain supermarkets and not one of them deliver online. Our shops are quite expensive plus with there being no farmers market or even a green grocer for miles it quite frustrating and I end up paying quite a bit more than when we lived in the Midlands.

    Have a great week

  5. Some lovely recipes here. I really like the idea of using a crumble topping on fish pie.

  6. You are so good at spending barely nothing and coming up with fab meals!! Another great meal plan!! Wish you would come and do my food shopping...You'd save me a fortune...lol

  7. So amazing to do all of this on just £50, I wish we could do this


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