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Our Family Meal Plan week beginning 02/01/2017 - £52

Monday, 2 January 2017
It's been quite some time since I blogged our Family Meal Plan.  I plan our meals each week because it saves us money and there's no dithering each night wondering what we can have for dinner from the various ingredients in the fridge and cupboards.  The 'witching hour' is stressful enough without having play Ready, Steady, Cook each night.

Meal Plans also make grocery shopping much quicker because I know exactly what I need.  By doing a stock take before I start the Meal Plan ensures we don't end up wasting items that need using up, and there's no need for expensive dashes to the supermarket for top up shops during the week.

Always shop with a list.
I normally shop online to avoid impulse buys.
Our Meal Plan feeds two adults, two teenagers, a 10yo, and a toddler.  Apart from coffee for the grown ups, we usually drink water, or milk for the children, and don't routinely buy squash or soft drinks.  We grow fresh herbs, and some greens and other vegetables, which keeps costs down.  I bake our bread but I realise that not everyone does, I also bake our snacks and treats to save money.  I also try and buy higher welfare meat when I can, such as free range chicken, and make it stretch over several meals, as I have done this week.  Not all of our meat is higher welfare, due to budget constraints and supermarket availability.  All of our eggs are always free range.

Our Meal Plan for this week

This week is back to routine after the holidays, so our dinners are relatively quick, easy, and filling.  It's a pasta based week this week, and all of the meals are family favourites so there should be nobody whinging about dinners.

Breakfasts will be porridge with apple and sultana compote or wholemeal toast/wholemeal fruit toast with spread.  I may make some pancakes/crepes on the weekend for a treat. 

Lunches will be dinner leftovers for the toddler and I or we'll have what everyone else is having which is Root Vegetable and Red Lentil Dhal or Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup in flasks accompanied by a Caramelised Onion and Cheddar Swirl and a piece of fruit.  Weekend lunches will be Twice Baked Potatoes and Crustless Quiche.

Snacks and Bakes will be flapjacks, scones, and fresh fruit.

The Root Vegetable and Red Lentil Dhal and Caramelised Onion and Cheddar Swirls for packed lunches this week.


Roast Chicken with Roast Vegetables 

Pearl Barley Mixed Vegetable Risotto (2 Dinners)

Pearl Barley and Mixed Vegetable Risotto
Chicken and Bacon Stew with Dumplings

200g cooking bacon, finely chopped
2 onions, roughly diced
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
3 carrots, chopped into 1cm dice
2 parsnips, chopped into 1cm dice
1 litre chicken stock
2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
2 Tblsp plain flour
300g leftover cooked chicken

250g self-raising flour
125g butter
100ml cold water

Put a large ovenproof casserole saucepan over a medium heat and add the bacon. Cook for a couple of minutes then add the diced onion, celery, parsnips, and carrots. Cook for 5 - 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the onions are transparent and the carrots have started to soften. Add the heaped tablespoon of flour and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time. Pour in the stock, add the thyme and leftover chicken. Turn the heat down to medium-low, stir the stew well then simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes whilst you make the dumplings.

Preheat your oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5.  Measure the self raising flour into a mixing bowl. Grate the butter, using the coarse side of a box grater, into the flour. This makes it much easier and quicker to incorporate into the flour. Rub the butter and flour together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add 100ml of cold water and bring the dough together, forming it into a ball. Divide into 12 pieces and roll into small balls.

Check the stew isn't too thick, add a little water if necessary, then put the dumplings in a single layer on top of the stew. Put the lid on the casserole saucepan and bake at 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5 for 30 minutes, or until the dumplings are fluffy and cooked through. I serve ours with mashed potato and steamed peas and corn.

Gnocchi with Bacon in Tomato Sauce

500g homemade or store bought gnocchi
300g cooking bacon, finely diced
1 onion, diced
2 peppers, diced (any colour will do)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 Tblsp tomato paste
 1 tsp sugar
100g cheddar, grated

Put a large saucepan of water on to boil.  In a large frying pan over a moderate heat, cook the bacon until it is almost crisp.  Add the garlic, onion, peppers, and mixed herbs.  Cook for a minute then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar.  Stir and simmer for 10 minutes.  Cook the gnocchi in the saucepan of boiling water until it starts floating to the top.  Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce, mix until well combined.  Serve, topping each portion with a little grated cheese, and serve some steamed mixed vegetables on the side.

Chicken and Orzo Bake

2 onions, diced
2 peppers, diced (any colour will do)
1 clove garlic, minced
170g dried orzo pasta
500ml chicken stock
300g leftover cooked chicken
200g cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.  Mix together all of the ingredients in a large baking dish until well combined.  My Pyrex baking dish measures 9 x 12 inches (23 x 33cm).  Put the casserole dish in the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and serve with steamed mixed vegetables.

One Pot Orzo Bolognese

500g minced beef, or vegetarian mince
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 peppers, diced
330g dried orzo pasta
500ml pasta sauce, homemade or store bought
600ml vegetable stock
300g frozen peas
300g frozen corn
100g cheddar cheese, grated

Put a large frying pan on to a medium-high heat and cook until it is no longer pink, breaking up clumps as you do so. 

Add the diced onion, minced garlic, and diced peppers to the pan then cook for a few minutes until the onion and peppers soften.

Add the orzo, pasta sauce and stock to the pan then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked and all of the stock has been absorbed. Stir through the frozen peas and corn, cook until these have heated through. Stir through the grated cheese then serve.

Shopping List

39 items purchased from Asda on 01/01/2017 cost £52.08

Packets and Cereals
4x   ASDA Wholegrain Scottish Porridge Oats (500g)                       £2.36
1x   ASDA Wholemeal Bread Flour (1.5Kg)                                       £1.20
1x   ASDA Smartprice Plain White Flour (1.5Kg)                               45p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg)                              45p
1x   Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (500g)                                       54p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Sultanas (500g)                                             88p
1x   ASDA Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g)           65p
1x   Il Pastaio Potato Gnocchi (500g)                                               50p
1x   ASDA Orzo (500g)                                                                    50p
1x   ASDA Good and Balanced Pearl Barley (500g)                           50p
1x   ASDA Good and Balanced Red Lentils (500g)                            75p

2x   ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)                                 £1.54
1x   ASDA Meat Free Mince (454g)                                                  £1.50
1x   ASDA Smartprice Sweetcorn (1Kg)                                            99p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Peas (1Kg)                                                    76p

Tins, Jars and Cooking
3x   ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice (400g)    87p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Orange Marmalade Medium Cut (454g)          27p
1x   ASDA Stock Cubes - Vegetable (12x10g)                                  77p

Dairy and Eggs
5x   ASDA British Whole Milk 4 Pints (2.27L)                                    £4.95
2x   ASDA Butter - Unsalted (250g)                                                  £2.18
2x   ASDA Mature British Cheddar (350g)                                         £3.00
1x   ASDA Free Range Medium British Eggs (6)                               85p

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x   ASDA Smartprice Cooking Bacon (500g)                                   60p
1     ASDA Free Range Whole Chicken by Weight (1.9Kg)                 £6.84

Fruit and Vegetables
20   ASDA Grower's Selection Bananas                                            £1.82
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Carrots (1Kg)                                    90p
6     ASDA Grower's Selection Parsnips                                            £1.00
1     ASDA Grower's Selection Butternut Squash by Weight (1.2Kg)   90p
1     ASDA Grower's Selection Sweet Potatoes by Weight (500g)       50p
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Celery                                               60p
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Baking Potatoes (2.5Kg)                    £1.70
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Garlic Loose                                      40p
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Plums Ripen at Home (400g)              £1.00
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Brown Onions (1Kg)                           67p
4x   ASDA Smartprice Apples (500g)                                                £2.00
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Cherry Tomatoes (365g)                    99p
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Mixed Peppers (700g)                        £1.20
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Sweet and Juicy Sweetclem (900g)    £2.00
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Swede                                               50p

1x   ASDA Italian Roast and Ground Coffee (227g)                           £2.00
Prices and special offers were on My Supermarket, are correct as of 1 January 2017.  Prices may vary in different in-store locations.

I shopped at Asda this week, using My Supermarket to compare the price of our shopping list at other retailers, our shopping would've cost:

£59.78 at Morrisons
£59.84 at Tesco
£61.50 at Sainsbury's
£78.69 at Ocado
£84.70 at Waitrose


  1. Some good ideas there - thank you x

  2. Its really nice to get some free ideas, thank you so much

  3. So the toddler has the leftovers? Thats all i heard and i lost interest sorry 😣

    1. Toddler and I both eat dinner leftovers for lunch, or alternatively, what everyone else has in their packed lunches. Quite a few meals are more delicious the next day and it cuts down on food waste if toddler and I can eat the leftovers from the previous night.

  4. Might actually try some Michelle but I'm not a good cook like you. Also your dumplings recipe is handy as I don't even make them.

  5. Going to try a couple of these. Wish me luck...


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