A couple of months ago I wrote a post about meal planning, but I must have done something wrong, because it had totally vanished the next day when I logged in. I’ve been meaning to write about the topic again and today seemed like the perfect occasion. It’s the last shop before the end of the month so a tiny budget means I have to be even more creative than normal in my planning!
I’d bought a few things since the ‘big shop’ last week – including milk, sausages, stuff to make brownies for my friends coming over last night – which left me with £25 to last us until Friday. I always like to leave a few quid in case we run out of milk or whatever, so I planned my meals with the aim of spending less than £20 when I went to Morrisons (in fact my bill was just over £15, leaving us with a weirdly exact £10 for anything we need in the next few days).
When I make a shopping list each week, I first run through the easy bits, as follows:
- Household/cleaning stuff – antibacterial spray, tin foil, food bags, washing liquid, sponges and tampons went on the list. Next, I checked that we had cat litter and cat food in stock, which we do.
- Breakfasts – I have bran flakes with milk and Dave usually has cheapy cocoa pops. He still had a full bag of these, but milk and bran flakes went on the list. At the weekend, I often have banana milkshakes and he’ll have a bacon roll, but we have bananas and bacon in the freezer, so I just added rolls to the list.
- Lunches – there are four portions of soup left in the freezer, along with enough sliced homemade bread to do three or four days, so that’s enough for me assuming I can take leftovers one day. We had two tins of tuna in and two days worth of ham in the freezer, which would do Dave’s lunch sandwiches, as rolls were already on the list.
- Snacks – there are some apples in, and bananas went on the list. We didn’t need anything else as we’ve got half a batch of brownies and several half bags of ‘share-sized’ crisps left from the party, plus crackers, peanut butter and scones in the freezer.
Next I sit down with a pen and paper and usually a recipe book or two and write my mealplan, though this week I just focused on using what we have in instead of trying out new recipes. We have two portions each of sausage casserole, Nigerian red kidney bean stew and arrabiata sauce frozen, so these went straight on the plan, and I added pasta to the shopping list as we’re running low. We’re having the casserole with rice and the red kidney bean stew with wraps and salad, so I added salad to the list too.
I like to do a roast or pie or something special on a Sunday, and it made sense to make chicken as I’ve still got loads in the freezer. I decided to roast one pair of the four chicken legs I have frozen, and serve with potatoes, stuffing, gravy, carrots, greens and broccoli. I have the veg in already and the stuffing and stock for the gravy in the freezer, so only needed to get potatoes.
Since we’ve been invited to friends’ on Saturday, that only left me with two meals to find. We have one portion of mince left in the freezer and rolls, potatoes and salad were already on the list, so I decided to make a beefburger for Dave and a falafel burger for me, using the chickpeas I batched-cooked last week. For the last meal, I wanted to use up the little bit of cheese and one lonely courgette we have left, so I decided on cheese, onion and courgette pasties with beans. Baked beans and baking fat were the last things to make it onto the list.
Sun 19 – roasted chicken legs with all the trimmings
Mon 20 – Nigerian red kidney bean stew in wraps with salad and yoghurt
Tues 21 – cheese, onion and courgette pasties with baked beans
Wed 22 – roasted vegetable arrabiata pasta with foccacia
Thurs 23 – sausage casserole with rice
Fri 24 – burgers (beef for Dave, falafel for me) with chips and salad
Sat 25 – out at friends’ for dinner
Spending £175 / £185
Fruit & veg £5.57 Limes x4 £1 White potatoes 2.5kg £2 Bananas x6 77p RTC peaches 5pk 50p Four leaf salad 80p RTC herb salad 50p Meat & fish £3 Smoked sausage £1 Outdoor-bred pork sausages 6pk £2 Dairy & eggs £2.91 Medium free range eggs 6pk £1.39 Meadow park whole milk 2lt 97p Baking fat 250g 55p Bread £1.20 RTC white rolls x8 70p Large baps 6pk 50p General £8.61 Long life fruit juice 1lt x3 (1 cranberry & 2 pineapple) £2.50 White cooking chocolate 150g 69p Dark cooking chocolate 150g 69p E'day value vanilla ice cream 89p Savers bran flakes 88p Savers mayonnaise 42p Savers baked beans 25p Extra-virgin olive oil 500ml £1.99 Savers pasta 500g 30p Household & toiletries £6.18 Morrisons tampons x2 £2 Savers food bags 50pk 42p Savers tin foil 72p Savers scourers 5pk 19p Savers bio washing liquid £1.60 Morrisons anti-bacterial spray £1.25