It’s time for me to construct the family weekly meal plan and as social media would lead me to believe, today is blue Monday.
First thing this morning the boiler was as dead as a dodo. PANIC. After a few minutes of both Mr Vista and I standing there, pressing buttons and scratching our heads we realised something vital… the washing powder box had the pressed the boiler switch on the wall to off.
We may be dummies but the point that I’m making is this: things aren’t always as bad as they first seem. When faced with certain peril, stop. Take a deep breath and like the kids of ‘Bear Hunt’ figure out a way to go through it. There is always a way – sometime it is as simple as turning the switch to on.
It’s blue Monday. It’s wet. The toddler has a snotty nose and we’re skint. But I will SMILE. We have a lot to be grateful for. Read more
It’s getting towards the end of the month again, and I find myself looking to see what is lurking in my kitchen to make my family weekly meal plan rather than choosing from the recipe books before I shop.
By doing this I can cut both my food bill and my kitchen waste in half. Obvious, right? But it doesn’t always seem to be when money isn’t an issue on the 1st of the month…
I went wild in Costco just before Christmas and as a result we still have over 100 portions of plain white, long grain rice in the cupboard… Because of this we’ll be eating a lot of rice for next week or so to cut down on the grocery bill… so with this plan in mind I needed to find a few tasty variations of rice recipes that are Slimming World friendly. Read more
As much as I love cooking and baking I’m still pretty new to it.
It was mainly my mother in law that taught me how to cook whilst Mr Vista and I were living with her for six weeks awaiting the completion of the sale of the house that we now live in. Before that I would cook the things I knew how to but didn’t really have a massive relationship with food and hence didn’t put much love into it.
At that point, food was for sustenance only. Sad times.
Yesterday I set myself a challenge to make a meal plan for a family of one adult and two children. The meal plan was to be nutritious, cheap and easy.
I looked at Christina Briggs’ goodies cupboard and worked out that her bill for all of *that* junk food would have been approximately £22.23.
I was certain that I could feed her family of three on this budget for one week but with a much more nutritional outcome… without pushing the boundaries of cooking abilities too much.
Here is how I did:
Potion sizes are based on the adult having one more of everything than the children (i.e. one weetabix per child and two for the adult) and the meal plan is also based on none of the family being vegetarian… most of the meals are easily and cheaply re-jigged to be veggie.
As before, I based the shopping list and prices on Asda’s prices via My Supermarket (not sponsored… this is just how I do my online shopping).
The Shopping List
Packets & CerealsPrice in £
ASDA Smartprice Wheat Bisks (24x18g)
ASDA Smartprice Spaghetti (500g)
ASDA Smartprice Sponge Mix (227g)
ASDA Smartprice Sage & Onion Stuffing Mix (85g)
ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg)
ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g)
ASDA Smartprice Rice Pudding (400g)
Tins, Jars & Cooking
ASDA Smartprice Tuna Chunks in Brine (185g)
ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g)
3x ASDA Smartprice Garden Peas in Water (300g)
2x ASDA Smartprice Sliced Carrots in Water (300g)
ASDA Smartprice Sweetcorn (326g)
ASDA Smartprice Grapefruit in Light Syrup (540g)
ASDA Smartprice Strawberry Jam (454g)
ASDA Smartprice Chicken Paste (75g)
ASDA Smartprice Gravy Granules for Meat Dishes (200g)
ASDA Tomato Puree (142g)
ASDA Chosen by You Vegetable Stock Cubes (12x10g)
ASDA Smartprice Pineapple Pieces in Light Syrup (565g)
ASDA Smartprice Pacific Ocean Sardines in Tomato Sauce (120g)
ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)
Bernard Matthews Turkey Breast Roast Easy Roast (450g)
ASDA Smartprice Chicken Portions (1Kg)
Dairy & Eggs
3x ASDA Smartprice UHT Skimmed Milk (1L)
ASDA Smartprice Mixed Weight Eggs (15)
The Laughing Cow Cheese Spread Triangles (8 per pack – 140g)
Lunch – Rice with mixed vegetables and a stock cube.
Dinner – Eggs (fried, poached or scrambled), chips (home made with potatoes) and peas.
Snacks – Jam with crackers and weetabix.
So I came in just over £5 over budget. Considering I factored in a Sunday lunch, pudding and snacks (some days even TWO) I don’t think I did too badly.
I feel that this is a realistic diet for a family of one adult and two children to offer a balanced diet on a budget. Of course, fresh fruit and vegetables will always be the best thing to offer a growing child or a weight concious adult, it isn’t always possible on a tight budget.
The menu that I have put together could be used by someone with little to no cooking ability, could be tailored easily to a vegetarian family and could be sourced EVEN cheaper if you could shop at Lidl, Aldi or even a local fruit and vegetable market.
I personally see no reason why someone can choose a less healthy diet because of cost, and I certainly don’t think that weight loss should be incentiveised by the government when walking, running and going to the park is free exercise and you can feed a family on less than the bread line.
I had fed my family on less than £20 per week a few times this year… it can be done, but you need to be inventive and sometimes… really hungry – tinned sardines and mango anyone?
What do you think?
How would you change the meal plan?
Thanks so much for reading: How to feed a family on a budget: Part Two
Last week, Mr Vista and I celebrated our wedding anniversary.
I am still marvelling at how young we look… You can read all about our big day, all those years ago, right here.
I was left rather red faced when I was showered with beautiful gifts on our anniversary and I had got my Mr… a card.
To redeem myself, I promised to make Mr Vista a slap-up anniversary meal on his return home from work. Alas, after taking a look at what was in the fridge and kitchen cupboards there was nothing slap-uppery about their contents, so I went to Aldi in the hope that I would come away with something lovely.
Oh how wrong I was…
My plan was called cried off by a very little lady with a very big ‘tude. You can read all about my terrible day here.
So… after retreating to where the Little’s Miss’s tears of boredom would stop, I re-visited the kitchen. I had no choice. I was going to have to use it’s contents no matter how sparse. I couldn’t face disappointing Mr Vista again.
After some rummaging, I found:
1 red onion
1/2 yellow pepper
A ball of mozzarella cheese
Slightly scabby red Leicester cheese
Stale sandwich thins
Slightly out of date tinned tomatoes
NO tinned pineapples
Believe it or not, I managed to pull it off! I named my concoction:
Veggie Delight Tagliatelle with Cheesy Garlic Bread
I just threw everything together and hoped for the best. I was so happy when everything was actually tasty…
The Garlic Bread:
Pop some chives, basil, one clove of garlic, salt and pepper (and stray red onion from your knife) into a pestle and mortar.
Add a really generous tablespoon of butter and blend together until even. Slather over the insides of your sandwich thins… Sprinkle with some Red Leicester Cheese and set to one side to oven bake.
Chop the pepper and onion. Drain the cheese and put the side to use later.
Boil the pasta. Drain and put into a casserole dish. Pop some knobs of salted butter in (to stop the pasta from sticking) and sprinkle with basil. Let the butter melt.
Put the vegetables on-top of the mixture evenly, putting the tomato on last to allow their juies to keep the mixture moist.
Put into a pre-heated oven (at gas mark 5) for 15 – 20 minutes.
Bring out of the oven and add the torn up mozzarella cheese to the top of the mixture. Put back into the oven on a lower shelf for 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. At this point, put the garlic bread with cheese onto the top shelf of the oven, this should have browned and the cheese should have melted by the time the pasta is ready to serve.
Serve with a fizzy orange cocktail… and by this mean orange hi-juice diluted with soda water. Simple – but Mr Vista was impressed.
Because I felt so guilty about not getting Mr Vista a gift… a rustled up a little extra for dessert from what I found in the kitchen cupboard… I had planned to make individual pineapple upside-down cakes, but alas, there was no pineapple to be had in the kitchen.
Glacé cherries around the outside of a heart shaped tin covered with a basic Victoria sponge. Simple, but effective… and glorious with a cup of coffee.
What have you managed to make in a hurry with whatever you can find?
Thanks so much for reading: My kitchen and I are waiting for pay day: Veggie Delight