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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Our Family Meal Plan for Half Term Week beginning 13/02/2017 - £63

It's Half Term here this week which means hungry children at home, but more hands to help with baking and making their snacks.  My 13yo is off on a Youth Camp for 4 days so there's one less cherub to feed for some of the week.

I tend to have filling breakfasts and lunches during the school holidays which means less snacking, and also if we have morning or afternoon activities planned we only need to take along our own drinks and a small snack, rather than a mega picnic to feed the 5000.

Unfortunately, the weather isn't picnic friendly.
We're restocking the baking supplies so our shopping is slightly more expensive this week.  Thankfully our herbs and greens in the garden are still going strong, and the rhubarb is starting to grow again so we'll welcome that when there's enough to pick and eat.

Our Meal Plan

Breakfasts will be overnight oats, with apple, cinnamon and raisins, pancakes or scrambled eggs on toast with bacon for a weekend treat.

Slice fruit thinly and make fruit kebabs to help fruit supplies go further.
Lunches will be largely eaten at home this week.  There will be a double batch of Vegetable and Pearl Barley Soup and Spicy Roast Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup which will be served with our Hidden Goodness Rolls.  We'll bake Homemade Pizzas, Twice Baked Potatoes, and Vegetable Parcels too.


Snacks will be rice pudding, popcorn, and fruit with yoghurt, teacakes, and scones/soda bread.


Dinners

Spicy Rice with Chickpeas and Spinach/Chard – Meatfree Monday


1 ½ cups basmati or long grain rice
1 Tblsp olive oil
3 carrots, roughly diced
1 pepper, roughly diced
1 leek, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp mild curry powder
400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
400ml vegetable stock, made with 1 stock cube
300ml water
200g spinach or chard leaves (fresh or frozen)
2 Tblsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 Tblsp chopped fresh mint leaves

Put the rice in a sieve and rinse it under cold running water until the water runs clear. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the roughly diced carrots, pepper, leek, garlic, raisins/sultanas and spices. Cook, stirring it occasionally for about 8 – 10 minutes or until the vegetables, especially the carrots, are tender.

Once the vegetables are tender add the chickpeas, rice, stock, and water. Bring everything to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook everything with the lid on the saucepan for 12 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and put the spinach over the top of the rice. Replace the lid on the saucepan and stand for 8 minutes. Uncover the saucepan again and add the chopped fresh herbs. Stir everything together until well combined.  I'll me serving ours with steamed mixed vegetables and homemade Naan breads.

Roast Chicken with Roast Vegetables and Yorkshire Puddings




Simmered Mince with Mixed Potato Mash

Chilli Con Carne with Rice

Shopping List

41 items: £62.72

Packets and Cereals
1x   Mornflake Superfast Oats (2Kg)                                          £2.18
1x   Allinson Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg)                           87p was £1.30
1x   Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (1Kg)                                  64p
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   Jus Rol Puff Pastry Block (500g)                                        £1.25
1x   ASDA Good and Balanced Seedless Raisins (1Kg)              £2.98
1x   ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg)                            40p
1x   ASDA Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g)     65p
1x   Island Sun Popcorn (500g)                                                  89p
1x   ASDA Good and Balanced Pearl Barley (500g)                    50p

Frozen
3x   ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)                          £2.31

Tins, Jars and Cooking
1x   ASDA Vegetable Oil (1L)                                                    £1.15
2x   ASDA Good and Balanced Chick Peas in Water (400g)        70p
1x   KTC Chilli Beans in Spicy Tomato Sauce (400g)                 33.3p Buy any 3 FOR £1.00
2x   KTC Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice (400g)                 66.7p Buy any 3 FOR £1.00
1x   Dunn's River Caribbean Mild Curry Powder (100g)               89p
1x   ASDA Stock Cubes - Vegetable (12x10g)                            50p

Dairy and Eggs
3x   ASDA Semi Skimmed Milk 6 Pints (3.41L)                           £4.35
1x   ASDA British Whole Milk 6 Pints (3.41L)                             £1.45
3x   ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g)                 £1.35
1x   ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15)                        £2.00
1x   ASDA Butter - Unsalted (250g)                                           £1.09

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x   ASDA Smartprice Cooking Bacon (500g)                             60p
1x   ASDA Butcher's Selection Beef Meatballs (25 per pack - 710g)      £3.33 Buy any 3 FOR £10.00
1x   ASDA Butcher's Selection Extra Tasty Whole Chicken (1.25Kg)     £3.33 Buy any 3 FOR £10.00
1x   ASDA Butcher's Selection Beef Mince - 20% Fat (1Kg)        £3.33 Buy any 3 FOR £10.00

Fruit and Vegetables
30   ASDA Grower's Selection Bananas                                     £2.52
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Carrots (1Kg)                              90p
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection White Potatoes (2.5Kg)               £2.50
2x     ASDA Grower's Selection Butternut Squash                        £1.80
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Celery                                         £1.20
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Garlic Loose                               40p
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Sweet Potatoes (1Kg)                  £1.90
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Sweetclems (1.4Kg)                    £2.25
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Brown Onions (1Kg)                    74p
6x   ASDA Smartprice Apples (500g)                                         £3.00
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Mixed Peppers (700g)                 £1.20
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Plums (750g)                              £2.46

Drinks
1x   ASDA Italian Roast and Ground Coffee (227g)                     £2.00
Prices and special offers reflect those of the online grocery websites My Supermarket, and are correct as of 11 February 2017.  Prices may vary in different in-store locations.


We purchased our shopping via My Supermarket on 11/02/2017.  The cost of our shopping was £62.72, had we shopped elsewhere, our shopping would've cost:

£73.53 from Morrisons
£75.39 from Tesco
£78.22 from Sainsbury's
£88.76 from Ocado
£92.69 from Waitrose


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Saturday, 11 February 2017

Bagels

My family really enjoy bagels, especially for hearty packed lunches.  They are expensive to buy, usually costing between £1 and £1.60 for a 4 or 5 pack from the supermarket.  I baked a dozen bagels and they cost 47p to make, not counting energy/cooking fuel costs.


You could add chopped, finely cooked onion and garlic to make the bagels more flavoursome, or for sweet bagels add some ground cinnamon and a couple of handfuls of raisins.  I used white bread flour to make these bagels, if using wholemeal bread flour you will need to add a little more water (3 - 6 tablespoons) and they will take longer to rise.  

Bagels

500g strong bread flour - 32p
7g instant yeast - 11p
10g salt - 1p
1 Tblsp golden syrup or sugar - 3p
250ml lukewarm water - free

Mix everything together to form a dough and then knead it really well, for about 15 minutes in a mixer or slightly longer by hand. It is quite a firm dough. Leave to prove until almost doubled in size.  
Knock the dough back then divide into 12 portions, my plain dough weighed 65g a portion. Roll each piece of dough into a long sausage shape then join the ends and roll to seal the join. Leave to prove again for around 30 - 40 minutes. 

Thanks to my husband for being the hand model
Preheat your oven to 240C/220C Fan/Gas Mark 9. Put a pot of water on the stove and bring the water to just simmering, not actively boiling, and cook the bagels for a minute each side. Drain then put on lined baking trays. Cook the bagels in the preheated oven for around 15 - 18 minutes.


Monday, 6 February 2017

Our Family Meal Plan for week beginning 06/02/2017 - £55

Our Meal Plan for this week is another one full of quick dinners.  Toddler boy and I are still poorly and the lurgy has gone through the entire house.  Last week, on Friday, my 10yo and 16yo had school dinners as I had run out of energy and was properly poorly.  These things happen, and an occasional school dinner is not the end of the world.


We've only a couple of evening events this week, a very welcome quieter social life so we can rest and recover.  Our garden is still going well producing greens and herbs to help with our meals.  I also have some spices left in the store cupboard so have not had to purchase those this week.  

Meal Plan 

Breakfasts will either be overnight oats or porridge with pear and plum compote.  We'll have pancakes and crumpets on the weekend.

Packed Lunches will be bagels filled with either cheese and chutney or egg and chive spread with vegetable crudites and yoghurt dip and a baked treat and piece of fruit for afters.  

Weekend Lunches will be a double batch of Spiced Vegetable Patties  in homemade wraps with coleslaw and Twice Baked Potatoes

Baked Treats will be Parsnip Loaf and Scones, snacks will be fruit and popcorn.


Dinners

Bean and Veg Burgers with Coleslaw and Wedges

2 tins kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 onions, finely diced
2 peppers, finely diced
1 tsp chilli powder
200g fresh breadcrumbs
about 1kg 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 10 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 coleslaw. I sometimes sprinkle a little paprika and/or chilli powder over the wedges to give them a little more flavour.

Image result for utterly scrummy blog bean burgers morrisons
Photo courtesy of Morrisons, used with permission.

Baked Fish with White Beans

2 tsp olive oil
2 large leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
30ml water
2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
2 x 400g tin cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
300g frozen mixed vegetables, defrosted
5 sprigs fresh thyme
500g thick white fish fillets

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 and defrosted mixed vegetables to the baking dish. Stir to combine everything. Arrange the sprigs of thyme and fish fillets on top of the vegetables.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Remove the thyme sprigs before you serve the dish.


Creamy Bacon and Vegetable Pasta

500g spaghetti
250g unsmoked back bacon
2 cloves garlic, minced
450g frozen mixed vegetables
300ml pot crème fraîche

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the spaghetti and cook following pack instructions. When the spaghetti has about 5 minutes left to cook toss in the frozen mixed vegetables

Meanwhile, in a deep frying pan, fry the bacon until the fat starts to run and then add the garlic, fry until the bacon is lightly golden.

Once the pasta is al dente, drain the spaghetti and vegetables and add to the bacon.  Stir through the crème fraîche and serve immediately.  You could serve some garlic bread on the side for very hungry teens, if necessary.



Quick Fish Chowder

1 Tblsp olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 peppers, diced
250g bacon, rind removed and finely diced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 potatoes, washed and cut in 1cm cubes
2 carrots, scrubbed then finely diced
625ml cups milk
1 tsp garlic salt
325g tin sweetcorn, drained
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.


Mixed Vegetable and Macaroni Cheese

I make my own cheese sauce using a roux base and add frozen mixed vegetables to the pasta during the last few minutes of cooking time. Our Macaroni Cheese usually has plenty of vegetables with the pasta in a rich cheddar cheese sauce.


Crustless Quiche

3 cups mixed vegetables
1 cup cheese, grated
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup self-raising flour
good grinding of black pepper

Put the vegetables and ¾ of the cheese into a greased ovenproof dish. Lightly beat the eggs and milk together in a jug. Sprinkle over the self-raising flour and mix well, ensuring there are no lumps. Pour egg mixture over the vegetables and grind over some black pepper then sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Bake at 200°C for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and set. Serve either hot or cold.

Image result for utterly scrummy blog crustless quiche


Vegetable Stew with Dumplings

2 Tblsp oil
25g butter
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 parsnip, peeled and diced
2 large carrots carrots, peeled and diced
1 swede, peeled and diced
2 leeks, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp mustard
2 Tblsp plain flour
1 heaped tsp vegemite
500ml vegetable stock
400g tin haricot or butter beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper

Dumplings:
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
125g butter, diced
2 tsp diced mixed herbs
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.

Put the oil and butter in a large flameproof casserole dish over a moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for couple of minutes. Add the potatoes, parsnip, carrot, sweede and leeks. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring, over a moderate heat until the vegetables start to turn golden and soften slightly. Reduce the heat slightly and ad the garlic, thyme and mustard. Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, ensure the vegetables are well coated in the flour. Add the vegetmite, stock and tinned pulses.

Bring the mixture to the boil, cover with a lid then put in the preheated oven. Bake for 40 - 50 minutes. Whilst the stew is cooking prepare the dumplings. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. stir in the herbs and a little salt and pepper. Add a 1 or 2 tablespoons of water, just enough to form a stiff dough.

Divide the dough into walnut sized balls, cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge until ready to use. When the stew has baked for 40 - 50 minutes in the oven, remove from the oven and add the dumplings. Ensure the dumplings are partially submerged in the stew. Cover the pot with a lid and cook on the stove top/hob, over a moderate heat, for around 20 minutes until the dumplings have risen and are golden on top. I usually serve this stew with steamed greens.


Shopping List

42 items: £55.18

Packets and Cereals
1x   Mornflake Superfast Oats (2Kg)                                              £2.18
1x   ASDA Good and Balanced Wholewheat Spaghetti (500g)         50p
1x   ASDA Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg)                                 95p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg)                           45p
1x   ASDA Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g)         65p
1x   ASDA Good and Balanced Wholewheat Penne (500g)              50p
1x   Island Sun Popcorn (500g)                                                      89p

Frozen
3x   ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)                              £2.31
1x   ASDA Cook from Frozen Pollock Fillets (1Kg)                         £4.00

Tins, Jars and Cooking
1x   ASDA Smartprice Sweetcorn in Water (326g)                          35p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Dried Mixed Herbs (18g)                             25p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Mayonnaise (500ml)                                    40p
3x   KTC White Kidney Beans in Salted Water (400g)                     £1.00
2x   KTC Chick Peas in Salted Water (400g)                                  66p
2x   KTC Red Kidney Beans in Salted Water (400g)                       66p
2x   KTC Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice (400g)                     66.p
1x   ASDA Stock Cubes - Vegetable (12x10g)                                59p

Dairy and Eggs
1x   ASDA Crème Fraîche (300ml)                                                 95p
3x   ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L)                    £2.97
2x   ASDA British Whole Milk 4 Pints (2.27L)                                 £1.98
2x   ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g)                     90p
1x   ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15)                            £2.00
1x   ASDA Butter - Unsalted (250g)                                               £1.09
1x   ASDA English Medium Cheddar (350g)                                   £1.50
1x   ASDA 30% Less Fat Extra Mature British Cheese (350g)         £1.50

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x   ASDA Smartprice Cooking Bacon (500g)                                 60p

Fruit and Vegetables
25   ASDA Grower's Selection Bananas by Weight (200g)              £2.10
1     ASDA Grower's Selection White Cabbage by Weight (1.3Kg)   98p
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Carrots (1Kg)                                  90p
4     ASDA Grower's Selection Leeks by Weight (300g)                  £1.80
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection White Potatoes (2.5Kg)                   £1.25
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Celery                                             £1.20p
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Garlic Loose                                   20p
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Sweetclems (1.4Kg)                        £4.50
5x   ASDA Grower's Selection Plums Ripen at Home (400g)           £2.50
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Brown Onions (1Kg)                        74p
6x   ASDA Smartprice Apples (500g)                                             £3.00
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection British Parsnips (500g)                    60p
2x   ASDA Grower's Selection Mixed Peppers (700g)                     £2.40
1x   ASDA Grower's Selection Swede                                            50p

Drinks
1x   ASDA Italian Roast and Ground Coffee (227g)                         £2.00

Prices and special offers reflect those on My Supermarket, and are correct as of 4th February 2017.  Prices may vary in different in-store locations.

We purchased our shopping from Asda online on 4th February 2017, had we shopped elsewhere our items would've cost:

£64.36 from Morrisons
£65.57 from Tesco 
£67.28 from Sainsbury's
£85.36 from Ocado
£89.19 from Waitrose