Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cost: The Yummy Food Budget Week

Hi guys. So ever since this year at University I have been getting better and better at keeping my weekly food shopping as low as possible- i'm sure a lot of people will learn honestly how much food costs when they become a student and therein become strapped for cash. I thought I would write out an example week's worth of dinners, for two, as an example of how to plan a food budget. And unlike a lot of these budget food blogs/ recipes, where they say recipes cost "less than £1 a portion", but that portion wouldn't fill up a 3 year old child- this week's meal ideas/budgeted shopping list makes dinner for two, for 7 nights, with very generous portions- for only £24.51 (based on Sainsburys' prices!) !! That's only £3.50 a night- for delicious and healthy home-cooked meals. The shopping list is literally based on if you had nothing in the cupboards to start with!

The Yummy Food Budget Week- Total price £24.51
400g beef mince x 2= £2.92
1 x Large 2.3kg Whole Chicken= £5.75

Garlic heads x 2= 33p
1.5kg onions= 95p
1 x 335g head of broccoli= 69p
400g loose carrots= 32p
300g white mushrooms= £1
500g courgettes= 50p

2.5kg Desiree potatoes- £2
1kg white rice- 40p
1x 800g white or wholemeal sliced loaf- 50p

Kitchen Cupboard
2 x 400g tin tomatoes= 70p
1 x  400g tin kidney beans= 30p
1 x 150ml Sharwoods rich soy sauce= £1

Herbs and Spices
80g medium curry powder- £1
13g mixed herbs- 35p
44g mild chilli powder- £1
25g ground black pepper- 35p

12 x Oxo chicken stock cubes- £1.25
750g bottle of salt- 30p
500g cornflour- £1.20
500g Flora Spread- £1.70

Meal Plan
Roast Chicken Dinner, with buttered potatoes, gravy, and broccoli (Chicken, potatoes, onions, garlic, mixed herbs, chicken stock, broccoli).

Chicken curry and rice (Chicken, onions, garlic, chicken stock, tin tomatoes, curry powder, rice)

Chicken and Carrot Casserole and mashed potato (onions, garlic, chicken, carrots, chicken stock, mixed herbs, potatoes, flora spread).

Chicken and mushroom stir fry with rice (chicken, mushrooms, soy sauce, garlic, chicken stock, rice)

Cottage pie, with sautéed courgettes and gravy on side (beef mince, onions, garlic, chicken stock, mixed herbs, potatoes, flora spread, courgettes)

Chilli con carne with rice (beef mince, chilli powder, onions, garlic, chicken stock, tin tomatoes, tin of kidney beans, rice)


“Everything and Anything Soup”, with bread and flora spread (boil any leftover veg/ potatoes/ anything in the fridge that needs using- in chicken stock, using whatever herbs and spices you like).

Important Notes
  • It is important on the Sunday that once the chicken is roasted (just with a bit of flora spread, salt and pepper on top of it), and you have got all the meat off it, that you portion it out into 4 portions- about 250g/300g each- so you know you have enough chicken for recipes Sunday-Wednesday. 
  • I tend to buy "Flora Spread", or a type of low fat spread, as it can be used for anything- frying anything, mixed into potatoes for mash, put on top of steamed vegetables on the side, or spread onto bread. I find it more versatile than oil. 
  • The cornflour is on the list, as with any of these dishes, if you need to thicken any recipes/sauces, just add 1 or 2 tsp of cornflour mixed in with water and it should thicken up in a couple of minutes. I find it an essential kitchen cupboard staple. 
  • A basic gravy can easily be made by frying onions and garlic in the flora spread until caramelised, add chicken stock and mixed herbs, a little cornflour mixed with water, then cook until thick. Season to taste and its done! This simple gravy is also made infinitely better if you have a splash of wine or cider to add to it too. 
  • If doing a weekly shop, you may want to buy the bread a little later in the week for the soup- might not have a sell by date of 7 days?

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