The other day I wrote about our Essential List for Meal Planning on a budget. I know that, at a glance, it can look quite sparse and so I wanted to share with you some of the meals we create with it.
I’m going to try and work out a rough cost for each meal, however costs will obviously vary depending on whether there are seasonal deals and also where you choose to shop. To give you a rough idea of our weekly spend, our last grocery shop cost us just under £32 and will provide us with lunches and dinners for around a week.
We managed this by shopping at Aldi and thinking ahead about what we might make to ensure we only bought as much as we needed, whilst also making sure we got as many meals out of each item as possible. I must hasten to add that £32 was just for fruit, veg, fish, bread etc as we already had cereals and milk left over from previous shops. We also have some things like pasta, quinoa, flour etc in the cupboard too. For me, meal planning on a budget is all about making the most of what we already have and buying only what is needed to complement that or replace store cupboard essentials . Perhaps our Store Cupboard Essentials another list to share on another day!
So with all that in mind, I think it is perhaps more helpful to work out the approximate cost of each meal we make to give you a better idea of how far your money can go.
Roasted Vegetable Hot Pot
3 potatoes – 20p (£1 for a 2.5kg bag)
1 leek – 10p (29p for a pack of 3)
1 red pepper – 32p (95p for a pack of 3)
1 carrot – 7p (49p for a 1.2kg bag)
1 courgette – 46p (£1.39 for a pack of 3)
1 parsnip – 20p (59p for a 600g bag)
1/3 head of broccoli – 15p (44p per unit)
1/4 pack of mushrooms – 22p (89p per pack)
1/4 pack of green beans – 20p (79 per per pack)
1/4 pack of sugar snap peas – 21p (85p per pack)
1/2 pack of baby corn – 45p (89p per pack)
1 pack wheat-free gravy – 67p (bought from Sainsbury’s in 3 for £2 offer)
Total cost of meal – £3.25 (should serve up to 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 kids).
Clearly you could have made a bigger saving by not using wheat-free gravy, but that’s one of the things we simply have to budget for as I cannot tolerate wheat. And of course you could cut the cost down further by swapping more expensive items such as fresh baby corn for frozen sweetcorn. But we’re enjoying the fact that this is still within our budget and allows us to eat a wide variety of fresh vegetables at each meal.
Fancy having a go?
Preparation Time – approximately 15 mins
Cooking Time – 45 mins
1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Place two trays in the oven with a small amount of oil (we used a teaspoon of coconut oil on each).
2. Dice the carrot and parsnip and slice the leek into medallions. Place these on the first tray and put them into the oven.
3. Slice the potatoes (skin on) into rounds of approx. 1cm thickness and lay flat on the second baking tray. Put these in the oven about 10 mins after putting the carrot, parsnip and leek in.
4. Chop up the rest of the veg into small, bite-sized pieces.
5. After the carrot, parsnip and leek have been in the oven for 30 mins, they should be soft and slightly browned on the outside. Take them out and transfer them into the casserole dish. Cover with foil and place in the bottom of the oven to keep warm.
6. Put the remaining veg onto the tray you have just cleared and place them in the oven for 15 – 20 mins. You will need to keep an eye on these and the potatoes near the end. If the potatoes start getting too crispy, cover with foil.
7. Make the gravy and add this to the casserole dish along with the rest of the veg. Layer the potatoes across the top and enjoy. As the potatoes have been roasted, there will be no need to put the casserole dish back in the oven to crisp up.