For 5 days, Jenny fed her hungry boys breakfast, lunch and dinner all from her £50 shopping from Asda. Read her meal planner to see how she did it and get some ideas for how to feed your family…
Jenny says: ‘I managed to spend just under my £50 as my shopping came in at £48.76 BUT I did have to pop to the supermarket again mid-week to get some more fruit (they eat lots of fruit!) and Babybels for the boys and some more bread, so in total I spent about £58 on food and drink items. I tried to make the main meals cost 50p a head.
‘It is worth mentioning that I do have two fussy boys and even my OH can be a bit faddy with food so our meals are a bit similar ie. the use of minced meat, pasta and cheese!! But the meals are nutritious and tasty and reasonably good value for money I think/hope.’
Jenny says: ‘First day of the challenge and both boys are ill with a tummy bug!! Also this week OH is home from work so our main meal will be eaten at tea time this week, whereas normally the boys and I eat it at lunch time.’
Lunch: Spanish-style egg fried rice
Jenny says: ‘I had some leftovers from yesterday’s lunch which was a chicken and chorizo stew and I also had some rice left which I had served with the meal. I decided to make it go around the four of us by trying something new! I made a Spanish-style egg fried rice which was really tasty and I topped it with some grated cheese and served it with some part-baked rolls which I cooked in the oven. The OH and I also had some salad leaves on the side.
‘The boys were poorly so they didn’t have anything much to eat – just some grapes and cheese.’
Dinner: Chunky Minestrone served with garlic bread
Jenny says: ‘This is a bit different to a normal minestrone soup as it is very chunky and I put tortellini in it instead of regular pasta. It’s a great way to use up left over veg and is mostly store cupboard ingredient based.
‘Sauté some onion in some garlic and olive oil, add some chopped carrot and cook until soft. Add some chopped courgette and peppers and cook for a few more minutes. Then add a tin of butter beans, 2 tins of chopped tomatoes with herbs (the value ones are most cost effective), some tomato puree, some chicken stock, black pepper and bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes and then add the fresh tortellini and cook for the time stated on the packet. Serve with garlic bread and some cheese. (This makes enough for 4 adults so there will be leftovers for another day.)
‘My eldest didn’t eat anything as was still suffering but my youngest did try a little bit of dinner.’
Jenny says: ‘We visited my Mum today so ended up having lunch there, which saved me having to make it!!’
Breakfast: Brioche and jam with yogurt
Dinner: Cottage pie
Jenny says: ‘This is a staple meal I make because it is something we all enjoy eating, it is frugal and I can get lots of hidden vegetables in it without my children and their daddy knowing!! I also manage to make enough to make a spare one for the freezer and it costs about 50p a portion.
‘I add to the beef mince (250g) an onion, grated carrot and parsnip and a tin of baked beans, some frozen peas, an Oxo cube and some thick gravy made from gravy granules with a tsp of marmite and some black pepper. The topping varies depending on what I have in my cupboard, this time I used potatoes, swede and sweet potato.’
Jenny says: ‘Day 3 and I am enjoying this food challenge as it is really getting me to think about what how much per head meals cost to make and how to make the most of the ingredients I have.’
Breakfast: Banana and caramel and chocolate spread pancakes
Get the recipe: Banana pancakes with caramel and chocolate spread
Jenny says: ‘I had some bananas which were starting to get a little over ripe so I decided to make some pancakes with them using store cupboard basics. These were delicious and so cheap to make and avoided binning some bananas. The boys were not a fan of them but then they don’t normally eat pancakes anyway (yes, I have strange children!), but the OH and I really enjoyed them.’
Lunch: Leftover chunky minestrone soup served with bread and butter
Dinner: Smoky BBQ pork chilli with rice and tortilla chips
Jenny says: ‘This is another meal that goes a long way and I always make enough to eat again the following night and serve with maybe a jacket potato or I freeze the spare batch for another day.
‘Basically, you fry the mince with onions and garlic in some olive oil and add some smoked paprika and cumin. Then add some chopped peppers, a tin of kidney beans in chilli sauce, some passatta, tomato puree and some BBQ sauce. Bring it to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until the sauce has thickened (stirring occasionally). Serve with boiled rice, some grated cheese and tortilla chips (I bought the cheapest long grain rice and the cheapest tortilla chips as they taste fine for this meal). It’s really tasty and works out at about 50p per portion.’
Breakfast: Cereal, marmite sandwich, cheese and grapes for eldest.
Lunch: Packed lunch for my eldest for pre-school, fish finger sandwiches for OH and I, jam sandwich for toddler.
Dinner: Pasta Bolognese with garlic bread
Jenny says: ‘We have this every week because its the boys favourite meal and again it is frugal, a great way to get them to eat vegetables without them realising and I make it stretch over two meals which again I either freeze a batch or we have it again the next day.
‘I make this in the slow cooker and basically just place all the ingredients for the Bolognese sauce in it and leave it to cook all day/overnight, so easy! I use beef mince (250g), onion, grated carrot, parsnip and courgette, two peppers chopped, 2 tins of chopped tomatoes with herbs (I use the cheapest ones), an Oxo cube, a beef stock-pot gel thingy, tomato puree and garlic. Served with pasta twirls, some grated cheese and garlic bread (again I bought the value garlic bread as it tastes nice). Price per portion is about 50p again.’
Breakfast: Pan au chocolat/brioche, yogurt and fruit
Jenny says: ‘We went out for the day so I packed a picnic consisting of sandwiches, crisps, apples, Babybel cheese, cocktail sausages and I made some blueberry and banana muffins as I had more over ripe bananas to use up and some blueberries left in the fridge.’
Dinner: Spinach pancake cannelloni
Jenny says: I decided to make a meal based on whatever I could find in my fridge and cupboards and invented a new dish which I have no cooked for my family before.
‘I made some pancakes adding spinach to the batter and once cooled down, I filled them with some cream cheese, ham and grated cheese and rolled them into tubes. While I made the pancakes I roasted some peppers, tomatoes, garlic and onion in some olive oil and basil. Once cooked I blended them to make a sauce which I covered the pancake rolls with I topped with some mozzarella cheese and baked for 30 minutes and served with the rest of the part baked rolls I had in the cupboard and the remaining salad leaves.
‘This went down well with my OH who I thought might turn his nose up at the green pancakes! The children ate a little but then as I mentioned before they are not pancake fans (yet), but I will make this again because it was a good way to use things I had lying around waiting to be used. Plus I had most of the ingredients already so it was quite frugal too.’
- Babybel cheese
- Frube fromage frais which I freeze as then they are like yogurt ice creams
- Packs of raisins
- Homemade muffins – blueberry & banana and some lemon curd ones
- Fromage frais
- Choc ices
Jenny’s shopping list
- Garlic bread x 2 (Asda basics)
- Passatta (Asda basics)
- Fruit and fibre (Asda own)
- Mature cheddar
- Pack of Babybel
- Pack of carrots
- Baked beans
- Wholemeal bread x 2
- Beef mince (500g)
- Pork mince (500g)
- Pack of value peppers
- Fish fingers
- Fresh tortellini pasta
- Green grapes
- Red grapes
- Yogurts (kids)
- Yogurts (adults)
- Choc ices
- Chocolate brioche
- Pan au chocolat
- Ginger nuts (value)
- Chocolate digestives (value)
- Penguin biscuits
- Part-baked rolls x 2 (promotion)
- Tortilla chips
Jenny says: I used a lot of my store cupboard ingredients as I
always have fairly full cupboards so I can make something from nothing
when I need to.’
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