Sian says: 'I have a confession to make. When goodtoknow challenged me to feed my family for £50 for 5 days, to cover 3 meals and snacks, I wasn't that worried. £50 is our usual grocery shopping budget for a week. But food is getting more expensive each week so I'm having to find ways to get more for our money. I've been meal planning for a while now and have a good range of cheap but tasty meals that are always well received by my family.
'I managed to buy everything I needed for 7 days worth of food for
£44.10, leaving enough for bread and milk top-ups throughout the week.'
Breakfast and lunch
Monday to Friday breakfasts are toast, cereal or porridge with lunches generally being leftovers or sandwiches. Alongside fruit and breadsticks we usually have snacks such as flapjacks (using the leftover oats for porridge) and a Victoria sponge, which also make great additions to a lunchbox.
Monday - Sausage and bean casserole
One of our regular meals that takes little effort and keeps costs low. Bulked out by both baked beans - bear with me if you're not a baked beans in things person - and butter beans and a good way to use up any odds and ends of veg. At it's most simple, it consists of beans, sausages, celery and carrots with a bit of stock. This is a firm favourite.
Tuesday - Cheese and onion potato pie
One I have my mother-in-law to thank for. In essence, mashed potato mixed with softened onions, grated cheese and a bit of seasoning and then baked until the top is golden and crispy. A couple of parsnips added to the mash gives a sweeter flavour which is often welcomed by the younger members of the family. Served with green beans it's a cheap, but nutritious meal.
Wednesday - Roast butternut squash soup
Soup is always a winner here and, as we like ours on the thick side, it makes for a cheap, healthy and filling meal. Simply cut the squash in half and roast, skin still on, along with a couple of shallots or a roughly chopped red onion along with a drizzle of oil, sea salt and black pepper. Scoop out the flesh and whizz in a blender with hot vegetable stock. Serve with crusty bread to dunk.
Thursday - Pizza and wedges
The meal that my 3-year-old asks for every week, I use a ciabatta mix from Asda for the base which produces 2 decent-sized pizzas. Topped with tomato puree, grated cheese and sliced fresh tomato, served with homemade potato wedges, it guarantees empty plates and full tummies. I add a layer of caramelised onion to one of them which gives another layer of flavour.
Friday - Smoked salmon and pea spaghetti
I find it hard to get fish into our diets as anything other than fish fingers is met with slight suspicion but this smoked salmon dish is always enjoyed. At 98p for a pack of smoked salmon trimmings, this is a relatively cheap meal but feels slightly more luxurious. Crème fraiche is used as the sauce, heated through with the smoked salmon trimmings and freshly ground black pepper. A few handfuls of frozen peas thrown in with the spaghetti (or any pasta you have in the cupboard) adds to your 5-a-day.
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