So here it is – WARNING: it’s a long post.
Firstly, I want to point out that I’m not the best cook so don’t expect to get any Nigella-style inspiration here. However, I am learning how to fill myself up on cheap food that’s still nutritious.
Secondly, we don’t eat meat so that keeps the cost down.
Thirdly, there are some things that we had in the cupboard already from previous shops that we used, I’ve put these things at the end of the shopping list.
Fourth, we do all our shopping in one go but use different shops to get the best deal and because not all shops stock exactly what we need.
And lastly, I’m not putting this up because I think we have everything exactly right; it’s purely to illustrate what we’ve been doing and I’m sure as my confidence grows I’ll be able to be tighter with the budget/ cooking.
And for those that need a recap: I was given £30 a week for groceries (food, toiletries and cleaning products). Frank is joining in with the food challenge so in theory we have £60 per week for 2 but we actuay think this is too much so have been trying to get the shop to under £45 per week.
Bought on Saturday 16 Jan
8 x tinned tomatoes (31p each) £2.48
Jar peanut butter £1.18
2 x tinned chickpeas (33p each) 66p
2 x jar sundried tomatoes (on sale 49p each) 98p
Clear honey £1.35
Large bottle balsamic vinegar 99p
2 x bags of pasta (29p each) 58p
Gravy granules 99p
Chocolate chips for baking 65p
4 x large onions 85p
2.5kg potatoes £1.49
3 pack of peppers 79p
Bag of carrots 45p
Spring onions 45p
Kitchen roll £1.48
14 bananas £2.14
2 x garlic bulbs (30p each) 60p
4 x soya milk (85p each) £3.40
1 x almond milk £1
Frozen berries £2.20
2 x tubs of mushrooms (£1 each) £2
2 x loose parsnips 54p
HOLLAND & BARRETT
375g soya mince £1.89
2 x tofu blocks £2.80
Grand total = £36.63
* Note that we would have bought the bananas, mushrooms, parsnips and garlic in Lidl rather than Sainsbury’s but there were none left.
Other stuff used in the cupboard this week – all of this has been bought from either Lidl or the Chinese supermarket in previous weeks
A packet of quinoa that was floating around
Teaspoon of marmite
Salt and pepper
Vegetable stock powder
So what did we do with the food?
We did our shop on Saturday night (rock and roll!) so this food will cover us from Sunday until when we go shopping again – sometime on Saturday.
Breakfast: we used the oats and milk to make porridge with a few tablespoons of berries and a drizzle of honey. Cups of tea as standard!
Then we went out for a walk so had late lunch/early dinner of pasta with olive oil, crushed garlic and a few sundried tomatoes.
Weekends are also used for batch-cooking lunches for the week. This week we decided to make a big spag bol. This list of ingredients makes 12 portions:
½ bag of soya mince
½ tub of mushrooms
8 x tins tomatoes
2 x large onions
3 or 4 x garlic cloves
2 x tablespoons of basil
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Teaspoon of marmite
1 litre of veg stock
Recipe: cook onions on low heat with garlic, basil, vinegar, and marmite. Add in pre-soaked soya mince, tinned tomatoes and mushrooms. I then add a litre of veg stock and cook it down slowly over a couple of hours. But if you don’t want to keep the cooker on that long then reduce the amount of stock in and cook down for a shorter period.
I decided not to buy more pasta and use the quinoa instead because we had it in the cupboard and I don’t think it matters if you eat spag bol with grains or pasta!
I also used half the bread mix to make a loaf so we had some of that later on too because neither of were that hungry.
We also tucked into some flapjack biscuits that we made with oats, peanut butter, flour, choc chips honey. If anyone wants this recipe then give me a shout – conscious that this blog will get too long!
The biscuit recipe makes about 25 biscuits so plenty to keep us going on our bikes.
As you can see Sunday is a big cooking day and a lot of time has to be given over to preparing food for the week but it means there’s food available.
Breakfast: smoothies made in the blender that we both take to work. One banana, tablespoon of frozen berries, scoop of oats, half milk/half water.
Lunch: spag bol and quinoa of course!
Dinner: I was out so had some pasta with oil, garlic and sundried tomatoes when I got home because I was tired. F was in and made himself a tofu scramble using a third of a pack of tofu, turmeric, spring onions, quarter of a pepper, spinach, flavoured with turmeric and soy sauce on some of the homemade bread.
Lunch: spag bol and quinoa
Dinner: I had spag bol and quinoa again as I was going out with a friend and needed something to heat up at work (I’m freelance but go into an office 3 days a week).
F was also out and had some pasta with sundried toms, garlic, and oil for a quick and easy dinner.
Breakfast: smoothies and I also snagged 2 x bits of toast at the office I work in
Lunch: spag bol and quinoa
Dinner: made falafels with 2 x tins chickpeas, garlic, cumin, and onion. Had with roasted potatoes and salad. The recipe made loads – 20 falafels so loads left. There’s also extra potatoes.
Lunch: falafel, potatoes and salad for me and F had spag bol with quinoa (pic above).
Dinner: used carrots, parsnips, potatoes, onions, gravy and veg stock to make a stew. Threw some quinoa in there too for added protein.
Made a loaf of bread with the remaining half of the bread mix and had some bread with the stew for mopping up.
Lunch: Spag bol and quinoa
Dinner: Rest of the stew and bread
Breakfast: tofu scramble using the left over veg like spring onions, pepper, spinach and mushrooms. Also used up the potatoes making some roasted chipped potatoes (pic above).
Lunch: quick pasta with oil, garlic and sundried toms before going out
Then we did our foot shopping on the Saturday and the cycle starts over again!
Writing down how we use the food this week has been a really good exercise as it’s made me take into consideration all the packets of stuff that have little bits and pieces left in them.
We went through the cupboards and pulled out all the odds and ends of packets and realise we still have plenty of staple foods like rice, pasta, an old packet of risotto rice that we still need to use up. We plan to use it all up this week and so we were able to keep this week’s shop to a record low of £22.97.
Thanks for reading!