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Friday, 13 February 2015

100 meals for £200: Week 3

It is week 3 of my challenge. Firstly i apologies for how late this post is. We have been bug ridden in this house this week and blogging has been the furthest thing on my mind. 

This week has been hard as we are on our skint week. Determined to not use anything i have put aside in the freezer for at least another 2 weeks, I have aimed for £30 again this week. Here is how it went....

Week 3 

This week i plan to batch cook 4 meals to freeze. My eventual aim is to have a full month of dinners in the freezer so all that is needed shop wise is lunches and breakfasts. In order to keep my shopping total low this week i cooked meals using ingredients i already brought which is why there is alot of spinach and mushroom for dinner. I wanted a mainly meat free meal plan as i would like to introduce more vegetarian meals into our diet. 

Sweet Chilli Prawn Noodles

This is a slimming world recipe which is similar to the Chilli, Tomato Prawn linguine in Zizzi restaurant. I am really funny with seafood and would not personally freeze portions of this. I brought frozen prawns which made enough to feed us for the one meal and left over prawns kept in the freezer. 

Spinach and Potato Curry 

Another slimming world recipe which despite the looks tastes really nice. Easily adapted to an individual's taste and extra veggies could be added. This can be frozen so make extra for another meal. I made this particular curry with cauliflower rice but added boiled rice to the recipe in case anyone wants to use that instead. 

I did end up cooking more potato than i needed. I mashed the potato, added spices and a little spinach and shape into patty shapes which made spicy bubble and squeak. This has been frozen for a future meal. 

Cauliflower rice is amazing! It is freezable and 1 large cauliflower will make around 4-5 batches. To make simply cut the florets away from the core and chop into smaller pieces, Place the florets (in small batches) in a food processor and process until chopped up finely but not completely pulverized. If you are like me and do not own a food processor, a cheese grater works fine but does take alot longer.   

Savory muffins (breakfast muffins)

These are simple genius pieces of food! I made 40 of these in total (of of each flavour) using 8 eggs (2 eggs per flavour/batch) and various ingredients. The gave us enough snacks for the week. 

  • Bacon, cheese and onion
  • Ham, Leek and mushroom
  • Spinach and feta 
  • Bacon ham and tomato
There is lots of other combinations but these are our favorites. To make them simply pre cook the ingredients you are using and place them into a bowl. Add eggs and milk and mix together as if making an omelette mix. Pour the mix into greased muffin cases and bake in the oven until risen and golden. These can be stored in the fridge in a airtight tub for up to 5 days or these freeze quite well. They are best eaten warmed up but can be eaten cold. Great for healthy snacks. 

Mushroom and Lentil Loaf

I love this recipe. We make meatloaf quite alot and was excited to try this. It is another slimming word recipe i made when my father in law visited as he is vegetarian. The kids enjoyed it so much that we now cook it regularly. If you have quite a few mushrooms to use make an extra portion and freeze it for a future meal. I brought a large pack of mushrooms from Asda which made 2 portions of this with some mushrooms left over. 

Slice thinly and put in a pitta for a vegetarian fakeaway kebab. To cook this in the slow cooker, follow the instructions on my slow cooked meatloaf recipe

*The last step is numbered wrong, there is a step 4 not 2 stew 3's* 

Cauliflower, Pea and Feta Frittata 

This will last a couple of days in a tub in the fridge. It freezes well. I wrap slices separate in clingfilm them put into a bag to freeze. I cut this into 6 sliced and had 2 pieces leftover which i have froze for a lunch. Can be made with any flavor combination so perfect for using up bits and pieces. If cooking in the slow cooker skip step 2 and 3. Just mix ingredients together and place in the slow cooker. 

Pork and Spinach Meatballs 

Make extra sauce and meatballs to freeze if you have enough mince spare. 

For a homemade tomato sauce see my tasty homemade sauce post here 

Spanish Sausage and Bean Casserole

Freeze any leftovers or if you want to make extra. If making in the slow cooker, just bung it all in and cook on low for 7-8 hours. 

Spinach, Ricotta and Mushroom Lasagne

I used a large dish to cook this in and was able to make 8 food sized portions in total. I wrapped 4 portions in cling film and froze the prices for another meal. Id making this in the slow cooker, follow the instructions but layer in the slow cooker with sauce on the bottom instead of pasta (i use passata on the bottom) to avoid the pasta sticking. Cook for 8 hours on low. 

Snack wise i made flapjacks, carrot cookies and ate lots of vegetable sticks. 

Shopping list

I have tried to use as little as possible from things which were carried over from week 1 and 2 and frozen. I have still got things like butter, herbs and spices and have some meals frozen from previous weeks. I will list these at the end. Last week i spent to much on my staple shop. I wanted this week to be around the £10 mark but i have gone over again. I evidently need around £20 a week for staple buys but i may start leaving some items out/ Staple items will from next week only be items not on my meal plan, such as packed lunch items and cat food & litter, and any items i need to replace that are used on a weekly basis such as butter or milk. 

Shopping wise i done really well. I had to buy very little in terms of food as i had a large amount already left over. My shopping list this week is below. 

*Carrots need to be added to be carried over to next week*

As well as the 3 items i have to carry over to next week i also have items still to use from week 1 and 2. These are: 
  • 2 whole chickens
  • 1/2 pack beef mince
  • 1/2 pork shoulder
  • Weetabix 
  • Tea bags
  • Washing Powder
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Soda Crystals
  • White vinegar
  • Honey
  • Lemon Juice
  • Flour 
  • Yeast
  • Dried milk
  • Porridge oats. 
Over the 3 weeks i have batch cooked. I mentioned that i wanted to give myself a full 30 days of dinners to keep my 3rd month virtually shop free. My aim next week is to start freezing extra vegetables and sides in order to keep this cost down. The portions are based on a family of 4. We are not big eaters so if you like your plates packed full this may need adjusting for you. 

The meals i have cooked and frozen so far are: 

My total cost for the week has been £33.80 so i have gone nearly £4 over budget which again has been on staple shop not the main food shop. Next week i have a much higher budget of £50 so i can buy in more food and maximise my batch cooking. 

Total spend so far is: 

Main shop - £67.18 
Staple shop - £68,63

Total = £135.81

Looking at that total scares me a little. I am clearly overspending on my staple ingredients. My total budget including staple shop budget is £380. The idea behind this was to make my staple shop less important than my main shop. I have to buy some packed lunch items, toilet paper and cat food weekly (this week i had loo roll :D) everything else is generally on my meal plan for the week and rarely involves an item i can not use again. It is half term next week so without the need to buy packed lunch my staple shop will be £10 or under. I have enough washing powder for the whole 12 weeks and enough tea bags and cereal for another 2 weeks so next week i will be leaving making the most out of the items i have carried over to keep my shop as low as possible and give myself more meals for the freezer. 

Overall i am happy with how it is going. In 3 weeks i have prepared 12 meals worth for no extra cost and as my budget of £180 is not included in the £200 i am challenging myself to stick too i am happy that 3 weeks worth of shopping is averaging at around the £20 a week mark. If i can get the staple shop down to £10 on a weekly basis i will be even happier :)

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