At the weekend I went to my local Aldi and spent £138.65 on groceries for the coming month. Before I went, I sat down and wrote out 31 main meals along with what I would need to purchase to make those meals based on what I had in the pantry and freezers. I am pretty confident I have at least 85% of the items we need for all 31 meals. The grocery haul also needs to accommodate for breakfast and lunches – so that’s another 62 (* 4 people, so 248!!) meals. That’s a lot of washing up.
I have stuck to meals I know we like with the odd new one thrown in there to trial such as honey and mustard chicken thighs and sesame orange chicken. I’d really like to get in to monthly meal planning and shopping, with maybe 1 top up shop half way through the month. I think I will be able to do that based on how it’s going so far.
Another tip I have for meal planning, especially for longer durations, is to pop a few roasts on there, specifically chicken for us. We are lucky enough to have very large, home raised chickens which I will roast whole and serve as a roast dinner, then take the remaining meat off and serve as second meal. This could be curry, stir fry, coronation chicken and so on. We usually get a bit of cold meat for salads in there too. Finally after I’ve taken the meat off the bones I will make a stock from the left over carcass and use that in soups, pastas or to cook rice and so on. We get at least 3 main meals for the 4 of us from 1 bird and I think this is a really economical way of stretching your budget and food.
Something else I do is put a few old favourites on there, so for us it is fajitas, lasagne or cottage pie. Of these old favourites I can batch cook and freeze some of them, so anything beef mince based is easy to cook ahead. I make them in foil containers so if needs be, they go from the freezer to the Aga roasting oven with no complaints, because we all have days where we forgot to take them out of the freezer.
Finally one more success I have had it to make ahead the kids’ packed lunches and freeze them. Yes, really. I made 30 ham brioche buns, 5 jam brioche and put them in separate bags (which get reused) along with their cheese sticks (which freeze great) and a slice of cake.
If you are interested in more detail around any of these topics, just let me know via a comment, I’d love to share more content like this with people who are interested, can share ideas themselves, or would learn anything.
Take care, Tracy x