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As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, it feels like January is going on forever. After Christmas, many of us will be feeling that there is too much month for our money and would be up for a week of cheap and hearty food.
That’s certainly what I am aiming for. As I always say, meal planning saves both time and money and enables you to use up what you have before buying more. We have been eating from the stores for a couple of weeks to keep the grocery bill low and I will continue in that vein this week.
However, I have been feeling a bit rubbish with a cough that turned into pleurisy and the general achiness and fatigue that hits me from time to time because of fibromyalgia. I want my diet to be really healthy, but also plan to reduce the gluten I eat and try to cut out the sugar altogether.
My caffeine intake has started to creep up as well. When I am tired I reach for the coffee and sweet sugary food and, if I’m not careful, I get into a vicious cycle. The caffeine or sugar gives me a temporary hit of energy, followed by a plummet! Not good.
Feed your family for £20 a week
Fortuitous maybe that this week I was kindly sent a copy of a rather interesting looking recipe book to review. It is called Feed Your Family For £20 a Week: 100 Delicious Budget-Friendly Meals You’ll All Enjoy* and is full of lovely illustrations, as well as the kind of recipe ideas I am after for cheap and hearty food.
I am going to try some of the recipes this week and will do a full review once I have give it a proper read. If you really can feed a family three meals every day of the week for just £20, as author Lorna Cooper claims you can, I will be impressed!
This week’s meal plan: cheap and hearty food
I am helping my daughter move into her new flat today. She is so excited to be regaining her independence, although she is going to be on a tight budget.
The temptation will be to get a takeaway afterwards rather than cooking a proper meal. However, I don’t want to do that, a) because I am on a no spend January and b) because it will be full of fat and/or sugar!
Instead I will make a slow cooker chicken jambalaya from the above mentioned book. Now, the recipe calls for just one chicken breast to feed 8 people. The rest of it is vegetables and rice. However, I will use 4 chicken thighs (as it needs to feed four of us) or I can see myself needing to fill up on bread. As I am trying to avoid gluten, I don’t want to do that.
Everything goes in together, even the rice, so I will be interested to see how this turns out.
Roast chicken, roast potatoes, roast carrots and frozen peas. This is a bung it all in the oven type of meal and I will use the leftover chicken for some other recipes later.
Chicken hash from Lorna’s book, designed to be eaten with the leftovers from the Sunday roast. It looks delicious and simple – right up my street, in fact.
As you can imagine, it’s a healthier version of corned beef hash, with potatoes, onions (I don’t eat them so will chop up celery and use some hing powder – it is an onion flavoured spice that I found on Amazon*), peppers, paprika and a fried egg on top. Sounds like proper cheap and hearty food to bring comfort and good cheer!
Fish pie with a part sweet potato and part white potato topping. I have sweetcorn and mushrooms to add to the fish and will make a white sauce. I might pop a couple of hard boiled eggs in too, as Mr S loves that.
I popped into Iceland yesterday and stocked up on their white fish fillets, which is pollock. I thought it was a good price at £4.50 for 700g, which is six decent sized pieces of fish. I will use three pieces for the fish pie and we will have some broccoli or green beans with it.
Sausages and mash! Proper comfort food. I have some nice skinny sausages in the freezer from Aldi. We will have whatever veg needs using up with this, plus some gravy of course.
Even if you buy half way decent sausages, sausage and mash does make for cheap and hearty food. I will mix some whole grain mustard in with the mash.
We have loads of eggs, as usual, as we do eat a lot of them. I will make cheese and mushroom omelettes, with salad and maybe some chips made in the air fryer*.
Another one from the Feed your Family for £20 a Week book. This time I will make a nice easy cheesy veggie pasta, made with some gluten free pasta. It is a very quick and easy meal this one, using frozen mixed vegetables and white sauce mixed with pasta and cheese on the top.
I might add some cooked bacon to this to give it some extra flavour.
I don’t usually buy frozen mixed veg (I am not a fan), so will probably use a mixture of peas, sweetcorn, cooked carrots and maybe some broccoli if we have any.
What are you eating this week?