Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Cooking a healthy family meal for under ten pounds

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Feeding a family of six can be a challenge especially when you have a set budget for groceries and want to prepare healthy meals.  Over the last eighteen months I have learnt that by being supermarket savvy I can stick to my budget and not compromise on the meals I want to give the family.  

From about Wednesday onwards every week dad of 3 and myself start thinking about meals we would like the following week.  We do place an order online for a food shop weekly and use Asda for our basics like milk and bread, items for the children's packed lunch too and cat food are included in this shop.  We then look at what we can buy locally from supermarkets.  The only downside to shopping online for food is use by dates and the possibility of the store who delivers not having an item in stock at the time of your delivery.  We do allow the store to make substitutes but when they arrive they are not always acceptable so we send them back.  Due to this we try to be sensible about the items we order online each week.  It also means that we still have to shop in local stores as well at least once throughout the week, even if its just for bread or milk.  

Since November we have also cut down on the amount of meat we order with our online shop and tend to buy it locally.  It means we can take look for the freshest products and also take advantages of offers in store.  We also buy quite a lot of stores own brand products as they tend to be cheaper without compromising on the quality of the product. 

We tend to shop between our local Tesco and Aldi stores and look for offers and buy items from the store we know is cheaper for that item.   I also try to pick up store flyer's that show up coming offers so I can have an idea of what I can use as part of meals.  It also helps me keep to a budget when shopping in store.  Dad of 3 and the boys fancied having something other than a traditional Sunday lunch this week and liked the idea of BBQ chicken and vegetables.  So with this in mind I set off for the shops. 


I nearly always start off by visiting my local Aldi's store as they have regular offers on fruit and vegetables and a couple of products I buy regularly like cat litter is a lot cheaper there.  It also means if they don't have something I really need I then can go to Tesco.  This weeks super 6 offers at Aldi included savoy cabbage which I wanted for our meal on Sunday.   The fruit and vegetables available at Aldi provide great value for money even if not included in the super 6 offers.  I picked up a Savoy Cabbage, white potatoes and carrots in Aldi, the most expensive being £1.99 for 2.5kg.  





Against the rear wall of the store you will find the meat section , we have started buying a lot more of our meat from Aldi lately, the quality is fantastic and it's great value for money which in turn helps our budget go further while enabling us to eat the same amount of meat.  I picked up a pack of four chicken breast fillets for £3.95 which will be enough for the meal I'm making. 



Each week Aldi also has a range of other offers available from homeware items, clothing, stationary and also known brand foods but at a cheaper than you would expect.  I liked to have a look through the offers in case there is something we need or would use.  I couldn't find any BBQ sauce at Aldi on Sunday which I needed for our meal so knew I would have to head up to our local Tesco store.  But on my way to the checkout I remembered we needed garden peas so grabbed some from the freezer as I passed.  Once through the checkout I can see I spent £8.01 on items for our meal, I also picked up some cat litter and cleaning fluid while in Aldi.

I then head up to Tesco to see if I could find a BBQ sauce to use.  Once in the condiment aisle I start looking for BBQ sauces or marinades.  I quickly spot an offer for Heinz Barbecue sauce and marinade for £1, so I compare it with the others available.  However it is the cheapest by far.  Making my way towards a checkout I spot the mint sauce, Tesco's value range mint sauce is only 24p and perfect for giving peas a kick, the children all love minted veg at present so I decide to pick some up too to use with the meal.  So a grand total of £1.24 spent in Tesco.


When I got home and unpacked I totted up the total spend on the ingredients for the meal, £9.25 which will make a healthy meal for six of us, that's £1.54 a serving now that's not bad. 



Dad of 3 was very impressed with my buys and liked the look of the BBQ marinade.  So once the peas where safely in the freezer and the chicken in the fridge, a cup of tea was called for before I made a start on the meal. 

First job was to prepare the chicken, so having washed the chicken breast fillets, I placed them in a shallow oven proof dish and scored each fillet a few times.  Then I poured about half the bottle of barbecue marinade over them and placed in the fridge to marinade while I prepared the vegetables and preheated the oven at 180 degrees centigrade. Then I peeled and diced the potatoes and carrots and placed in two pans covered in water.  Adding a pinch of salt to the pan of potatoes.  By which time the oven was up to temperature so I put the chicken into cook.  After this I put the potatoes on to boil then turned my attention to the savoy cabbage.   Having removed the outer leaves, I cut the cabbage in half ( not all the boys will eat cabbage so half a cabbage is enough for one meal, the other half can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days) then cut the cabbage up into strips.  Having done this I placed it in another pan and covered again with water.  I then added some of the frozen garden peas to the pan of diced carrots and put it onto boil.  

I find chicken breast fillets don't take that long to cook, usually around half an hour but I always keep an eye on them and test them by sticking a knife into the thickest part of the fillet and wait to see if the juices run clear ( which indicates they are cooked thoroughly)  After about 25 minutes I turned the pan of savoy cabbage on to cook and checked the potatoes which were ready.  Dad of 3 wanted mash potatoes with the meal so I set about draining then mashing the potatoes adding a little black pepper and butter to taste.  Then covered the pan with the lid until the rest was ready.  By this time the carrots and peas were ready so removing them from the pan I drained them and taking the mint sauce, stirred a generous desert spoon through the peas and carrots.  I checked the chicken again which was now ready and removed from the oven.  By the time I had plates ready the savoy cabbage was also ready so I started to plate up.  

Dad of 3 and myself usually have one whole chicken breast fillet each and the other two are shared between the four children as they can't quite eat a whole fillet each yet.  So rather than waste food by buying a bigger pack of fillets we share the smaller pack. So here you go, our healthy family meal for under £10. 



2 comments:

  1. mmmmmm sounds delicious, what a nice way to make minted veg, gives it a bit more flavour.

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  2. I'm always flipping between stores depending on what's on offer. You can definitely save loads by shopping around :)

    ReplyDelete