As you can see from my previous blog, as a family we decided to do a £1 challenge, feeding ourselves all our meals for the day for £1 each. Since completing this challenge, I have been asked to do it again but this time vegetarian. I’m always up for a challenge, so here’s how it went.
Firstly, as before I planned all the meals in advance, pooling all our money together to make £40 for 10 days, for an average family of four. Just think, that’s your whole days meals for less than the price of a take away coffee.
We found the last challenge hard as we couldn’t have any sweet treats, so I decided to make a few yummy puddings and snacks, I especially enjoyed the guilt free brownies.
I used my husbands expertise as a photographer to show the meals off to their best. The food is photographed without cheating. What you see is what we ate. As soon he put the camera down we all sat around the table and tucked in. It just goes to show what a bit of good lighting can do.
As this challenge was attempted in the autumn, a lot of the produce from my garden wasn’t available. Although I was able to use some of my rosemary, mint, parsley and bay leaves. We also had a glut of apples, so I was able to do my family’s new favorite dessert of baked apples. I hadn’t had them since I’d left home years ago.
As previously mentioned, this meal plan isn’t supposed to patronise anyone. It’s just a great way to save, even if you can afford to spend more. I hope you enjoy the recipes and maybe give them a try. I have mentioned where I got recipes from if I have used someones, but others are from the Internet or made up family favorites.
As before a few of the extra items should be in a reasonably stocked larder, and are handy to have for most dishes. These include white wine vinegar (milder than malt), Salt, Pepper, sugar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, dried mixed herbs, soy sauce, Fennel seeds, Peppercorns, coriander seeds, Cumin seeds, Chilli powder, Cayenne pepper, Paprika, Garam Masala, Turmeric, Chinese 5 spice, cinnamon, Tomato paste, Honey, Balsamic Vinegar and lemon juice. Also Tea and Coffee were not included.
Many people of my generation really don’t seem to know how to cook from scratch, budget and meal plan to get the most from their food money. I was one of these people too until I realised quite how much we as a family were spending at the supermarket each week, and then wasting it by throwing away uneaten food. 10 years ago I started working out what we would eat in the week, who was in and who was out each evening, so we could meal plan. I started writing a shopping lists before we went to the supermarket.
I’m not a vegetarian, so forgive me if I get anything wrong. We’re just a family trying to eat less meat. Every week we try to have two non-meat days. In these meal plans are some of dishes we enjoy, and a few new ones that I hope we will continue to use. I included a traditional family Sunday meal as well as yummy burgers. That way you won’t feel like you’re missing out.
I was going to use quorn but changed my mind, even though it was on offer for £ 1.47 for 500g but I decided at the last minute to buy lentils instead as most of the recipes online used them. I also figured that if you’re a vegetarian would you want to use a meat substitute? I also try to use up the ingredients that will expire first, like salads and fresh vegetables and use the frozen vegetables later in the week. That way you’re getting the most nutrients.
Being the autumn, I don’t have a lot of fresh produce and herbs in my garden, just a bit of mint, rosemary and parsley. I’ve had to buy coriander but luckily we have a great independent supermarket that sells a huge bunch for just 30p. I also like a lot of salads with our meals to add vitamins and colour, they say ‘you taste with your eyes as well’. Just make sure you leave enough of those ingredients for their other meals later in the week and for sandwich fillings.
Although for this challenge I haven’t used free range eggs as I usually would, for a little more money you can get Aldi eggs at 79p for 6 free range, or 15 for £1.89.