If you love home-cooking that the whole family can enjoy, try this fab and filling British menu…
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The great thing about traditional British food, is that the whole family can eat it – so, even though the meals make take a wee bit longer to make, there’s no extra cooking to do for the kids. Yay! Plus, these meals are so filling, you’ll save a stack of cash on snacks to boot.
This page contains the latest version of my Great British weekly menu, but as I learn more on my mission to feed my family the very best food on a tight budget, I’ll keep on updating it – so pop back from time-to-time to be sure you’re reading the very latest version. You can also buy my original 7-day menu ebook here, which contains umpteen tips to help you, together with a fully costed shopping list.
Just a quick note: This menu assumes that you’ll be doing your weekly shop on a Thursday evening or Friday morning.
Great British Menu – lunches, dinners and suppers
The lunches here assume that the kids are at school/nursery and there’s someone at home. If you work, set aside time to batch-cook your lunches over the weekend so that you can take something nice to work each day to either microwave or serve from a flask. (You can then warm up meals for your flask every morning – easy peasy.)
Welsh rarebit: Toast 2 slices of bread and butter each slice (much better than margarine, by the way), and then make yourself a quick a cheese sauce in the same way you would for a lasagne or cauliflower cheese:
Add a handful of grated cheese into a small pan, a 2-3mm slice of butter off a typical block, a slosh of milk (enough to cover the pan base) and a level tablespoon of flour. When the sauce thickens (after only a minute or so!), take it off the heat and pour it onto the top of your first slice of bread. Add some thinly sliced tomatoes, and place your 2nd slice of toast on top. Cover that slice with the last of your cheese sauce, and another couple of sliced tomatoes. Pop all of this either under the grill or into the oven for a few minutes to warm the tomatoes and cook the sauce a little more. It’s a wee bit more effort than cheese on toast, but it’s well worth it! Serve your rarebit with tinned mackerel.
(If you get the chance today, make a little time to bake your own shortbread biscuits using just flour, sugar and butter. They’ll be super handy treats for the week ahead, and great for making ‘cheats apple crumble’ to go with your Sunday dinner!)
Lancashire-ish hotpot: Start with slicing a fist-sized potato per person, and put them in a pan to simmer for about 7 minutes – so they’re par-boiled. Meanwhile, brown 1/4lb stewing steak with a chopped onion in some olive oil and fry for around 5 minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add up to a pint of veggie stock (check by eye to make sure you don’t make it too liquidy), and add some sliced carrots and parsnips and any other veggies you fancy. Also – because the meat is a little bit on the stingy side (well, real meat is expensive!), add a good handful of lentils too for extra protein.
Place your ‘stew’ into a casserole dish and top with the drained sliced potatoes, and cook for 25-30 minutes at 180 degrees. No need for any extra veg – it’s all done in the one pot! When you serve it up, don’t forget to save a single portion for the freezer for an easy lunch sometime.
Baked potatoes with a little real butter on each one, baked beans and grated cheese. (Around a small matchbox-sized piece of cheese per person.)
Pilchard hotpot and roast veggies (you can find the recipe here) – don’t knock it till you’ve tried this 1940s marvel – you’ll be surprised! Whilst your hotpot is in the oven, make the most of your fuel bill and throw in some roast veggies (carrots, potatoes, onions etc) so you can blend them up to make soups for work dinners for the week ahead.
Veggie Full English: Grill some fresh tomato halves, warm up some baked beans, fry an egg and some mushrooms each, and serve with home-made bread/toast with real butter.
Sunday roast: Choose a 3lb roast joint of your choice from your local butcher (I prefer turkey, but anything goes – although it is best not to eat too much red meat or too much meat with nitrites in it – i.e pork). Roast for 20 minutes per lb, plus an extra 20 minutes on top of that at 180 degrees, and make sure the juices run clear when you ‘spike’ it. Remember to save ⅓ of your roast meat in the fridge as it’ll be handy for another meal.
Boil plenty of potatoes for mash (as you’ll need to save a single portion of mash for Monday’s lunch), steam some strips of cabbage (again, saving some for Monday’s colcannon), and roast twice the amount of veggies you think you’ll need – as you’ll be saving an extra dish of them in the fridge.
And, if by some miracle, you’ve got room after all of that… Follow your traditional Sunday dinner with ‘cheats apple crumble’: Peel and chop an apple each (eating apples are fine if you can find them cheaper than cooking apples), and simmer them for around 5 minutes in just enough water to cover them in the pan, plus a tablespoonful of sugar. Once the apples begin to soften they’re ready, so drain off the water into a jug through a colander – as this will be handy to use as cooled fresh apple juice for the next couple of days – waste not, want not and all that, and so much better than carton juice – and serve up your stewed apple into dishes. Crumble a shortbread biscuit each onto each portion for instant delicious apple crumble. (If I haven’t had time to make my own, I prefer good ol’ Walkers shortbreads, as they’re the only biscuit I’ve found so far to contain only real ingredients – butter, sugar, flour, and that’s it.)
Colcannon and baked beans – use your leftover mash from Sunday lunch together with the leftover cabbage. Mash them together with a little white pepper and microwave until piping hot. Easy.
Meat pie… filling. Using leftover roast meat from Sunday, chop your meat into bite-sized pieces, and also chop a good handful of mushrooms and an onion. Lightly fry these in a pan in olive oil, to warm them through. After a couple of minutes, add half a pint of veggie stock, a teaspoon of mustard, and a tablespoon of flour. Simmer to get your sauce to thicken, and then pour everything into a casserole dish. Cook with the lid on for 30 minutes. Serve your ‘pie’, with some microwaved roast veggies that you’ve had left over from Sunday, plus some steamed cauliflower and broccoli (or any other veggies you fancy.) Cook twice the amount of steamed veggies that you’ll need for this meal, as these will be handy for an easy meal tomorrow evening.
Of course, if you’re up for making a pastry lid for your meat pie – go right ahead.
Roast vegetable soup (from the freezer) with a chunk of home made bread.
Salmon in custard with the last of the vegetables you cooked yesterday – microwaved, to warm them up. And, if you think ‘salmon in custard’ sounds disgusting, you’re right, but once you’ve tried it you won’t look back! This 1940s classic is sure to become a family favourite – and what’s more, it’s cheap! Check out the full recipe here…
Be sure to save one portion of your ‘salmon in custard’ to use for lunchtime tomorrow.
Salmon in custard (from yesterday), with a tin of tomatoes and ‘posh potatoes’: Choose 2-3 small potatoes per person, and make slits in them about 5mm apart, almost right through the potato, but not quite – as if you’re almost slicing the potatoes. Microwave them as you would a baked potato and you’ll see that the slices split apart a little. Spread a little butter on top of each one and enjoy something that looks a little bit different to usual.
Veggies in the hole (as opposed to ‘toad in the hole’): Make a big batch of Yorkshire pudding batter using 4 beaten eggs in a jug, topped up to 300ml with milk, and then stir in 200g flour with a fork (even self raising will do). Beat the batter as best you can – but it doesn’t really matter if it’s a bit lumpy (mine always is!). Pour your batter mixture into an oiled 10-12inch dish in the oven together with plenty of defrosted frozen veggies and cook on 180 degrees for 20 minutes – but checking regularly to make sure that your batter doesn’t burn. Serve with lots of gravy.
(Stock cubes are highly processed, but these are the one thing I do actually compromise on, because if I have to make actual real gravy more than once a week I just know I’ll give these kinds of meal a ‘pass’ due to my own laziness! Having said that, I am on a mission to find a stock cube that is far less processed, so if you can recommend a good brand – do let me know.)
An instant ready-meal of Lancashire hotpot from the freezer.
Fishfingers and chips: (If you can get white fish from a fishmonger or buy in bulk online, this will by far be the best to use. But if not, choose a pack of frozen white fish making sure it has no additives in it – you’d be surprised how many do!)
To make fishfingers, chop your fish into ‘fingers’, and prepare 3 small bowls of ingredients: Toast 2 slices of bread, and once done pop them into a blender for a few seconds to make breadcrumbs. (If you don’t have a blender, break them in your fingers and crumble the bread as much as you can.) Place your breadcrumbs into a bowl. In a 2nd bowl, whisk one egg. In a 3rd bowl, add 2 tablespoons of flour. With a greased oven tray at the ready, dip your fish pieces into the flour to coat it. Then, dip it into the beaten egg and then into the breadcrumbs and place it on your oiled oven tray. This method is really quick and easy once you’ve got the hang of it, and it’s a sure-fire way of knowing exactly what ingredients you’ve got in your food. (The same recipe works well for home-made chicken nuggets too.)
For the chips: chop a fist-sized potato each into chips (skin-on if you like), and par-boil them for about 5 minutes. Drain, and place them onto an oven tray, and spray them with olive oil.
Bake your fish and chips for half an hour on 180 degrees. Serve with small frozen veggies.
Hot porridge, with chopped fruit on top, a sprinkle of mixed seeds, a pinch of walnuts and a brazil nut, plus a drizzle of real honey. Serve with a large glass of water (see why it so important first thing, here), and a cup of fair trade coffee or tea.
For the adults:
Home made muesli – see the recipe here, with chopped fresh fruit, home made yogurt on top and a drizzle of real honey. Plus a large glass of water and a cup of fair trade coffee or tea.
For the kids:
Fruit smoothies (simply because you’ve got more time at the weekend – and it’s great fun to get the kids involved in loading the blender!)
Cheese and mushroom omelette with tinned tomatoes and toast – just to make a change from the usual ‘egg-based course’ so that boredom doesn’t set in.
Serve the same breakfast drinks as usual – plus a glass of home squeezed juice, (not the carton stuff).
I personally think it’s important to eat in the evenings, otherwise you risk being so hungry by morning that it’ll be far too tempting to tip out a bowl of cereal in your urgency to get fed! In the evenings, treat yourself to a bowl of chopped fresh fruit and yogurt.
Total cost: £50.81*
Aww – give me a break! I did my best 🙂
*Whilst I’m doing my best to make sure the price of my cheap and healthy menus are up-to-date, it’s worth noting that food prices do fluctuate quite often, so please allow for a 10% difference in price from time-to-time. After all, the supermarkets will always make sure food costs more whenever there are school holidays!
Don’t run out of ingredients!
It pays to be portion-savvy when you’re on a budget, so have a read of this to be sure you’ll have enough food for the whole week.
Now because you’re bound to have some of the above foods already in your kitchen, you’ll find that you’ll probably have a few £s left over to allow you to buy non food items. I usually reserve £6 per week towards non food. It’s not much, but it is possible. Read this post to see how I cut costs on my non food shopping.
How to save more money whilst feeding your family on a budget…
- Weekly 7-day menus for your family that amount to no more than £50 per week.
- All about food – Where it comes from, what they put into it, how it gets from farm to fork, and why it should be organic, fair trade, local and seasonal.
- Eating healthily – My discoveries on what foods are best for us and what portions they should be served in, how best to cook and store foods, myth-busting on foods the media have convinced us are ‘healthy’, and any other health concerns when it comes to cooking and eating healthily.
- Simple recipes – together with a ‘cost per meal’, and cost of cooking.
- Making life easier – problem solving when it comes to fitting healthy food and extra cooking into a busy lifestyle.
- Honest reviews – book reviews, course reviews (from great courses I’ve attended like Love Food Hate Waste, CAPmoney and the Open University) and reviewing time-saving labour-saving gadgets that I’ve invested in from the money I’m saving on not buying processed foods.
- Shopping tips – tactics that help me beat the supermarkets at their own game so I can keep my hard-earned cash in my pocket, not theirs!
- Ebooks – whenever I have enough information on a particular subject, I’ll package it up into an ebook – great for you as you’ll have everything in one place at a super-cheap price of just £2, and great for me as it’ll help me to afford the hosting costs for this blog.
Or you can find out what the very latest posts are here to discover even more food for thought.