Week Two Meal Planner – soft cheese, red lentils and couscous
Meal planning and using a shopping list are a standard way of saving money on groceries. It’s simply astonishing how much we spend on impulse purchases without a list – the supermarkets are super skilled at making that happen!
It’s estimated that the average household throws away around a third of their weekly shop, so simply using up as much as you can will save you significant amounts of cash.
Meal Plan 2
As at the time of the latest re-price in October 2023 – you will need £22.92 in your purse at the checkout, but the amount of food actually eaten comes to £17.67. So a positively miserly £1.10p per person, per day, over the 8 days of the plan, including the extra, 8th, day.
First written in September 2013, re-priced annually since then. I’m so pleased this meal plan is still pricing up at just over £1 a day in October 2023 – 10 years old, and still going strong!
The Shopping List
The column headed ‘left at the end of the week’ is what you can expect to have left in the cupboard. You can carry that over to next week, or use it for snacks etc, as you wish.
|Priced using Asda.com October 2023||you will need||left at the end of the week, 8 days||Oct-23|
|value wholemeal loaf||£0.45|
|35g cinnamon or mixed spice||a few tsps||a lot of it, depending on how liberal you are with it, 35p||£0.70|
|a bulb of garlic||2 bulbs, 50p||£0.75|
|1kg smartprice carrots||15g, 5p||£0.50|
|500g raisins, 1kg if you can, they’re cheaper per kg||£1.50|
|a head of broccoli, not frozen||£0.69|
|25g pack fresh basil||£0.60|
|200g salted cashews||75g, 37p||£1.00|
|veg oil, 1litre||560ml||320ml, 59p||£1.85|
|310g jar black olives||£1.15|
|300g value soft cheese||£1.25|
|6 wholemeal or white pitta||£0.50|
|500g red lentils||£1.90|
|2kg smartprice onions, 1x red and 1x white if you like||1.3kg||470g, 45p||£1.90|
|Asda 92g garam masala||a few tsps||most of the packet, 60p||£0.80|
|1kg frozen peas||300g||570g, 80p||£1.40|
|200g tube tomato puree||140g||£0.65|
|value self raising flour, 1.5kg||100g, 5p||£0.70|
|granulated sugar, 1kg||230g||705g, 84p||£1.19|
|value pasta, 500g||£0.41|
|6 x 7g sachets yeast||7g||4 sachets, 65p||£0.98|
You will need to be accurate with your measuring with some ingredients, and can be more free-handed with others.
The Meal Plan
|day 1||Cinnamon Toast x 2||Lentil Soup & Croutons,||Salted Cashew Couscous,|
|day 2||Raisin Pancakes||Salted Cashew Couscous, leftovers from last night||Pasta with Olives, Tomato, and Soft Cheese|
|day 3||Cinnamon Toast x 2||Broccoli Pesto in Pitta||Pancakes filled with Carrots, Onions and Peas in Soft Cheese|
|day 4||Raisin Pancakes||Olives and Soft Cheese in Pitta.||Broccoli Pesto Pasta|
|day 5||Carrot & Raisin Loaf,||Lentil Soup & Croutons,||Tomato Dahl and Couscous|
|day 6||Carrot & Raisin Loaf,||Tomato Dahl and Couscous, leftovers from last night||Broccoli Pesto Pasta|
|day 7||Broccoli pesto on toast||Carrot, Lemon and Soft Cheese in Pitta||Olive Drop Scones, Crispy Fried Onions, Carrot Ribbons and Raisin Salad|
|day 8||Toast & Carrot Jam or Plain Pancakes & Carrot Jam or Caramelised Onions||Couscous Salad||Cream Cheese Pizza|
|Cakes & Bakes||Also make Caramelised Onions and Carrot Jam to use through the week as desired. Keeping some for day 8, if using|
- If it is an appropriate time of year, you could get a growing plant of basil rather than a pack. Pot it into a much bigger pot, give it lots of light and water and you will be able to pick it all summer long. I’ve found they really don’t like it in my kitchen in the winter and don’t grow very well.
- If you prefer green olives to black ones, swap them over, although I do think that black olives work best in the sandwich.
- The garam masala is only used in the tomato dhal, so if you have any spices already in the cupboard, try using those instead. Or if you prefer another spice, get that, or get a pot of a general curry powder.
- If you aren’t fond of couscous, you could use rice instead. Brown Basmati rice would be my choice, its more flavoursome than white rice.
- If you can find a pot of yeast instead of the sachets, they are much better value
- Any nuts can be used in place of the cashews. If they are raw, they will taste better if given a light toasting under the grill or in the oven for a few minutes. Keep an eye on them, they burn in a moment!
- Any shape pasta can be used, including spaghetti or wholemeal which will provide a bit more fibre
- Try and get a 100g pot of yeast if you can find it. The sachets are poor value, but I’ve noticed most supermarkets are only stocking the sachets now.
- The wholemeal loaf provides a useful amount of fibre, but if you prefer white, buy a white loaf.
- 500g packs of red lentils are more expensive per kg than the larger packs, so if you have the funds, get bigger packs
Prep for the week
- Bake the carrot and raisin loaf in advance and freeze, portioned.
- Make the carrot jam for use on day 8, and use with the carrot & raisin loaf and scones as well if you like
- Make the broccoli pesto in 1 batch and divide into 10 portions to be used in various recipes through the week. The small pots that come with raita in with an Indian takeaway are good for this. Or weigh the batch, divide the amount by 10 (make a note of the number) and use that much each time
- Make the croutons and store in an airtight container.
- Make the lentil soup and store in the fridge until required
- Tomato dahl can be made and stored in the fridge
- Bake the biscuits and scones at the beginning of the week to be used as and when needed. The biscuits will be fine in an airtight container, the scones will need to be frozen as they stale quickly
- Make the caramelised onions to be used as and when during the week
What recipes will freeze?
Not many recipes freeze successfully this week
- Carrot and raisin loaf, especially useful if portioned first
- Lentil soup, but not the croutons
- Broccoli pesto
- Tomato dahl
- Scones are always best frozen on the day of baking as they stale quickly
- Don’t freeze the pancakes, or make them much in advance, as without egg in them, they go flabby if left. Really good cooked and eaten straight away
Breakfast If you have bought Mixed Spice, use that here.
Lunch Use 2 slices of bread to make the croutons
Dinner I would add the nuts at the last minute to the couscous next time I made this as they went rather soft left overnight, and you may like to toast them first
Lunch. Use salted cashews instead of the hazelnuts in the recipe. Use the Pesto recipe in 1 pitta each, 1 of the 10 portions each.
Lunch. We use a pitta instead of the slices of bread in this lunch. Use 40g soft cheese and 50g olives per pitta, finely chop half a garlic clove, if liked, or use a smear of garlic paste. If you can get something with crunch, like the cucumber, that would work well. A bit of lettuce perhaps.
Dinner. Use a portion of the pesto each, with 80g pasta each
Lunch. use 2 slices of bread to make the croutons
Dinner. Use 100g couscous in place of the rice, or if you have any in, and you prefer, use rice. Make a double batch and use half at lunch time tomorrow
Dinner. Use a portion of the pesto each, with 80g pasta each
Breakfast. Broccoli Pesto on 2 slices toast each. Use some of the pesto you made previously, 1 of the 10 portions each
Breakfast. There should be 8 slices of bread at this point, toast 2 slices each and spread with carrot jam. Or use as a sandwich, or fry a sandwich in a little oil or butter for a lovely hot toastie.
Make raisin pancakes, but use the remaining 45g raisins as that is all there is left at this point. Serve with carrot jam. Or make the pancakes plain and serve with caramelised onions.
Cakes & Bakes
When making the Raisin Biscuits, add 2-3 teaspoons of whichever spice you opted for, or leave them plain if you prefer.
Similarly, with the scones, add 2-3 teaspoons of spice if you like, or maybe sprinkle some on top, with a pinch of sugar.
With the pancakes, you can serve them with lemon and sugar, carrot jam or make a spiced syrup to drizzle over.