Since beginning my budgeting journey I soon came to realise that the way to stick to your budget the most was by Menu Planning. It takes a bit of planning and organisation but it soon becomes second nature!
If you have a good idea what is in your cupboards and freezer its even easier! Scour the internet for recipes, or books, or your friends and you'll soon have a huge amount of different things to make. Some budgeters I know like to menu plan for the whole month however I just like to do a week. This is purely personal choice as I find i'm too impatient to sit down and do a whole month at a time! But once a week I go through my cupboards once again, check the freezer make a big cup of tea and with a slice of cake sit down and work out my menu/shopping list for that week.
I try to incorporate the 5 a day ethos in my planning aswell. 3 portions of veg and 2 of fruit.
This is my menu for the rest of this week and beginning of next for Seren and I (I wont include Sat and Sun as i'm away both days)
Breakfast - Peanut Butter on Toast and a portion of fruit
Snack - Carrot sticks and houmous
Lunch - Leftover Cheese and potato pie and Green salad
Dinner - Mushroom Stroganoff and Rice with veg. Pudding - Pear and chocolate cake
Breakfast - Cereal
Snack - Apple and Cheese
Lunch - Poormans pizza (Wholemeal pitta bread spread with Tomato puree, cheese, and whatever toppings we have in the fridge) with salad
Dinner (we're away)
Sat/Sun - away (But Sunday night when home i'll bake some goodies for the week)
Breakfast - Poached eggs on toast
Snack - Cheese, ham, carrot and courgette muffin
Lunch - Onion tart with salad
Dinner - Moroccan Lamb tagine with couscous. Pudding - Yogurt.
Breakfast - Mushrooms on toast
Snack - Banana and crackers or rice cakes
Lunch - Leftover lamb tagine on jacket potato
Dinner - Stuffed Aubergine. Pudding - Apple Crumble (the ones in the freezer from last week)
Breakfast - Porridge with fruit
Snack - rice cakes and cottage cheese
Lunch - Quesadillas and salad
Dinner - Aubergine and beef lasagna. Pudding - Jelly
Breakfast - Marmite or Peanut butter on toast
Snack - portion of fruit
Lunch - Jacket potato
Dinner - Pork and apple meatballs, wholewheat spagetti and homemade tomato sauce. Pudding - banana bread
I like to keep things varied. I will use leftovers and make new meals out of them but I don't like to feel I'm constantly eating the same things. Variety is the spice of life!
Todays recipe I cooked was Cheese and Potato pie:
Yesterdays leftover mash
Shortcrust pastry (I used half a pre-bought block)
I rolled out shortcrust pastry, lined a quiche tin with it brushed with milk wash and blind baked at 180 degrees for 15minutes. (The excess should be used for the pastry lid which you'll add later)
In the meantime I sauteed the onion until translucent, added the mash and a large handful of grated cheddar (this is all dependant on how cheesy you like it), salt, pepper and a pinch of mustard powder.
After pastry case was blind baked I took it out of the oven, filled it with the cheesy mash mixture, top it with the leftover pastry to make a lid and cut a few slits in the top of the pie. Either brush with milk or egg to glaze. Pop it in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. And voila cheesy potato pie is done!