This week, my friend and super mum Emma is my 'savvy shopper' she's a single mum of 2 amazing meal planner and domestic goddess. I really am in awe of her home management skills.
Emma and will also be seen soon pounding the streets of Milton Keynes with our 'old lady trolleys' when we start to visit the market for our fruit and veg.
So over to Em...
Between £20-30 for food, including packed lunches for 1 adult and 1 child (other child has free lunches as he is in Key Stage 1)
2. What's your meal plan this week?
M - egg and Chips (kids eating elsewhere)
T - fried rice and leftover pork (leftovers of this will do 2 lunches)
W - omelettes
T - spaghetti carbonara
F - baked fish and potatoes, with veg
S - homemade pizza (daughter having friends for a sleepover)
S - roast chicken and trimmings
3. Where do you shop the most?
Asda and Lidl, mid-week top-ups at sainsburys as its closest to work
4. Do you have any tips for spreading the cost of your weekly shop?
I meal plan, including lunches which are frequently based on leftovers. I check the freezer and cupboards to see what I already have in before shopping, and try to only buy "deals" if I know they will be used
5. Do you have a Pinterest board for family friendly meals? (If so please leave a link)
I've only recently started using Pinterest so not got a decent board going yet - I tend to get very distracted by what other people have pinned instead!
6. What would you say is your biggest shopping weakness?
The bargain/reduced counter - I cannot resist cut price meats to stock the freezer with!
7. Does everyone in your family eat the same meals?
Thankfully yes - no allergies or major dietary requirements
8. Do you coupon or use any of the shopping apps? Any advice, hints or preferences?
I use tesco vouchers and cashback apps such as Quidco, Topcashback and Shopitize to get money back, and my supermarket to find out where the best deals are.
9. What's the most important factor in deciding your family meals?
I try to make sure we all get a good healthy balance of foods throughout the week, including seasonal veg and items that will stretch over a number of meals ie roast on a sunday, leftovers used in sandwiches/pies, bones and pickings for stock/soup. we all eat most foods (kids not too keen on curry though) and we have at least 2 non-meat meals per week
10. What's your go to storecupboard pudding?
Pancakes - I always have flour, eggs and milk in the house.
11. Do you stockpile? Any advice or tips?
I stockpile items such as pasta and rice or tinned beans and tinned tomatoes - I get them when they are on deals with long dates as I used lots of them. I avoid jars of sauce or tinned soup as a rule (occasionally get cream of chicken or tomato as the kids like it when they are ill)
12. Would you please share a favourite family recipe with us (can be a link to your blog, someone else's or a website or just type it here, include a photo if you like!)
Our favourite is homemade meatballs - made by my 6 year old son!!!
Pack of mince, add tsp each of dried parmesan, garlic powder, onion salt, thyme and oregano. splash of worcestershire sauce, squeeze of tomato puree. get your hands in and mix mix mix!!! Then take small handfuls and roll into balls (golf-ball sized). arrange on a plate and chill for an hour
meanwhile - dice an onion and crush 2-3 cloves garlic. lightly soften in oil. add carton of passata and then half fill carton with water to get the rest out and add this. dash of worcestershire sauce & balsamic vinegar, tspn each sugar & dried basil. (if i have red wine open i sometime put half a glass in). mix together & simmer
fry the balls until browned & cooked through then add to the sauce.
cook pasta and serve
13. Do you do any meal prep to save time/money during the week?
On a Sunday I often bake cakes/flapjacks for the kids lunches and batch cook soup, pasta or rice dishes if I am having them for lunch. I also assemble and half cook pasta bake/shepherds pie/chicken pie/lasagne if they are on the meal plan - this means I can freeze until the morning they are needed then defrost during the day and bung in the oven when we get home from school/work around 6pm each day.
14. Does your family have any dietary considerations?
Thankfully not which does make things less complicated.
15. Do you batch cook and freeze meals?
Yes - if I make spag bol or chilli, or stews for example I will make a huge pot & freeze in portions. similarly if I do pies or bakes at the weekend I will make enough for at least 2 and freeze one fully assembled. This saves time in the week and means that there are proper hearty and healthy dishes in the freezer for that last week of the month when funds are getting low!