Planning meals around the food hoard

Earlier this week I wrote a post about how shocked I was at the amount of food I had in the house that I wasn’t using. It was written following a discussion on how we would behave if there was a blackout.  I thought that I probably had enough food to survive a short while and decided to do a food audit to see if there was a blackout could I survive.

I was shocked at quite how much I actually had in the house. Here is the food list and my mission is to plan meals around this, limiting my food shopping to staples and ingredients needed to make a meal from what I already had. This week is all about using left overs, store cupboard ingredients and cooking on a budget. More Jack than Jamie.

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Lunch was leftover items from pizza night and ham and bread. No spending on lunch today.

I made carrot soup using up stock and most of the carrots and Apple and Sultana crumble with ingredients I already had.


Pasta bake made with pasta I already had, left over passata in the fridge and onions and peppers. I only bought Steak Mince that day, used 250g of 500g. The rest will be used on Saturday.

Spending £3.69. Expensive mince, yet I think it is worth it as goes further as there is so little fat. It fed three adults today and will do so again on Saturday. Just over 60p each for a portion of meat.


Lunch, sandwiches with existing ingredients.


Sausages from freezer (10 Black Farmer) with frozen peas and fresh carrots and courgettes from a neighbours allotment. I bought bread, potatoes and baked beans from Aldi.  The bread will last the week for sandwiches and the potatoes will last about a fortnight.

Spending £3.23


Lunch was ham sandwiches for two of the family. I had some of the leftovers from last night sausages.


I used up the curry kit, chicken breast and prawns, with rice. This meal was made with ingredients I already had, so no spend on meals for those of us eating the curry. I bought butter, milk, a pizza (as one of the diners doesn’t like curry and quite honestly I couldn’t be bothered to make two different meals) and tinned chopped tomatoes for the curry. I ended up using fresh tomatoes that were very ripe instead.This fed two of us and there is a leftovers for lunch on Saturday.

Spending £4.26

Today (Friday) is fish and chips night so no cooking and no shopping.

Lunch for me was left overs of the sausage meal. the others had sandwiches and soup.This fed three for dinner on Wednesday plus two smaller lunch portions for me so feeling very frugally smug.

I am getting to the end of the meat supply in the freezer so it may be a veggie week ahead. Lots of lentils and rice.

If anyone has any meal ideas based on my food list, please share.

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Live Below the Line. Planning to fail.

School Meals Time

School Meals Time (Photo credit: coreycam)

Never Seconds is a brilliant blog about school meals that has made headlines in the UK. Move over Jamie Oliver! however much he tells parents and children that most school meals are crap, the power of a 9 year old blogging makes the front page. Take a look to see what £2 gets you in a state school in England.

Some kids from lower income families are entitled to free school meals, yet there is low take up of these, in some of the most deprived areas. Why is this? Perhaps because what they get is really poor quality food and the parents would rather make a packed lunch for them. Or that they don’t know that they are entitled to a free meal. Or that the stigma of having to claim is upsetting and that the children may get bullied if they are on free dinners.Some go home to eat but many go to the local fast food outlet. I don’t really understand how families who live below the line can afford to turn down a free lunch and I would urge anyone who is entitled to free school meals to claim them. I would also urge all of you to lobby get behind people like Jamie Oliver who campaigns to improve the quality of school dinners.

Have you turned down free food this week because you were taking part in Live Below the Line?

Free Lunch!

Free Lunch! (Photo credit: LexnGer)

Can families in the third world afford to turn down handouts of food. What about food banks? Do they solve a problem or are they just a sticking plaster?

So now is my confession time.

Confession 1. I accepted a free lunch on Thursday. I was attending a training event at SCVO and there was a buffet which I indulged in.  This would certainly take me over the £1 a day allowance if I had been sticking to it.

Confession 2. I had already spent £1.20 on a sausage sandwich for breakfast at the Bookworm Cafe in Smethwick Library .

Confession 3. Due to lack of planning and communication there was no dinner ready that evening at my house. Takeaway curry it was then.

Chicken balti from Delta Indian Takeaway, Edin...

Chicken balti from Delta Indian Takeaway, Edinburgh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Total spend on food for just me, on Thursday 9 May was a staggering £8.20, not including the free lunch! #fail

The reality is that to eat well on a limited budget is that planning ahead is crucial. Failing  to plan, is planning to fail. Plan what you will be eating and when, check what you already have in the store cupboard and make a shopping list and stick to it. Check out the cheapest place to buy food, and buy seasonable fruit and veg. Eat meat free as often as you can.

It was lack of planning that resulted in the sausage sandwich and the curry.  I did enjoy it though! I also realise how lucky I am to be able to make these choices that people, who have to live below the line, every day, don’t have.