Our simple, homely menus will be back with a Menu & Shopping List for Week 4 around 5.00 pm on Wednesday ready for your shopping and cooking creations next week.

This ‘pause’ will give you time to revisit your favourite recipes of the past three weeks.   In Recipe 18 I laid out a method on how to make up your own menu and shopping list for this week.  Once the shopping is done you are ready to begin.

It would be wise to check your stock cupboard and you may wish to add items into that, eg flour.  You have probably used at least the plain one, on pizzas, pancakes etc.  I’ve not been putting it on the shopping list as knowing you had a whole bag from the first recipe, but I’ve not been taking into account on regular useage how much you will have used by now.  Some consumables will need weekly replacing especially breakfast and lunch items eg bread, and obviously these need adding every week to your shopping list. However the cost has been calculated into the overall budget each week.  Hopefully you have been able to store a few things in the freezer , eg bacon pack and at least two meals to be used at a later date.   Don’t forget to label those items, for in a month or so when you want them again, you may not remember which container they are in.

If you have comments, suggestions, ideas and even recipes you would like to add to these all would be welcome.  Email at foodforthought@emanuel-publishing.com.  It would be good to hear if you have discovered typing errors, wrong calculations or even recipe errors (and I hope not, but forgive me if this has spoilt your meal) so I can correct them

From the recipes you will have realised I am not a professional cook or photographer! My heart is to just share my recipe collection from childhood onwards, and when just after the war, life was frugal, and the mentality of families was ‘waste not, want not’ and thus my always finding a way to use anything leftover.

This week I shall not be idle for it seems sensible to collate the parts of recipes that appear regularly, eg ‘Salad Suggestions’ and ‘Potato Proposals’.  I will put these under What’s on the menu? so I don’t have to keep repeating the recipes, and are easily accessible when needed.

Now halfway this series, this experiment and belief I was only spending £3.00 a day on meals, I have been surprised to discover in sharing my recipes here, that we in fact eat for around £2.00 a day – far cheaper than expected.  Here are my calculations (my basic arithmetic skills are also open to error!)

Stock (SC) =   £20.51
Week 1       =   £25.68
Week 2       =   £21.58
Week 3       =   £30.69
TOTAL       =   £98.46

Average weekly spend:  £32.82
Average evening meal:   £ 4.69
Cost per person per day: £ 1.17
With breakfast & lunch:  £ 2.17

It will be interesting to see how the following three weeks pan out.  I  hope you are finding the shopping list useful, the menus stretching your meal creativity and the recipes easy.  Along with which you can see that looking after the ‘pennys will save you pounds’ (another saying learnt in my childhood) and has certainly worked in my life.

Have fun, stay healthy!  You may not become wealthy, but you will become wise!!

Ruth Johnson

March 2021




















Recipe 21 – Cottage Pie with carrots and cabbage

Feeds 6:
Four adults could consume this,  but with 2 children less likely.

Ingredients:  £3.41

500 grms   Mince          £2.00)
2 onions                          ( 20p)
1 beef stock cube             (12p)
Tabsp of Lentils               (SC)
1 kg potatoes                    (40p)
250 grms of carrots         (22p)
Cabbage or broccoli        (47p)
Gravy granules                 (SC)

1. Brown mince with onions in saucepan
2. Add stock cube and 1 pint of water
3. Add lentils and simmer for 20 mins
3. Peel potatoes, cut small and cook until soft = 10 mins
4. Poor about ½ pt of water from potatoes into mixture and continue to simmer
6. Thicken mixture so more solid with gravy granules
7. Pour into dish and allow to stand for about 5 mins
8. Mash the potatoes add a little butter, milk * pepper to a creamy texture
9. Carefully add potatoes on top so mixture below isn’t disturbed
10. With a knife or fork carefully create little peaks in the mash
11.Grill/ Microwave on Low or put in hot oven for 10 mins.

Serve with above vegetable:
Carrots cut up take about 15 mins in boiling water.
Cabbage cut in wide strips up and then across take 5 -10 mins

Tip 1: This is served with green beans, try peas/sweetcorn/carrots/sprouts.

Tip 2: To be more fulling for 6 adults add several vegetables as suggested.

Tip 3:  Lessen the cost by buying less mince for 4 people.  Some shops sell 400 grams, others 600 grms.   Use 400 grms freeze 200 grms to use another day.  If freezer space is limited, then use as Tip 4.

Tip 4:  This is your chance to experiment!  Mash together the meat and potaotes of the pie, and pop in fridge. Use any leftover vegetables, boil and mash to make a savoury pancake filling. . Use within three days.  Put filled pancakes in a flan dish cover with chopped tinned tomatoes having added a finely chopped garlic.  Sprinkle cheese over the top and cook in oven at 180 degrees until hot and browned.  Serve with green vegetable.  You have now made a tasty meal for four at less than £1.00.

Cost of this meal:  £3.41
Cost per person:   88p





Recipe 20 – Chicken Supreme with rice & vegetables

Feeds 4

Ingredients: £3.22
4 Chicken breast fillets       (£1.69)
1 Tin of Chicken soup            (33p)
4 tabsps of Greek yoghurt     (22p)
1 Green pepper                       (33p)
Mushrooms                             (65p)
½ Garlic (optional)                 (SC)

1.  In a little oil gently strips of green pepper, mushrooms and garlic
2.  Add to that chicken breast fillet and brown on both sides
3.  Add the soup to the pan and simmer
4.  Or use microwave on Medium for 10 mins
5.  Add the Greek yoghurt before serving.

Rice with vegetables:    36p
1.  Peel chop and dice two small or one large carrot to 1 mm cubes (10p)
2.  Add a handful of peas = about same amount as carrots                (10p)
3.  Add carrots & peas to boiled water with rice                                    (16p)

Cook as before:
1. In separate saucepan put a full mug of water in per person and boil
2. Measure half a mug of rice for each person to water
3. Gently boil without saucepan lid for 8 minutes
4. Check there is water at bottom of pan cook for another 4 mins
5. Remove from heat put on lid, leave rice to steam for 8 minutes before serving
6. Serve in ring and place chicken portion and sauce in the centre

Cost of Meal:  £3.58
Cost per person:  89p


Recipe 19 – Frittata with salad

Feeds 4

Ingredients:  £1.38
250 grams of cooked bacon*    (30p)
250 grams boiled potatoes        (10p)
1 Onion                                          (10p)
4 large tomatoes                          (40p)
6 eggs                                             (48p)
Any vegetable leftovers


1. Take cooked, chopped bacon out of freezer (prepared two weeks ago)*
2. Chop roughly into 1 mm cubes, boil until just soft
3. Chop onion and fry in a little oil with bacon
4. Break six eggs into a jug, add pepper and little milk and whisk with fork
5. Add any leftovers with cooked potato to pan when bacon and onion hot.
6. Pour over egg mixture, and scramble the ingredients together
7. Once the egg begins to set allow to gently to cook until centre is dry
8. Cut the tomatoes in half and arrange around pan
9. Optional: Sprinkle cheese on the top                                (40p)
10.Slip your frying pan under the grill and brown the top
11. Cut in portions and serve with basic salad                   (£1.73)

Cost of meal: £3.51
Cost per person:  88p



Recipe 18 – Sausage, Mash & Baked Beans

Feeds 4/6

Ingredients:     £2.87            

Pack of 12 Sausages  (£1.79)
2 Onions sliced             (20p)
2 tins baked beans       (44p)
500 grms potatoes         (20p)
½ Swede                      (24p)

1.Peel potato and swede chopped both into small pieces (44p)
2.Put in boiling water for about 10 mins to soften
3. Cook sausages until brown in frying pan (£1.79)
4. Depending on pan size you may have to cook in two halves
5. Add a little oil and cook onions (20p)
6. When cooked put together in one pan to keep warm
7. Open cans of beans and heat in a saucepan (44p)
8. Drain water, mash potato and swede with pepper and butter
9. Serve at once

Tip:  This recipe provides for 4 adults with 3 sausages each. Leftover sausages can be chopped up and added to coleslaw in pitta bread or sliced with tomato sauce in a sandwich for lunch.

Cost of Meal:  £2.87
Cost per person:  72p


I will not be idle, but collating the popular parts of recipes so I don’t have to keep put them on each recipe eg.  ‘Different ways of preparing potatoes’; ‘Salad choices’ including the coleslaw recipe.  And maybe a couple of cheap easy puddings to add to your meals.

This is your opportunity to retry and get familiar with your favourite recipes making up your own menu and shopping list from the past three weeks.

1. Choose and find your favourite recipes from the weekly menu’s
2. Write them against each day along with the Recipe number
3. At the same time make a list of the ingredients for that recipe
4. Check your Stock Cupboard List and begin a shopping list
5. Don’t forget to check your breakfast and lunch needs
6. For main meals e.g. if you buy a chicken plan to either use it all or freeze leftovers
7. Check you have enough flour for e.g. pizza or savour pancakes
8. Although you have a week’s menu be flexible in order not to waste food
9. A pizza, frittata, vegetable curry, savoury pancakes are ideal for uneaten food.
10. Find a recipe for fruit, vegetables, meat that needs using and eating up,
11. Invent a recipe.  If successful I could add it to the blog.
12. Be creative, have fun,  enjoy your food while saving money!

A quick calculation to date reveals if you have kept to these simple recipes you have been spending less than £2.00 a day on food per adult person.

Recipe 17 – Delicious fish pizza with coleslaw

Feeds 4
After the more expensive meals this cheap recipe will help offset that cost.

Base ingredients:  13p
220 gr (8oz) SR flour (10p),
8 dsp veg/sunflower oil (SC),
8 dsp water,
1 tsp. Oregano. (SC)

1.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl so dry, but malleable.
2.  Use fingers to gently press over base of 12 inch frying pan.
3.  With a smaller pan you for 4 share ingredients between two pans
4.  Cook with a medium heat, cover if possible with lid until pastry has risen.
5.  When upper side looks fairly dry, invert plate and turn over.
6.  If pastry sticks to plate drop back in pan for a minute or two.
7.  If not brown enough on either side use plate to turn base to brown it.
8.  Tip on to plate ready to add toppings.

Delicious Fish Topping with base only:  £1.03
Tin of pilchards in tomato sauce (£1.10)
Large onion (10p)

1. From pilchards drain off tomato sauce into a small dish
2. Chop the onion, fry, or  microwave with pilchard sauce
3. Mash pilchards back into sauce with onion
4. Separate into three portions, freeze two, use one.
5. Spread a third of mixture on base                                  (40p)
6. Sprinkle over 100 grams of cheese, melt under grill  (50p)

Tip 1: With smaller frying pan, make base ingredients and divide into two,  Make a rough 6 inch circle for each pizza and you will have enough pilchard topping for both.

Tip 2: If you want larger pizzas adjust pizza base recipe and use two portions of pilchard mixture. Even doubling the recipe the pizza will only just be over £2.00.

Tip 3: A third of 12” pizza with salad or coleslaw is should adequately feed 2 adults and 2 children.

Serving suggestions: 
Coleslaw with sultanas (80p)  See earlier recipe.

Cost of this meal:  £1.83
Cost per person:    46p


Recipe 16 – Kenyan Curry with fruit and Rice

Feeds 4 

 Ingredients:  £3.96

400 grms of stewing beef       (£3.26)
2 apples                                   (48p)
1 lrg onion                               (10p)
50 grms (2ozs) sultanas        (SC)
Curry powder                          (SC)
1 Beef stock cube                    (12p)
Tomato Sauce                         (SC)
Gravy granules                        (SC)

1. Peel and cook apples in a little water mas them into that
2. Add 1pt of water, beef stock cube, and chopped onion
3. Squeeze a good blob of tomato sauce
4. Put in curry powder to your taste
5. Stir in the sultanas and bring to the boil
6. Put the steak in a casserole dish and add the sauce
7. Continue cooking in oven at 160 degree or LOW microwave
8. When meat is soft make up gravy granules
9. Add gravy as per instructions make sauce enough for four
10.Check curry flavouring is to your taste

Fruit:   98p
Two oranges, broken into segments and halved                              (50p)
Two bananas cut into slices                                                                 (28p)
Two larger tomatoes cut into eighths                                                (20p)

Rice:  16p

Serving around 50 grams (2ozs)  boiled rice per person
1. In separate saucepan put a full mug of water in per person and boil
2. Measure half a mug of rice for each person to water
3. Gently boil without saucepan lid for 8 minutes
4. Check there is water at bottom of pan cook for another 4 mins
5. Remove from heat put on lid, leave rice to steam for 8 minutes before serving

 Tip 1:.  To make a creamier curry, use cornflour and water mix, add slowly and then 3 tabs of yoghurt     (22p).

Tip 2:  The fruit idea comes from Kenya, it doesn’t have to be added, or perhaps only use one large orange and make a saving of  (25p)

Tip 3:  This dish is more expensive and you may prefer to cook all the meat and add a two-thirds more vegetables and freeze dish for another day.

Tip 4: In future you could cook both stewing steak meals in the oven at the same time.  Separate off the meat, following the above recipe and put back in the same oven as the stew.  Or leave to marinate overnight and cook the following day, or freeze this meal for 4 to eat on another day, and pick a use previous recipe today.

Tip 5:  This might be an ideal recipe for eating up left over tomatoes, bananas and other fruit at the end of a week.

Tip 6:  Markets, greengrocers or even supermarkets often stell of their out of date stock, or even bruise and damaged.  This is a good place to pick up apples which you can always prepare and keep for when making this curry.  When apples are in profusion, you can often get free apples that are bruised, cut that away and make use take-away boxes to make apple bricks for the future makes for cheap and delicious cake or crumble.

Cost of meal:  £5.10
Cost per person:  £1.30


Recipe 15 – Beef Stew & Dumplings

Feeds 4 x 2 meals

 Ingredients:  £2.90

600 grams Stewing Steak       (£4.90) using 200 grms  (£1.63)
½ bag of Parsnips                    (25p)
½ Swede                                     (24p)
½ kg carrots                              (22p)
1 beet stock cube                       (12p)
Flour                                            (SC)
Gravy granules to thicken       (SC)

1. Cut meat into roughly 1 mm chunks place in frying pan and brown
2. Coat meat in flour and transfer into large dish or saucepan to cook
3. Add 1 pt of water and stock cube and cover and cook
4. For saucepan simmer gently, in oven cook at 160 degrees and microwave on LOW
5. Slice carrots, chop parsnips and swede into similar sized chunks
6. After 30 mins remove 2/3rds of the meat.from the stew for tomorrow’s meal
7. Add prepared vegetables and water to cover and continue cooking for an hour.
8. If vegetables and meat aren’t soft, stir gently and continue cooking.
9. Make dumplings as below.

Dumplings:   44p
240 grms  (8 oz) of flour         (12p)
120 grms of   (4ozs of suet)   (32p)
Water to mix

1. Place flour in bowl
2. Add suet and use add water so it forms a dry ball
3.If it gets sticky add just a little flour
4. Pat into a squarish shape and with a knife divide into 12 pieces
5. Roll each piece in your hand making a ball
6. Take out stew, stir adding enough water to ensure they will float!
7. Don’t cover, turn up heat over to 180 degrees, microwave to MEDIUM
8. They should rise to twice/three times the size.
9. Oven takes about 20 mins, microwave around 10 mins.
10.Remove dumplings and if necessary thicken gravy

Alternative using a microwave make a dumpling crust
1. Rub a finger or oil, lard or marg on another casserole dish lid
2. Use steps 1-3 above and make shape similar to your dish
3. Roll out your suet pastry to the right size, press out or fold in to fit
4. Place in microwave on HIGH for 4 minutes to rise
5. Turn upside down on to a flat plate, brown under the grill,
6. Cut into four pieces.
7. You can tip this over your stew to brown, if necessary, thicken gravy first

Extra Vegetables:  60p
When stew is ready, cook a green vegetable, and maybe a couple of boiled potatoes each to accompany the meal.  Time these according to your dumpling choice.

Cost of this meal:  £3.90
Cost of per person:  98p


Recipe 14 – Chilli con Carne

Feeds 6 

Main Ingredients:     £3.32
450 grams cheap mince         (2.00)
1 large onion chopped            (10p)
1 pepper chopped                    (32p)
1 tin of plum tomatoes            (28p)
1 tin of baked beans                (22)p
1 tin kidney beans                   (30p)
1 tabsp of lentils                      (SC)
1 tsp chilli powder (to taste)   (SC)
1 squeeze if tomato sauce       (SC)
300 grams of rice                    (24p)

1.  Put mince and onion in large saucepan and gently fry together.
2. Stir in the chilli powder.
3. Pour juice from tomatoes into saucepan, and chop tomatoes
4. Add tomatoes and good squeeze of tomato sauce
5. Chop pepper, baked beans, and kidney beans.
6. Allow to boil and then add lentils which will thicken sauce
7. Simmer for 20 mins add lid and leave while cooking rice
8.For four when serving place two portions in a dish or freezer container

Serve with rice
1. In separate saucepan put a full mug of water in per person and boil
2. Measure 50 grams rice or half a mug of rice for each person to the water
3. Gently boil without saucepan lid for 8 minutes
4. Check there is water at bottom of pan cook for another 4 mins
5. Remove from heat put on lid, leave to steam for 8 minutes before serving

Suggested extras:
Tub of Greek Yoghurt (light) use as side dish  (45p)
Packet of Tortilla chips  ( 69p)

Tip 1:   If feeding 4 people:
With freezer:
1. Following point 8 above
2. Do this the next time you cook this recipe
3. On the third occasion take the 2 x 2 portions from freezer, heat together
4. That week the cost will be the rice (16p) + extras £1.14.

Without freezer:
1. This is delicious on hot buttered toast makes four generous portions for lunch.
2. Use within five days, heat to bubbling in a saucepan before serving
3. Consider making savoury pancakes. (Recipe 36 published 16th  February)
4. Add to the chilli mixture a little cooked rice, cous cous or potato for a more solid filling for your pancakes.
5. Heat thoroughly in over/microwave
6. Cover pancakes if they start to go too crispy.
7. Best with salad.

Tip 2:  In feeding four people not six you will have yoghurt and tortilla chips left over use these elsewhere eg. yoghurt with breakfast and chips with lunch or put on the side if you make savoury pancakes above.

Cost of meal:    £3.32   (for six with extras)   £1.14 = £4.46
Cost per person:  56p + extras 19p each = 75p

Recipe 13: Cornish Pasties with Salad/Coleslaw/leftovers

Feeds 4

 Ingredients: £2.54
Lidl Cornish pasties   4 x 50p each  (£2.00)
Coleslaw half portions                        (24p)
Any salad leftovers approximately
Add leftover  ½ tin sweetcorn/peas   (30p)

1.Pasties are cooked and delicious both hot or cold.
2.To heat put in oven 180 degrees for 20 mins or
3.For microwave oven LOW heat with combination 180 degrees
4.Use up leftovers: tomatoes, sweetcorn, peas
5.If no leftovers use baked beans

Tip 1:  These are large and sold in threes.  For younger children cut third pastie in two. Otherwise you will need to buy 2 packets and either freeze two for another day, or use by sale-by-date for 2 adult lunches or in half for children’s lunches.

Cost per meal:  £2.54
Cost per person:   64p