I was challenged by Panasonic to do a post showing food prep tips and how we save money with our food shopping. For this challenge I chose to shop at Aldi. Read on for some of the meals we managed to make last week. See here for an excellent range of Panasonic microwave oven. I particularly like the look of the ovens that boast Turbo Steam.
Normally I will do our weekly food shops online using Tesco, mainly as I get clubcard points and it is easy to plan and not go over budget. For this challenge I decided on going to Aldi. We have a newish store about 15 minutes away which I popped in recently for a top up shop and was so impressed at the quality and prices. This occasion I didn’t have a plan of dinners and went freestyle as I went round the store. I also done some stocking up for Christmas and Half Term in addition to food for meals. This came to a total of £77.07 and has lasted us 2 weeks for dinner as a family of four point two children.
I try to make ingredients go into different meals to be cost effective and less waste. Some tips and examples of ingredients I can make go further and use on multiple meals. I try to plan this when food planning. This is the base of me deciding which meals we will have for the week. Chicken I find extremely versatile and can be made to go in so many meals.
- Sweet Potatoes: Chips, Wedges, Sweet Potato Dahl, Soup, Jacket Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato Mash, Crisps
- Chicken: Chicken Nuggets, Chicken and Leek Puff Slices, Chicken and Stuffing Sandwiches, Chicken Curry, Risotto, Casserole
- Bacon: Risotto, Chicken wrapped in bacon, Macaroni Cheese, Omelette, Quiche, Carbonara
These ingredients are in most of my weekly shops as they are so versatile and can make so many meals. A good tip of making meals go further is go on a health kick, pack it out with salad. This way you use less main meal which means the meal will go further. If possible I try to do leftover boxes, wether these are for lunch or for freezing for another day. Again this eliminates the waste and makes more meals. If I am using white potatoes and have a few left I will make a mash for a lunch or one of the kids in the freezer. One of my favourites is to add tinned tuna and salad cream to the mash.
On working days with work and picking up children for childcare we are commuting for a good hour until we arrive home. Then is the rush of walking the dog, homework, spellings, bathtime, children in bed and cooking dinner so we tend to have quicker meals on days we are both working. Rowan goes to nursery and Josie goes to after school club which they have a tea meal and a cooked school/nursery lunch so both tend to just have a snack when home.
Non working weekdays I have found it easier to sit the kids down earlier for their dinner and we will have ours when Antony is home or after the kids are in bed. Then we make sure to eat as a family weekends. Below I have listed some of the meals we had from this shop:
Thai Chicken Stirfry
As we don’t normally go to Aldi we went for some different meals than I would normally plan as a treat. First up we had Thai Chicken Stirfry (£2.99). The Stirfry kit contained chicken and vegetables plus a Thai sauce. The chicken was quite big chunks which to make go further I cut these smaller. Then I served with Microwave Rice which I had in the cupboard. This meal took me under 10 minutes to prep and cook and was so filling and went down well with the hubby.
Rosemary and Garlic Lamb Chops, Parmentier Potatoes and Asparagus in Bacon
Next I done Lamb Chops in Rosemary and Garlic (£3.49) with Parmentier Potatoes (£0.90) with a side of Asparagus (£1.35) wrapped in Streaky Bacon (£1.39). I only used a few rashers of bacon and the rest went into more meals. Considering I done this on a worknight, again it only took 25-30 mins from prep to finish. This was no doubt my favourite meal. The lamb was done to perfection. I chose to oven cook these rather than grill and smoke out the house.
Chicken Wrapped in Bacon, Double Cooked Roast Potatoes and Sweetcorn
Another meal which was on a non working day was one of our favourites as a family. Chicken (£5.35) wrapped in Bacon. This was the same streaky bacon used previously. The extra chicken we used to make chicken nuggets. With this meal we had roast potatoes and sweetcorn, the kids had homemade chips and beans. For the childrens dinner I cooked their chicken first. Josie wanted bacon on her chicken like us. Rowan has trouble chewing so I just done him chicken, he shares his chicken with Bibi the dog and Pickles the cat as they are huge sized chicken breasts. The potatoes I used for the chips went on to make our roast potatoes and the rest went on for a tuna mash for the following day.
I cooked ours for Antony coming home whilst the kids ate their dinner. I had previously parboiled the potatoes which I forgot to set a timer and ended up over parboiling. So being a clever housewife, I still roasted them then a few minutes before serving I cut them up and sautéed them with some Parmesan. Another quick dinner trick, cook frozen roast potatoes and do the same as above once cooked. You can really spruce them up to make a scrumptious accompaniment to your meal.
We also have planned Sweet Potato Dahl and a hard boiled egg side which makes enough for dinner, lunch and a frozen couple of batches. Gammon Steaks with homemade sweet potato chips/wedges and fried egg. We will also have Risotto which is brilliant for left overs, I always use Parmesan and will use the last of the bacon and frozen leeks from the freezer. I also brought soup mix which I pack out with red lentils also used in the Sweet Potato Dahl to make this go further. Overall I was very impressed with Aldi and will certainly be going again.
I enjoyed trying different meals and was amazed at the price difference. The quality of the fruit and vegetables was amazing. This was a plus from online ordering as you can choose the ones you like the look of. As with Primark and Homesense, Aldi is on my Wishlist for sites that I wish done deliveries.
Do you plan your meals? Have you any tips for meal prepping like a pro?