How is it where you are today? I am sat in the sofa with the heating on and after a few sneezes, it feels as if I am stood outside in the cold! I can’t believe it’s only the beginning of November and already I feel like hibernating!
Anyway, this week was particularly good on the money saving front especially as it relates to money saving and meal planning paired together.
We had to be really strategic with the plan this week as we were in and out, it was half term, but we really wanted to spend some time eating together. Even though half of what we planned to do for the week didn’t happen due to the hectic week we had, it was still fun and on the avoiding food waste front, I think we only threw out some lettuce as they were squished in the shopping bag on the way home and then after a few days in the fridge, they were highly discoloured.
Because of the challenges we had to prepare for the Channel 5 show, I enjoyed looking through various blogs this week for some unusual and exciting recipes that don’t cost much but that are tasty and family friendly. (If you have any ideas, you can point me in the right direction.)
One thing I learnt in doing this though, is that there is hardly a new recipe out there. Someone must have tried it before. Maybe with their own variation. Although I do think I invented a recipe once when I was a teen. So if you hear anyone with it, they have simply stolen my idea, lol. It was for an avocado and cheese spread. I will patent it one day as it was really delicious but turned a nasty colour really quickly. I know that I can add some lemon or lime juice to stop the discolouration. But I don’t want the tangy flavour of the lime or lemon.
Anyway, back to the meals we planned and had this week.
Sunday: Jamaican Sunday dinner
This is what you will find being cooked in almost every Jamaican household on a Sunday. It consists of Brown Stew or Fried Chicken, Rice and Peas, Potato Salad, fresh vegetable salad, and sometimes fried ripe plantains. We didn’t buy any plantains this week so had to do without. The good thing about this dinner is that you can soak the peas and also marinate the chicken overnight so you spend less time in the kitchen on a Sunday. Also, we tend to make a large batch on Sunday so that there is enough left over for at least one other day in the week, or for lunch to take to work.
Monday: Ackee and Saltfish with Fried Dumplings
Have you ever tried this? The ackee and saltfish is Jamaica’s national dish. You do have to acquire the taste. It’s not bland or bitter or anything like that. The texture is what many people find unusual. I guess you will have to try it for yourself and see. The ackee tree cannot grow and bear fruits here in the UK due to the kind of climate we have. Because of that, we always have a can or two in the store cupboards for when we have very little shopping in or for when we feel like having it. The dumplings can be made in batches too, frozen and then defrosted in the microwave until just warmed through.
Tuesday: Nanados style burger meals for the girls and leftover rice and peas and potato salad dinner for us.
We got home a little earlier from filming on Tuesday so we decided to go get some ingredients to put together a quick Nandos style meals which the girls had been asking us to make since we told them about our Nandos meal the week before. It was then easy to just reheat some of the leftover Sunday dinner for ourselves. The rest of the marinated chicken as well as the ciabatta bread for the burgers were then frozen for later use.
I asked the younger daughter to take pics of the things we used to put the meal together and also of the process so that they could save the pics on the iPad and make their own Nandos style meals when they were ready. They were quite impressed with how professional their meals looked, especially with the chip baskets we used. Here are some of the pics.
The meal took about 35 to 40 minutes to be ready and according to the girls, it was better than Nandos (bless them!)
And here is what their meals looked like
The peri salt was a hit and so were the medium and hot dipping sauces. All fingers were licked clean. And since we had butchered one whole chicken there’s more chicken for another meal. Yummy!
Wednesday: Chicken Frankfurters with mash, gravy, and sweetcorn
This is such a quick meal to do. We use frozen frankfurters (the Polish ones are really nice), frozen sweetcorn and gravy granules. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time and and we all need to be fed.
Friday: Leftover vegetable soup with bread
Soup is such a great idea these days. It gets dark early which puts me in the mood to get into bed, not slaving over a cooker. So it is always a good idea to make a batch of soup and freeze it in smaller portions.
Did you notice that there was no dinner for Thursday? Just seeing if you would notice. Well, sure we had dinner. We all had a variety of different things while watching us being being beaten by Kelly on Channel 5’s Shop Smart, Save Money. Did you see it?
Well, next week we are coming back stronger so we have our game face on! We have to find better bargains for our readers. To be fair, we have to find nicer recipes too (although, this is a matter of personal taste).
We are linking with Katy Kicker and sharing meal planning ideas. Remember, we are still on the lookout for more, easy frugal recipes for families that don’t have much time, especially in these shorter and darker days.
If you are in the UK, look out for us each Thursday at 8 pm as we share our recipe and meal planning ideas, as well as shopping tips.