This week I went for comfort food, but with plenty of fresh dishes to not make you feel like you need to gym extra this week. Salmon and squid make up the fish section, I got both from the fishmonger at the market. Because my other ingredients were so cheap, I still ended up at a low weekly cost (I used so many onions this week though that I should have bought a bag, there was more than enough budget left). This is because I went for chicken legs, which have more flavour yet are significantly cheaper than chicken breast. Also, the salmon on the menu this week is a salmon steak instead of the much more expensive salmon fillet. At my market fishmonger, the salmon fillet costs 25-66% more per kilo than the salmon steak.
If you can find them somewhere, it pays to buy a bag of frozen squid tubes, they tend to be quite an economical ingredient to use.
I got my cashews from the market too, hence that I got exactly 100gr, instead of a 250gr bag.
The chili is a double portion, either have one for dinner later that week or freeze it.
There are three types of cheese this week; Gouda, Mozzarella and Gorgonzola. If you are not a gorgonzola fan, go for another strong cheese which packs a punch, this doesn’t need to be a blue cheese though. The cheese is never used on its own, so that strength is necessary to not end up with a bland sauce.
You can find the budget challenge recipes of all weeks under BC Recipes. They are linked below as well; click on the dish names at each day to get forwarded to the corresponding recipe.
My shopping list of this week (if I bought more, the quantity bought is between brackets):
- 200gr squid
- 200gr salmon steak
- 761gr chicken legs
- 100gr cashew nuts
- 125gr mozzarella
- 100gr grated Gouda cheese (500gr)
- 150gr gorgonzola (200gr)
- 2 red bell peppers
- 3 chicory
- 1 courgette
- 500gr broccoli
- 250gr Swiss brown mushrooms
- 1 can tomatoes
- 1 jar brown beans (2 jars)
- 250ml cooking cream
- 290gr penne pasta (500gr)
I spent €18.41. This includes the following leftovers: 400gr grated Gouda (freezes well), 50gr Gorgonzola, 1 jar brown beans, 210gr penne. Plus one portion of vegetarian chili.
I used the following items from my pantry this week: Risotto rice, oyster sauce, soy sauce, (Chinese) vinegar, garlic, 5 onions, sambal, cacao powder, honey, 1 stock cube, cornstarch.
Plus these standard pantry items: Sunflower oil, butter, salt/pepper, spices (paprika, cumin)
Day 1 – Saturday
Lunch: Vegetarian Chili
Served as lunch but definitely an option for dinner as well. The recipe makes two portions, which I am usually very much against but I kept going with ingredients and ended up with way more than one person can finish. Either save the second portion to eat later this week or freeze it. I took my leftover portion to work for lunch.
Pantry items: Sunflower oil, 1 onion, paprika powder, sambal, cumin, cacao powder.
Dinner: Salmon with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
A large piece of salmon in a budget challenge, sounds unrealistic. However, using a salmon steak already decreases the cost of this dish. Keep the remainder of the ingredients cheap and you can still have your share of good food.
Pantry items: Sunflower oil, paprika powder, 1 red onion
Day 2 – Sunday
Lunch: Chicory Gratin
Vegetables, cheese and pasta. That’s it.
Pantry items: Sunflower oil
Dinner: Stir-fried Squid and Broccoli
Breaking up the cheese loaded food with this fresh dish. I got my squid at the fishmonger, but having some in the freezer can cut cost and allow you to always have extra proteins at hand.
Pantry items: 1 red onion, sambal, soy sauce, Chinese vinegar, honey
Day 3 – Monday
Dinner: Three Cheese Courgette Risotto
Although using the same cheeses as the broccoli pasta dish, this is much different, but definitely not less good.
Pantry items: 1 onion, butter, risotto rice, 1/2 stock cube
Day 4 – Tuesday
Dinner: Chicken Drumstick with Honey Chicory
Two economical ingredients, but simplicity does not have to be boring at all. The honey gives the dish richness and pulls everything together.
Pantry items: Sunflower oil, butter, honey
Day 5 – Wednesday
Dinner: Chicken and Bell Pepper in Oyster Sauce
Adding oyster sauce to simple ingredients creates a completely different dish, which is why I can recommend having some in your pantry. It allows you to change a boring menu into something quite special. Get a good bottle at an Asian supermarket. This stuff stays good for very long so dont bother with’the expensive brands in regular supermarkets.
Pantry items: Oyster sauce, 1 onion, butter, garlic
Day 6 – Thursday
Dinner: Three Cheese Broccoli Pasta
This was probably my favourity dish this week. Creamy, rich and absolutely delicious. Although using three different kinds of cheese, still a very economical dish.
Pantry items: /
Day 7 – Friday
Dinner: Stir-fried Vegetables with Cashew Nuts
Nuts are underappreciated when it comes to savoury cooking, with most meat-eaters shunning them completely for no obvious reason. Cashew nuts have been added to this stir-fry for extra body and protein.
Pantry items: Sunflower oil, 1 onion, garlic, 1/2 stock cube
Grocery costs: €18.41