If you are not a fan of garlic, you’re better off skipping this week. There is tzatziki for 2 meals, garlic prawns and garlic soup. With shrimp as one of the main proteins, this week has quite some luxury, which is balanced out by simple dishes with chipolata sausages.
This week there are 3 items which you can get cheaper: the pasta is a more luxureous variety which I chose because there are two pasta salads, but you can use a cheaper brand as well. The coriander I bought in the supermarket, where you get a lot less than in a Turkish shop, where you pay a third of the price as well. It definitely pays off to sow/plant a herb garden at home and to check out Turkish and Asian shops for cheaper finds, especially for pantry items. Finally, I couldn’t find beans at the Lidl (where I shop for these challenges) so I bought some in a more expensive supermarket, which was also out of the cheaper variety. This set me back a whopping €1.05. You can get canned beans for a third less. The sausages can be found a little cheaper if you get the plain variety, but not by much.
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):
- 250gr shrimp (500gr bag, frozen)
- 300gr chipolata sausages
- 2 cucumbers
- 1 courgette
- 1.5 red bell peppers (2)
- spring onions
- 1 head of garlic (pack of 3 heads)
- 1 can (225gr drained) white beans
- fresh coriander
- fresh ginger
- 350gr greek yogurt (tub of 1 kilo)
- 115gr ricotta cheese (tub of 250gr)
- 200gr creme fraiche
- 1 mozzarella
- 4 tbs cream (15% fat) (250ml)
- 195gr pasta (500gr bag)
- 3 pita breads (pack of 10)
I spent €22.05. This includes the following leftovers for the freezer: 250gr shrimp and the cream (in a bag). I will have garlic, pasta and pita breads leftovers too, which will go to my pantry. I used the remaining ricotta and bell pepper in a lunch salad for work.
I used the following items from my pantry this week: Cod (BC2), 1 egg (BC4), fish sauce, soy sauce, mirin, noodles (BC2), frozen peas (BC2), frozen spinach (BC1).
Plus these standard pantry items: Sunflower oil, olive oil, salt/pepper, flour, dried herbs (basil/parsley/thyme/rosemary), spices (cumin, cinnamon, paprika), rice, stock cube (BC2), onions (BC1).
Day 1 – Saturday
Lunch: Garlic shrimp pasta salad
I love garlic shrimp. They are easy to make, but are great to have as a starter, but also work great in a lukewarm pasta salad. In this pasta salad, the hot shrimp are tossed with cold pasta and served on a salad, making this a grand lunch that could suffice for dinner just as well.
Pantry items: Sunflower oil.
Dinner: Stuffed red peppers
Peppers stuffed with rice is a simple way to cook up a vegetarian dinner. I kept it simple, with some spices and mozzarella topping.
Pantry items: Rice, stock cube, paprika powder, ground cumin and cinnamon.
Day 2 – Sunday
Lunch: Garlic paprika soup
Garlic soup is quite common in the mediterranean area and for good reason. It’s really quite nice. You can add vegetables to the soup such as courgette or aubergine (eggplant) for more body.
Pantry items: Paprika powder, stock cube, cumin and fresh parsley from my garden.
Dinner: Fish cakes and courgette fritters with an Asian dipping sauce
Just a few cents less than the allowed budget, this is the most expensive meal this week. You can make it cheaper by serving only the fish cakes or fritters with some rice, and I got the coriander at the supermarket instead of at the Turkish stall at the market, where you get way more for a much smaller price. The same goes for ginger and spring onions.
The total cost this week is €16.70 so it fits within the weekly budget.
Pantry items: Frozen cod (from BC week 2), fish sauce, soy sauce, mirin, 1 egg, flour.
Day 3 – Monday
Dinner: Sausage and beans
An Italian staple, sausages and beans go really well together. The beans were more expensive than they should have been because I was lazy and didn’t check where I could get cheaper beans. You don’t have to use white beans either, different kinds work just as well with sausages. Make sure to rinse the beans well.
Pantry items: Onion, dried herbs (thyme, rosemary).
Day 4 – Tuesday
Dinner: Pita pockets with sausages and tzatziki
I love pita breads. Usually I make these breads myself (and sit in front of the oven looking at them puff up) but for the budget challenge I bought them, to give a more accurate recipe. You see, my pita breads are about twice the size of storebought pita. I believe you should be able to actually fill them properly, which makes for easier eating too because not everything falls out on the first bite.
If you use sausages, pita breads are very quick to have on the table too, no need to make meatballs or pulled pork. Serve with a good dollop of tzatziki and you’re done. The tzatziki is homemade from 350gr yogurt, 1 clove of garlic and half a cucumber. It isn’t difficult, you grate the cucumber, squeeze out the juice and stir it into the yogurt with the grated garlic. Tadaaaah! (The recipe (1kg yogurt with 1 cucumber) can be found under sauces).
Pantry items: /
Day 5 – Wednesday
Dinner: Tzatziki pasta salad
Pasta, tzatziki, cucumber and peas. Life can be so simple.
Pantry items: Frozen peas
Day 6 – Thursday
Dinner: Ginger shrimp noodle soup
Combining Asian flavours in this soup makes for a fragrant, delicious meal. Use fish or chicken instead of shrimp for a cheaper variety.
Pantry items: Sunflower oil, stock cube, noodle nests, soy sauce and fish sauce.
Day 7 – Friday
Dinner: Spinach ricotta lasagne
Spinach and ricotta is one of those Italian combinations you don’t mess with. It goes very well in a Lasagne and makes for a great vegetarian meal.
Pantry items: Frozen spinach (from BC week 1), dried herbs (basil), 3 lasagne sheets (from BC week 4)
Grocery costs: €22.05
Recipes total: €16.70