A real Summer menu, with three meal salads, a hamburger and two dishes with peas. A cheap week too, groceries were less than 2/3rd of what I set as a max. There are three types of fish this week; smoked trout, canned tuna and canned anchovies. The anchovies are an expensive ingredient, but they fit easily with the cheap other ingredients. If you are not a fan of anchovies, you can omit them, but they are mostly incorporated into sauces as flavouring and a salty element. You don’t really taste that it is anchovies, but it does provide a nice added flavour profile.
There is definitely plenty of protein this week, with 8 eggs on top of the minced beef/pork and fish.
Do you wish to spend less; use regular tomatoes and regular potatoes instead of cherry tomatoes and baby potatoes. You can omit the anchovies. The smoked trout isn’t cheap, you can use a raw fish as an alternative as it will be added to hot pasta. Instead of fresh spinach, you can use frozen, but I can advise to use whole leaf instead of the chopped kind. I also used too much mince making the hamburgers, which made 2 instead of the planned 1. If you serve one with some baked potatoes, you save more mince for the freezer, for another day.
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):
- 375gr minced beef/pork (500gr)
- 125gr smoked trout fillet
- 150gr can of tuna (drained weight)
- small tin of anchovies
- 250gr cherry tomatoes
- 450gr fresh spinach
- 320gr potatoes (1kg baby potatoes)
- 250gr frozen peas (450gr box)
- 4 pickles (jar of 360gr drained weight)
- 20 black olives (small jar)
- can of corn, 285gr drained weight
- 250ml cooking cream (15% fat)
- 8 eggs (box of 10)
- 4 white breadrolls (pack of 6)
I spent €15.68. This includes the following leftovers for the freezer: 125gr minced beef/pork, 200gr peas. The remaining 680gr of potatoes will go to my pantry, they can be used for salads, to be served with meat, or deep-fried. The remaining pickles, olives and eggs will go to the pantry, and the breadrolls I have used to take to work for lunch with some cheese.
I used the following items from my pantry this week: Onion, garlic, spaghetti, pasta, Arborio rice, stock cube, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, yogurt (BC5), milk, mayo (optional if not making yourself), capers (BC3).
Plus these standard pantry items: Sunflower oil, salt/pepper, dried herbs (terragon), fresh herbs (parsley/dill/chives), mustard (Dijon/course), vinegar.
Day 1 – Saturday
Lunch: Egg and Potato Salad
This is a simple salad, made of hardboiled eggs, boiled potato, chives and a creamy sauce. It’s great for lunch or as a side dish for a BBQ.
Pantry items: Fresh chives, mayo (if not making your own, see the remoulade sauce recipe for Sunday’s dinner), yogurt (BC5), course mustard.
Dinner: Niçoise Salad
A Niçoise Salad consists of tuna, eggs and olives. I have added corn because I would have some left over. The dressing contains anchovies.
Pantry items: Dijon mustard, vinegar, sunflower oil.
Day 2 – Sunday
Lunch: Corn and Tuna Salad
This filling salad is great for a sunny day, or take it to work for lunch. It takes care of some leftovers like the tuna and anchovy.
Pantry items: Onion, sunflower oil, fresh chives.
Dinner: Hamburger with Remoulade Sauce and a Simple Tomato Salad
A more time-consuming meal, where I have made the remoulade sauce from homemade mayo. You don’t have to use homemade mayo, from a jar is fine as well. I also didn’t use ready-to-use patties, but got minced beef/pork (50-50 mix) instead. The tomato salad is very simple however, simply stir together 3 ingredients and slice some tomatoes in half. 2 rolls is a bit much, you can easily go for 1 roll per person. The remoulade sauce recipe is over two times as much as you need for these two buns. I recommend making the full amount of mayo on Saturday, using half then and half for today’s remoulade sauce.
Pantry items: Sunflower oil, Dijon mustard, vinegar, capers (BC3), fresh parsley and chives, dried parsley and terragon, bread crumbs, yogurt (BC5).
Day 3 – Monday
Dinner: Creamy Beef and Peas
Baking some minced beef and garlic, adding some cream and then some peas, and serving it with pasta. That is all there is to this dish. I have used fancy pasta but it is really not necessary. As usual, you can substitute dried herbs for the fresh ones I get from my garden. Use a third of the amount, so a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon.
Pantry items: Garlic (BC5), pasta, fresh chives.
Day 4 – Tuesday
Dinner: Spinach Omelet on Bread
An omelet is a great way to serve a cheap meal. Add some spinach, which goes great with eggs, and a breadroll, and you have a decent meal.
Pantry items: Milk, onion.
Day 5 – Wednesday
Dinner: Pea and Lettuce Risotto
Risotto can be cheap, like for this dish, where I have used frozen peas and leftover lettuce. Add some dill for extra flavour and there is nothing more to it.
Pantry items: Onion, Arborio rice, stock cube, fresh dill (or dried).
Day 6 – Thursday
Dinner: Macaroni Carbonara with Spinach and Smoked Trout
By far the most expensive dish, mainly because the smoked trout alone was €1.99. Add spinach and Parmesan cheese and you run out of budget quickly. You can bake some fish and substitute this for the smoked trout in order to lower the costs, especially frozen white fish is economical.
Pantry items: Macaroni, Parmesan cheese.
Day 7 – Friday
Dinner: Spinach Garlic Spaghetti
I really like making a creamy spinach sauce to go with pasta. It is simple but tastes great. And it is cheap, even more so should you choose to use frozen spinach (if so, use leaves instead of the chopped version).
Pantry items: Garlic (BC5), spaghetti (BC1), onion
Grocery costs: €15.68
Recipes total: €14.84