I wish that I could be the kind of mum that planned her weekly meals, got organised with supplies that were in season and on special and stock piled the freezer with homemade treats that I could rely on.
But I’m just not.
More often than not, I decide what we are going to have for dinner depending on whether I am out and about, or depending on the weather and what I feel like eating and of course what our day looks like with the girls and school and after school activities. This is not always the best budget-friendly way to shop (each trip to the shop ends up costing waaaay more than it should) nor is it good for a frazzled mind after a day of work and parenting but it’s my usual (poor) method.
So I was excited to have Woolies set me a challenge to spend just $100 and, using products from their new food range, see what I could come up. The new products range from pantry and dairy items across to some fresh meals that are ready to go when I still want to cook something but am pressed for time and can’t start from scratch.
So for $100 here’s what I bought and here are the 5(!) meals that I came up that we would eat during the week in our place. I’ve got 3 kids (10, 7 and 2) and my husband and me. So the meals feed 5 but that 5th serve size can be pretty small. I’m also relying on a few pantry staples that I would have on hand.
1. Chicken & noodle stir-fry $12
This meal is for limited time. I would marinate the chicken during the day in a mixture of sauces from the pantry with garlic & ginger and coriander, cook up with the veggies and add the noodles and every one is happy. Mostly me who got it from fridge to plate in about 15 mins
2. Beef brisket & slaw $22.60
To alleviate any guilt in using products that are pre-cooked and just need heating or pre-cut I always throw in some fresh herbs from the garden to spark it up a bit. I use these coleslaw mixes ALL the time but throw in half a bunch of shallots, some herbs such as mint, or a julienned apple for some sweetness and crunch. No one would know you cheated. If you don’t want to use the dressing you can always just use some mayo, lemon juice and garlic for some extra kick and flavour.
3. Beef lasagne $20
You can’t beat this classic and if you have time in the day it can be made, all the cleaning done and it’s a throw in the oven after sport practice and there’s usually leftovers for the next day.
4. Bacon & greens pasta bake $22.30
My girls call this “green pig pasta” and it gets smashed and enjoyed by the whole family. Throw in some ricotta in place of a white sauce, some mozzarella on top and it can be baked and browned for extra cheesy goodness in winter!
5. Greek roast chicken & cous cous $21.55
Again using a pre-marinaded dish I throw in some rocket and herbs and fetta into the cous cous salad to make it look like I have gone to effort! You could add in as many extra herbs from the fridge or garden or nuts you may have in the pantry as you like for extra flavour or crunch.
So for just under $100 (I came in at $98.45) I have managed to save myself lots of money AND time and have 5 meals I could cook that I know would be eaten for the week ahead. Sounds good to me!
Check it out! I cooked the pasta bake on live on Facebook with Foodiful content director Alix. See the video here.