April 25, 2024

Another meal plan (adapting to what I have)

This is my third week of just eating what we already have in, except for milk.  I have still been buying some staples and some reduced meat with my food budget, but have only been spending small amounts of money, and not using new items.   I don’t do totally no spend weeks any more due to prices constantly rising.  If we see something that is of good value, we will buy it, if it is something that we regularly use and we know that we can afford it within our annual budget.  We don’t buy something just because it is cheap or a bargain any more.  Often things got wasted that way. We never fancied them.

I think that it is important to use up what you already have in the cupboards some months to ensure that your stock rotates.  That way you don’t have out of date tins at the back of your cupboard, or 3 year old meat at the bottom of the freezer.  When the freezer is full it is so easy to just get things from the top, especially the chest freezer. I keep a freezer inventory so that I am not buying items that I do not need, and it also makes it easier to meal plan.  I  organise food in different coloured Aldi big ‘bags for life’ in the chest freezer so that I can pull them out and easily look inside.   That way I don’t end up in head first with my legs in the air. A red bag is for meat, a blue one for baked goods, a green one for vegetables and a brown one for fruit etc.

It was my week for baking this week as I put my oven on once every couple of weeks.  However I was ill at the beginning of the week, which was why Mr S went to the waste food project as we had run out of bread.  If we had a decent Olio in our area he would have tried to get free bread from that, first, but there is rarely any locally. I therefore didn’t need to bake as we had cake left in the freezer.  If I need to bake something in between I just use the air fryer eg. the rhubarb pie.

These meals are in no particular order. We use what works around our plans for the day.  If we are out it will be  something quick to make, or something done in the slow cooked. (or something previously batch cooked that is being stored in the freezer).  I have noticed that certain items are beginning to run low.  Cheese is definitely running out (I have been using discount cheese bought after Christmas up to now). I only have one more grated pack left in the freezer and one cheddar with chives in wax.  I can make cheese spread and ricotta with milk which helps.

We are eating a lot of my salad leaves which will have to  reduce in my plan next week as they need time to grow back.  The last of the  tomatoes have gone (we had previously bought 3 packs for 25p each from the Company Shop that have lasted the last two weeks).  Salads therefore have little in them or have things like defrosted peas and sweetcorn, a bit of grated carrot or pea shoots and a few leaves.  My micro greens have ended as I need the window sill space for seedlings.  We have opened some of our pickles now to pad out our salads.  They were preserved for this hunger gap.  I was really pleased with the taste of the pickled red cabbage that we made with the 15p red cabbages sold at Christmas.  I am hoping that the radishes are ready for next week or else salad might be off the menu.

Eggs are something that I am being careful with as I want to save some for baking next week.  We buy a tray of 30 from a farm shop  which lasts us between 4 and 6 weeks, depending on what else we have to eat. This actually works out cheaper than getting them from a supermarket and they are of a better quality. There are a few biscuits left (Mr S can’t live without his biscuits), and there is no cake or ice cream left in the freezer after this week.  I will definitely  need to bake next week.

From the freezer

2 fillets of salmon (filleted from a half price whole salmon)

1/4 packet of prawns

6oz pork mince (minced from a half price joint)

Bacon (from a mis shapes pack)

4 chicken legs


Beetroot burgers (home made and frozen)

Home made ice cream



Wild garlic

Cleavers for drinks

From the garden


Carrots (these will run out this week)



From the waste food project (everything 20p each)

A loaf of bread

A fruit loaf

4 good quality beef burgers

bag of carrots

2 large leeks

From the cupboards and fridge

Everything else

Put back in the freezer, cupboards or freezer

Cabbage from Easter sliced, blanched and frozen in portions

2 Rhubarb pies, uncooked

2 portions of soup

Banana pancakes

Wild Garlic hummus

Wild Garlic pesto

Wild Garlic cream cheese

Food Prep this week

I did not do much meal prep this week due to being ill.  Most of it was done in the middle of the week,

Wild Garlic Hummus

Kefir wild garlic cream cheese

Wild garlic pesto

Slow cooker rice pudding.

Rhubarb sundaes

Rhubarb pies

Rhubarb and ginger compote

Banana pancakes as the fruit was going brown

Main Meals

Jambalaya made with prawns in

Sweet chilli salmon parcels and rice

Veggie enchiladas and pasta salad

Peri Peri chicken legs and vegetable rice

Shish kebabs, roast potatoes, salad

Beetroot Burgers, chips and home made coleslaw

Spinach and home made cream cheese pasta

Light meals

Cheese and tuna melts

Wild Garlic humus on toast

Vegetable soup x 2 with bread

Macaroni cheese

Wild garlic kefir cream cheese on toast

Chilli stretched beans with roast potatoes


Cheese and bacon wraps

Black forest over night oats

Poached egg and potato cakes

Porridge and jam

Drop scones or banana pancakes with yoghurt and fruit

Bacon sandwich

Sour dough crumpets with kefir cream cheese

Desserts and snacks



Crackers or toast with hummus or cream cheese


Rhubarb sundaes x 4

Rhubarb and ginger compote with ice cream

Pot rice (home made)

Rice pudding

Potato peeling crisps

Toasted fruit bread and home made jam

Looking back at the meal plan it seems a bit rice heavy, but that is what we have the most of as I bought plenty when there were rumours of it increasing in price, which it did.  I am trying to eat more healthily this year without increasing my budget, which is really hard.  I still have unhealthy food in my cupboards, like white rice, but I am trying to mix it up, interchanging it with healthy food each week.  The flour I am buying is of a better quality, and I have now used up all of my seed oils which I will not be replacing. I have some cold pressed rape seed oil left, half a jar of coconut oil and lots of olive oil I bought a while ago before it increased in price.  I would love to buy all my meat from a butcher, but have taken advantage of half price joints in the supermarket this year at Easter and Christmas.  We would have to eat vegetarian a lot more often if I didn’t compromise.

I would love to eat all healthy and organic food, but it is not possible on my low budget. I also know that a lot of food labelled organic in the supermarkets is not as organic as it used to be. However, by not shopping weekly in supermarkets, bulk buying, foraging, growing some of my own, buying seasonally, and cooking from scratch, I do feel like I have some control, and can eat about 70 to 80% less ultra processed food.  I forgive myself for the rest as I know that I am doing my best.

As I study more I am also find that doing little things like adding cayenne pepper to food (as I did with my shish kebabs) or cinnamon (as I did to my porridge), is good for my health (blood pressure), or having a bit of Celtic salt before a drink will help me stay more hydrated. Are your meal plans or the way you look at food changing?










Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!


  1. Sara April 25, 2024 at 10:48 am - Reply

    Very interesting blog, thank you. Cinnamon is also good for helping to regulate blood sugar levels.

    • ToniG April 29, 2024 at 2:01 pm - Reply

      Yes, I don’t think many people realise that spices are not just flavourings and that they have lots of medicinal purposes. Thanks for commenting

  2. Jennie Chapman April 25, 2024 at 10:53 am - Reply

    This is really interesting Toni. My freezer inventory still defeats me and I seem to have to review it every two weeks. I have a skinny (too small) freezer in the kitchen and a small chest freezer outside. I often receive my sons Sunday Roast (Chicken or beef) leftovers which makes a lovely mid week meal plus I make stock for vegetable soup lunches.
    Food is very simple in my house, Husband likes traditional meals, spaghetti Bol, cottage pie, sardine salad, burger and chips, cooked breakfast on a Sunday.
    Your ideas have made a huge difference to our pension/reduced post Covid budgets. Olio can be helpful if it’s morning pick up, the Company Shop good but I get rather tempted with the crisps and etc.
    Thank you Toni, I love your writing. Off to check both freezers before I food shop.

    • ToniG April 29, 2024 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      That is kind of you, thanks. I am glad that the ideas are helping. Yes I have to set myself a budget for treats when I go to the Company Shop and I try to only go once a month, or I would spend a fortune. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Angela Carmody April 25, 2024 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    Very interesting thank you. I have been making coleslaw a lot using white cabbage I got cheap, carrot, onion and thinly sliced apple and using mayonaise with a bit of mustard in and sometimes a bit of yoghourt for the base. I also like grated beetroot with some balsamic vinegar on it. I got a pack greatly reduced from Tesco and liked it but full price it costs £1. 49. Four beetroots only cost 59p in Lidl and made 2 days worth for lunch for 2. We have made our freezer drawers more easier to find things, Odd bits in one , meat, fish, bread type products in another, frozen cooked meat in another. We have a small freezer that has all home grown things in it and we have a fridge freezer that kept running water but an engineer came out twice as it was under guarantee and he couldn’t repair it but said it was safe to use. He sent us a replacement and we intended to get rid of the old one but never emptied it. If we don’t open the fridge door very much it is fine so the freezer still has a lot of food in it and works fine.

    • ToniG April 29, 2024 at 1:55 pm - Reply

      I wished I liked mayonnaise so that I could eat coleslaw. Mr S likes it. The cheapest I have seen beetroot is 39p in Home Bargains, but they are only small. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Talis April 25, 2024 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Another great post Toni. I put cinnamon in my porridge every morning,I make mine with water, hubby makes his with milk. He puts sugar in his! I sometimes sprinkle some ginger in for a change and add chopped up apple. I’m going to sort my freezer out now, it’s a great idea having meat in a bag, fish in another etc,saves sorting through the lot every time! I have a chest freezer in my spare room and a 3 drawer freezer in my kitchen.

    • ToniG April 29, 2024 at 1:53 pm - Reply

      I am the same. I have a small chest freezer upstairs and a small 3 drawer one in the kitchen. I like cinnamon or mixed spice in my porridge as well. I will try it with ginger and apple. Thanks for the suggestion.

Leave A Comment