Sunday, 5 January 2014

Eating Well on a Budget

I always try and do a special dinner before DH starts work again after a holiday; this year that's also coincided with DS2 going back to his student digs tomorrow. Today's dinner was the Turkey Loaf from Sarina's blog ( I mucked about with it a bit so this is my version.

To make 2 Turkey Loaves each serving 6 (Cost to me approx £1.50p each loaf or 25p per portion)

2 x 500g packs Turkey Mince (I got mine yellow-stickered from Asda for £1.02 per pack)
1 pack vegetarian sausage mix (AF 4 packs for £1) or 500g sausagemeat.
2 small or 1 large pack of sage and onion stuffing mix (AF - 25p)
2 eggs (Aldi free range 6 medium for 95p)
2 chicken stock cubes (AF approx 10p)
black pepper
heaped teaspoon wholegrain mustard (5p)

If using veg sausage mix make it up to the instructions, likewise make up the stuffing mix adding the stock cubes to the boiling water. When they are ready simply add both to the other ingredients and mix everything together. Divide between 2 x 2lb greased loaf tins.

 (Loaves before baking)

Bake at Gas 5 (or equivalent electric) for 1 hr 15 minutes. I used veg sausage mix because I have packets and packets of the stuff bought for 4 for £1 from Approved Foods. The stuffing Mix I used was red onion and sage (also from AF).

After baking

I found that one of these loaves served 6 people with roast potatoes, sprouts and mixed vegetables.  The loaf was costed at 25p per portion, the vegetable, roasties and gravy were around another 25p each. Actually, I can hardly believe that I made this extremely delicious and filling meal for only 50p per portion. Everyone declared it yummy and I now have an extra loaf in the freezer ready for another day.

Thank you for the recipe, Sarina, it was delicious.

In addition to the roast dinner, I also made chocolate chip muffins and flapjack. No pics of the flapjack but here are the muffins. The recipe is very rich using soft brown sugar and 3 oz cocoa. I used choc drops and chopped white cooking choc I'd bought from AF in place of the chocolate chips in the recipe. Its difficult to cost them as some of the ingredients were bought a while ago but no more than 20p per muffin.

The main meal and the desserts were both made entirely from ingredients I already had in so I didn't have to buy anything extra.

I was really good and avoided the desserts and only served myself what I could eat of the main meal. My next weigh in is on Tuesday and I have been amazingly disciplined this week so I'm hoping for that 2lb off that will take me to my 4st loss. Missing out on a cake or two will be worth it if I get a good result on the scales.

I have spent a little money today. Again, as its DH's last day before he's back to work, we went for coffee and were extremely pleased to find that Weatherspoons have a 'sale' at the moment. Our usual 'bottomless' (refillable) filter coffees were reduced from £1.15 each to 79p.  As we both had 2 large cups it worked out at approximately 40p per cup. 

I also checked in at Asda on the way home as last week we got some really great deals early Sunday afternoon. We were a bit late this week and there wasn't much left, but even so I got 4 packs x 4 Activia yogurts (2 x Forest Fruits and 2 x Rhubarb) for 50p a pack (or 12.5p per yogurt) and another large white loaf to keep in the freezer for toast at 10p. The yogurts are today's date, but I've found that yogs last for up to week past their date in the fridge and as DH and I both generally eat 2 yogs a day they will soon go. So, that was £2.10 spent for 16 yogurts and a loaf.

Tomorrow I'm going to make a start on stitching together that messenger bag, and I'm also nipping into town to get DH another pair of those £4 jeans as he was so pleased with the pair I bought yesterday. If I can still get them I'll have bought him 2 pairs of jeans and a pair of work trousers all for £13.50p. He's fine for shirts and jumpers and he had new slippers and socks for his birthday. We could both do with a good pair of new shoes but intend to save money especially for them unless a really good deal comes up and then we'll take the money from savings.

This just goes to show that it is possible to make a little money go a long way; no need to live on a convenience food diet. It just takes a little knowledge, planning, time and effort to make tasty, nutritious meals. And shopping around - and not being too fussy - can still produce bargains in other areas such as clothes buying.


  1. It pays to have a well stocked food store and to keep an eye out for a good bargain. I will only be buying perishables for ages, thanks to AF and RTC bargains. I do like a tasty meatloaf, I don't really follow a recipe but I like to smother mine with a tangy sauce before cooking, I have 5 in the freezer ready to go in the ding oven. The last batch that I made was 1/3rd minced pork, 1/3rd green lentils and 1/3rd veg hash, with some breadcrumbs, herbs and spices and 2 eggs to bind it all it was very tasty and cheap.

    1. I agree about the food stocks but I think mine have got a little out of hand thanks to AF and I really need to use a lot of stuff up before it is beyond edible. I tend to over-buy when they have a really good deal forgetting that a lot of the time I'm only cooking for 3 or 4 now as DD3 and her boyfriend often cook for themselves. Also I have a lot of baking ingredients that I now use only occasionaly as I don't make nearly as many cakes as I used to since starting my diet. This next few months will really be about using up what I have in stock and avoiding buying more unless absolutely necessary. When I feel I've made a sizeable dent in my stockpile and used up all the oldest stuff then I might look at replacing some of it. Thanks for the tip about adding lentils and vegetable hash to your meat loaves to stretch them out; it would also lower the calories. I often add extra breadcrumbs or value oats and only used the veg sausage mix yesterday because I have so many of them I thought it would add flavour and use up a packet.

  2. Oh, well done with that meal costing! Getting 2 meat loaves out of it was just amazing. That`s what I call real frugal fare. Nice one, Helen!! I`m going to experiment with more flavours for the meat loaves in the future as DB quite liked this kind of meal. And, I`m looking to make a purely turkey meat loaf for next Christmas, too.
    Getting some jeans for £4 is a bargain. Can`t even remember the last time I bought trousers new. All my clothes and DB`s come from charity shops. We bought some shirts for £1.99 each the other week as DB`s waistline had once again expanded over Christmas and he no longer fitted into what he had. And, as we were planning the evening at a restaurant for New Years Eve we had no choice then look for some shirts. It`s nice to know that there are still some bargains to be had if we can spare the time to hunt for them.

    1. I'll be interested to see any experiments you do with the turkey loaf; its nice to ring the changes sometimes and try new things.I too thought it would make a nice Xmas meal. I called mine an Xmas loaf anyway since it had turkey, sausage meat and stuffing in it. We get all DH's shirts from charity shops, but the prices have gone up there too. We used to pick some up from the Age UK (formerly Age Concern) shop in Dover for £1.99 but they're now £3, still a bargain I suppose but more money nevertheless. Our Barnados shop is the best for clothes bargains since nearly everything is £1.99. I find some charity shops charge outrageous prices and the Birtish Heart foundation shop is the worst. Jackets for £12.99, jeans £5.99 and shoes also around £10. I resent paying that even though its for charity since everything has been donated to them.

  3. I agree with Pam about recipes etc, but may I suggest 'enrobing' your meat loaf with good quality smoked bacon.... it looks and tastes wonderful.

    1. Unfortunately, that would have pushed the price right up and the idea is to spend as little as possible, but you've given me a good idea. Although it tasted great as it was, in future I might add a little minced bacon from the savers packs of bacon bits I get from Morrisons at 89p for 500g.

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