Category Archives: Budget recipes

A selection of penny pinching healthy meals to get you through until pay day!

Meal planner – A whole month of dinner ideas and recipes

I have always been a firm believer in meal planners, they save money and also allow me to plan healthy meals. I have always planned my meals over a week, but someone suggested doing it for a whole month. It took me about an hour to plan everything for the month, but it was well worth it. On John’s pay day I bought all of our meat for the month and froze it, which allowed me to take advantage of the meat offers that so many shops have such as 3 for £10 or half price items such as a whole Salmon for £8 from Ocado.

Anyway, I thought I would share our meal planner with you. We don’t eat meat everyday, but on the days we don’t we will always get our protein from elsewhere such as eggs, cheese or pulses so this is worth bearing in mind. Also, a lot of these recipes include wine, but I would always just top up with stock. Hope you find it useful 🙂

Week 1

Monday: Lentil Shepherds Pie (Looks a bit weird, but honestly it’s delicious!)
Tuesday: Beef Stew x2 (will freeze one for later date)
Wednesday: Bean enchiladas
Thursday: Hot dogs – I love the Helen Browning Organic Hot Dogs from Ocado.
Friday: Tuna pasta bake
Saturday: Homemade pizza – I use the pizza dough setting on my bread maker but here’s a good recipe.
Sunday: Roast chicken dinner (buy a larger chicken than you need so you have some leftovers)

Week 2

Monday: (leftover) chicken and ham pie
Tuesday: Salmon & pasta
Wednesday: Butternut squash curry
Thursday: Eggs and beans on toast!
Friday: Spaghetti bolognese x2 (freeze one for later date)
Saturday: Fish and chip takeaway
Sunday: Beef stew

Week 3

Monday: Pasta & pesto
Tuesday: Sausage casserole
Wednesday: Tomato & herb chicken pasta bake
Thursday: homemade pizzas
Friday: Spaghetti bolognese
Saturday: Cheesy bean burgers and salad
Sunday: Vegetable lasagne

Week 4

Monday: Meatballs
Tuesday: Mediterranean vegetables with tomato sauce & pasta
Wednesday: Chicken stir fry
Thursday: Toad in the hole
Friday: Fish fingers and chips
Saturday: Chilli
Sunday: Roast chicken dinner

Happy eating!


No sugar, no salt, just yummy tea bread!


I LOVE this recipe, it is an adapted recipe from the one in my bread machine book. It is a lovely alternative to sandwiches and because there is no sugar or salt in it, this cake is also perfect for your toddler to enjoy.


450g Mixed dried fruit of your choice
100g Chopped cherries (I use dried or frozen)
300ml Strong tea (caffeine free if preferred)
75g Butter
3 Medium sized eggs, beaten
250g plain flour
1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda


Heat oven to 200 degrees.

Place all fruit, strong tea and butter together in a microwave safe mixing bowl. Heat the mixture for 3 minutes in the microwave until the butter has melted. You can also do this over the hob.

Allow to cool slightly, add the eggs, flour and the bicarbonate of soda. Mix well.

If using a metal loaf tin (as opposed to a silicone one), line with baking paper.

Pour in the mixture.

Place in the oven for approx. 30 minutes. Use the skewer test to check that it is cooked in the middle.

Allow to cool. Spread with butter, serve with a cuppa and enjoy!

Porridge fingers – the perfect baby-led weaning recipe

I used to spoon feed my boys porridge in the morning until they were about 8 months old. They then decided that they had had enough of me helping them and they wanted to do it themselves….so what do you give a baby for breakfast when they aren’t old enough to use a spoon themselves and won’t be spoon fed?

Porridge fingers!

Here’s the recipe:

1) Place equal amounts of porridge spoonfuls to milk spoonfuls (you can use cows milk, formula or breast milk) into a flat microwave dish i.e. 7 milk spoonfuls : 7 porridge oat spoonfuls.

2) Add fruit of your choice. I always add a banana as it seems to bind the mixture better and then scatter a few raisins/cranberries/apricots (anything will work).

3) Pat down the mixture so that it is nice and flat.

4) Put it in the microwave for 2 mins. This time could vary slightly depending on the wattage of your microwave, how big your dish is and what ingredients you have used.
5) Once microwaved let the mixture stand for a couple of minutes as it tends to firm up.
6) If the consistancy is similar to that of a flapjack after you have let the mixture stand then you are ready to serve, if it is still a bit squishy just pop it back in the microwave for another minute or so.
This recipe can be a little bit trial and error, but trust me it will be a hit! My boys still eat this now and they are nearly 17 months!
It doesn’t just have to be for breakfast, why not use it as a healthy snack option too?