As many of my regular readers will know, I am keen on budgeting and keeping a close eye on what I spend, whilst ensuring I still mange to spend on things I like without feeling guilty.
One of the hardest areas to budget for a lot of families is normally food and this is something we have struggled with for a long time. However much we try to plan meals and focus our weekly shop around that, we still find ourselves nipping down to the local shop to top up on certain things that we either forgot or for whole meals when we decide we don’t quite fancy what was on the meal planner. I guess it’s just human; I mean how can you decide on a Monday what you are going to want to eat on a Friday? It’s just not possible.
I have considered for a while about writing a post with a fully costed weekly meal planner on it, but I actually think there is more value in writing about individual meals that you can make for the family and pick and choose how you fit them into your own plan.
The “Feed the Family” series is going to be a regular section where I fully cost a meal we have recently had and try and give some guidance on how to put it together. I am no chef, but as a family we are very keen on preparing as much of our own food as we can and hopefully this will show how this can be both delicious and cost effective without being boring.
As we shop at Tescos (for various reasons that you can read about on some of my other posts), so all food costs will be based on the online Tesco website on the week of posting. Where only part of an item is used I will reduce the cost accordingly as I hope to put enough ideas up here that you will always use up these items before they perish. This will also show you exactly how much each meal will cost you.
Today’s meal is:
I thought this was a great start as it’s something we have quite regularly. We were kindly given a bread maker as a wedding present 5 years ago and making pizza dough is it’s primary purpose. Don’t be put off however, this is just as easy to make without a bread maker, it just requires 20 mins of a bit of manual labour. The other great thing about this is that, in true rustic Italian style, you can just throw whatever you want on there and it’s a great way to use up those bits of vegetables and those lonely slices of ham that don’t seem enough to justify a sandwich.
225g strong white bread flour – 23p
140ml tap water – free
1 tbsp Olive oil, 1/2 tsp Salt, 1/2 Sugar – 10p
Approx 1/4 pack of dried yeast – 4p
Passata – 15p
1 clove of garlic, crushed – 5p
Dried basil ( or fresh if you have a plant)
Cheese 75g – 40p
3 mushrooms – 10p
1/2 pepper – 30p
1/2 onion – 8p
2 slices of ham – 30p
1/2 tbsp of sweet corn – 10p
A few olives – 7p
A bit more basil
TOTAL COST – £1.92
Make the dough in a bread maker or mix all the ingredients in a bowl and work with your hands until it holds together. Leave in a warm place for the yeast to do its business for 45 mins / 1 hour. Cut up your veg while you wait and put it to one side (or back in the fridge if you have curious cats like we do). The dough should now be stretchy and it’s time to turn it into a pizza base. This takes a bit of practise and if you can avoid it, don’t use a rolling pin. One method that works quite well is to hold the dough like a solid steering wheel and pass it trough your hands like you’re going round a roundabout. The weight of the dough should pull it out and as long as you keep it moving you should be able to keep it even. The aim is to end up with a pizza base around 10 to 12 inches across. Put a sprinkling of flour onto a baking tray or pizza tray, put your base on and you’re ready to get creative…
Mix your crushed garlic into the passata and add some dried basil. Spoon it onto your base and spread around evenly. Add about 1/4 of your cheese first and spread it evenly, take your prepared veg and meat and throw it on however you want. Put the rest of you’re cheese on top and sprinkle with a bit of basil.
Throw it in a preheated oven at about 180 and 20 mins later. The base should come off the tray easily when it is cooked and the topping shouldn’t move when you tip the pizza to one side. Other than that, just use your common sense, if it’s not quite ready put it back in for 5 mins.
If you need an additional side then beans, chips or a salad would add a little cost. But we find that one pizza is enough for 2 adults and one toddler and as long as you put enough veg in there we are happy that it is nutritional enough for us all.