It's that time of the January month. Payday is still over a week away and money is tight (just me?).

I spent far too much cash over the Christmas break and now I'm paying the price.

If I don't set myself a budget, my average weekly food shop comes to £50 (without a bottle of wine) for two people (shameful I know) and I simply can't afford to pay that this month.

I am a huge believer in bulk buying, batch cooking and freezing. I didn't do enough of this last year, and so this year I'm trying to do it more and more.

I am also very busy (lazy) and hate supermarket shopping. I am a recent convert to doing my food shop online.

My husband challenged me to spend just £20 on our food shop (and have some people over for dinner to make it harder) - and I did just that - he was impressed!

Here it is. My version of the £20 food shop. I'm sorry I went 72p over budget - for meat-eaters, but if you do the vegetarian version, you will get a bit of change out of £20 - as the shop costs £19.93.

The below is tried and tested by myself and I have tried to only pick budget products that have a high review rate. I have included home-made pastry and bread recipes. This is a little bit more work - but it's fun (I think so?) The majority of the work can be done at the weekend.

I love food! So this isn't all doom and gloom, such as Spam on toast for lunch - I have tried to make it tasty too.

  • Now, I am fully aware that buying the below shop online adds minimum of £1 for the delivery charge (depending on the time you order ) - but in my humble opinion, it's worth it.
  • I suspect this shopping list will be £3 cheaper, if bought in Aldi too - but i'm using Asda online here.
  • The best thing about shopping online is you can set a budget and try and stick to it. If I go to the supermarket for a loaf of bread, I still come out with bags of stuff!
  • With online shopping, if you add something and you've gone over budget - simply take it out!
  • Don't be a food snob either...I personally can't see the difference between a branded product and the supermarket own brand (apart from when buying bacon)!

I have made a list of the required ingredients and also priced it up according to Asda online.

This is designed to feed 4 adults, or you can make it last for two weeks for two people - or use it to feed a family. My only advice would be to add a few more veggies if cooking for kids - so add an extra couple of pounds, so you can buy some veggies.

What's on the shopping list?

Large chicken

Mince beef

Pasta

Long grain rice

Onions

Plain flour

15 eggs

butter/spread

Semi skimmed milk (or your choice)

Porridge oats

3 tins of chopped tomatoes

Garlic bulb

Curry cooking sauce or paste of choice

Carrots

Cheese

Pepperoni

Yeast

Potatoes

Bread

Chilli con carne powder mix

Asda: £20.17

From the store cupboard

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil/olive oil - whatever you have as long as it's oil!

sugar/syrup for the pancakes

Detailed cost when shopping at Asda online

***Prices were correct 10/11 January 2018***

1.6kg ASDA Butcher's Selection Large Whole Chicken: £3.20

ASDA Butcher's Selection Beef Mince (Typically Less Than 20% Fat) 750g: £3.10

ASDA Smart Price Pasta Shapes 500g: £0.32

ASDA Smart Price Long Grain Rice 1kg: £0.45

1kg ASDA Farm Stores Brown Onions: £0.59

500g ASDA Plain Flour 500g: £0.40

15pk Mixed Weight Free Range Eggs: £2.00

500g Flora Original Spread: £1.00

4pt ASDA Semi Skimmed Milk: £1.09

1kg ASDA Smart Price Porridge Oats: £0.75

ASDA Smart Price Chopped Tomatoes in Tomato Juice x3 @£0.29p = £0.87

ASDA Grower's Selection Loose Garlic 1: £0.25

ASDA Tikka Masala Cooking Sauce 500g: £0.69

ASDA Grower's Selection Carrots 500g: £0.30

ASDA Smart Price Mild White Cheddar Cheese 385g: £1.89

ASDA Danish Pepperoni 150g: £1.00

Allinson Easy Bake Yeast 2 Sachets 14g: £0.28

2.5kg ASDA Farm Stores White Potatoes: £1.15

ASDA White & Wheat Medium Sliced, 800g x 2: £0.55 x 2 = 1.10

ASDA Chilli Con Carne Mix: £0.29

Total: £20.72

Vegetarian?

    Vegetarian substitute for large chicken @ £3.20

    Quorn Meat Free Southern Fried Bites 300g: £1.90 (20 people rated these 5/5 on Asda) Substitute this for the chicken in the "chicken dinner recipe".

    For the chicken pie use extra vegetables ASDA Scratch Cook Casserole Root Veg Mix: £1.00 and use ASDA Vegetable Stock Cubes £0.43

    Also use the stock cubes substituted here for the soup base.

      Vegetarian substitute for mince beef @ £3.10

      ASDA Meat Free Mince 454g x 2; £1.50 x2 = £3 (current offer is 2 for £2.50)

      Vegetarian substitute Pepperoni slices @ £1

      300gASDA Farm Stores White Mushrooms £0.68

      Total vegetarian shopping list price: £19.93

      What recipes will this make?

      Breakfast

      Poached egg on toast
      Poached egg on toast

      • Eggs and toast
      • Toast
      • Porridge
      • Pancakes

      Lunch

      Large cheese sandwich

      • Cheese sandwich
      • Pasta bake
      • Jacket potato with cheese
      • Carrot soup

      Dinner

      Chicken korma in iron pan - stock image

      • Roast chicken
      • Chicken Pie
      • Egg fried rice
      • Pizza
      • Pasta Bolognese
      • Chilli
      • Vegetable curry

      What will be my plan?

      The best thing to do is to get all your ingredients in front of you and split them up according to the below. The carrots, onions, potatoes and cheese are used in more than one meal plan, so bear this in mind. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how many onions and potatoes you get in these packs. Also, if you go to a veg market, you can probably get a fab veg box which will last longer - or Morrisons do a wonky veg box, which is fantastic value!

      Now, several of these recipes have cheese in - so you will have to be quite frugal! This is the only item you need to be wary of making sure it lasts. You have 385g - which is a lot of cheese! So portion the cheese out, if this helps you. I would grate the entire amount.

      There is cheese in the three cheese sandwiches. Pasta bake, pizzas.

      For the cheese sandwiches I grated all of the cheese, as I think it lasted longer that way. For the cheese sandwiches, I mixed in onion with the cheese.

      You might also want to split the potatoes into portions, so one potato each for lunch, and then the rest will go in the potato curry and the Roast chicken. When i did this, I had a little bit of leftover chicken which I saved for the curry, but that might be because I fed three people with my roast chicken - not four.

      Sunday

      Breakfast

      Scrambled eggs on toast (7 eggs for 4 people)

      Tip* add in a bit of milk, to make the mixture go further

      Lunch

      Roast chicken (or vegetarian option) with roast potatoes, boiled carrots (see recipe/method below) (if you have gravy granules in the stock cupboard use this - but this is a budget roast after all)

      Dinner

      Cheese sandwich (after a roast for lunch and rich scrambled eggs, this should be enough)

      Monday

      Breakfast

      Porridge (see recipe/method below)

      Lunch

      Cheese and onion sandwich

      Dinner

      Chicken pie (or vegetarian option) with carrots

      Tuesday

      Breakfast

      Porridge (see recipe/method below)

      Lunch

      Carrot soup with bread (see recipe/method below)

      Dinner

      Egg fried rice (see recipe/method below)

      Wednesday

      Breakfast

      Egg on toast (1pp)

      Lunch

      Cheese and onion sandwich

      Dinner

      Pasta Bolognese (or vegetarian option) (see recipe/method below)

      Thursday

      Breakfast

      Porridge (see recipe/method below)

      Lunch

      Pasta bake (or vegetarian option) (see recipe/method below)

      Dinner

      Chilli and rice (or vegetarian option) (see recipe/method below)

      Friday

      Breakfast

      Porridge (see recipe/method below)

      Lunch

      Leftover pasta bake (see recipe/method below)

      Dinner

      Curry and rice (see recipe/method below)

      Saturday

      Breakfast

      Pancakes (see recipe/method below)

      Lunch

      Jacket potato with butter (Anything in the cupboard you can add, use (it's not cheating))

      Dinner

      Homemade pepperoni pizzas (or vegetarian option with mushrooms) (see recipe/method below)

      How do I make the recipes?

      Porridge

      There is enough porridge in the shopping list to feed four people porridge for five days. This is a budget shopping list. If you want to sweeten this, look in your store cupboard, you can use more milk - there should be enough, as the one I bought was 4 pints.

      You will need

      50g porridge oats per person

      350ml water (dash of milk per person or add more milk if you like)

      Add sugar or something of your choice to sweeten if you like

      Method

      Put the oats in a saucepan, pour in the milk or water and sprinkle in a pinch of salt.

      Bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring from time to time and watching carefully that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

      tip: You can also try this in a microwave, add all ingredients and microwave on high for five minutes

      Pancakes

      What will I need

      Makes 12 pancakes

      • 100g plain flour
      • 2 eggs
      • 300ml milk
      • 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil, plus a little extra for frying

      Method

        Put the flour, eggs, milk, 1 tbsp oil and a pinch of salt into a bowl or large jug, then whisk to a smooth batter. Set aside for 30 mins to rest if you have time, or start cooking straight away.

        Set a medium frying pan or crêpe pan over a medium heat and carefully wipe it with some oiled kitchen paper. When hot, cook your pancakes for 1 min on each side until golden, keeping them warm in a low oven as you go.

        Roast chicken dinner

        Roast chicken
        Roast chicken

        I always take my chicken out of the fridge for 10-15 minutes before I cook it. At this time, preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

        There are two ways I prepare my chicken...

        Sometimes I will spatchcock it. This means taking a knife and carefully cutting the chicken in half. This cooks the chicken in half the time.

        Then press down on the join to flatten it out. This will cook in around 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the juices run clear and it's nice and brown.

        Alternatively...

        Sprinkle some salt over the chicken and a bit of veg oil (whatever you have) and pop it in the oven. This way will take around 1 hour 30 minutes - depending on the weight of the chicken.

        Follow the guidelines on the pack of the chicken in terms of timing.

        However, my best top tip for cooking chicken is to turn it over half way through cooking! This really does make it more juicy. Alternatively, baste with a spoon every 20 minutes or so.

        Roast potatoes

        I think 2/3 medium roast potatoes per person is enough (so one larger potato cut up).

        So you will need 3/4 medium/large potatoes to do this and cut each potato into quarters (just depends on the side)

        I like to boil the potatoes until they are almost cooked. Drain and leave on the side and cool.

        The chicken will have been in the oven for about 20 minutes.

        Add a baking tray, filled with a thin layer of vegetable oil, in the oven for ten minutes. Be VERY careful with any hot oil!

        After 10 minutes give your pre-boiled potatoes a gentle shake and add your roast potatoes to the hot oil and make sure they are all coated in the hot oil. They will take approximately 45 minutes to go crispy!

        Vegetables

        Trim and peel and then cut up your carrots however you like (2 carrots is plenty) and either boil or steam until they are soft. SAVE YOUR PEEL

        Video Loading

        Chicken pie recipe

        Chicken Pie
        Chicken Pie

        What will I need?

        • Leftover chicken - if you don't feel you have enough chicken, add an extra diced up carrot and one potato diced.
        • 1 carrot
        • 1 onion
        • For the stock, any vegetable peelings and carcass of stripped roast chicken and onion
        • One portion of puff pastry
        • large tablespoon of butter
        • 2 teaspoons of plain flour
        • 400ml stock (make 600ml of stock as you will need it for soup)

        To make the puff pastry

        All good cooks, look away now. I have tried making this with a margarine spread and it's fine! Trust me!

        What will I need?

        • 250g strong plain flour
        • 1 tsp fine sea salt
        • 250g spread/butter, at room temperature, but not soft
        • about 150ml cold water

        Make the pastry first

        Method

        1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Roughly break the butter in small chunks, add them to the bowl and rub them in loosely. You need to see bits of butter.
        2. Make a well in the bowl and pour in about two-thirds of the cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough adding extra water if needed. Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 20 mins in the fridge.
        3. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width, about 20 x 50cm. Keep edges straight and even. Don’t overwork the butter streaks; you should have a marbled effect.
        4. Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length. Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for at least 20 mins before rolling to use.

        I purposely buy a large or extra large chicken, so that I can use leftover chicken for this pie.

        I think one thing we neglect is the brown meat and meat underneath the chicken, that works really well in a pie. There is always chicken leftover.

        Strip your chicken, I like to turn the chicken over and use the meet underneath too. I then chop this finely (You can do bigger chunks if you like).

        Chicken stock

        Video Loading

        Now you will be left with a carcass. Add this and all the bits and piece into a large pan an cover with boiling water, add the carrot peel and one/two onions - leave the skin on (add what you have after dividing the ingredients up). If you have anything in the store cupboard herb-wise or Worcestershire sauce add that in too, though not neccessary. This is a budget stock, there is so much flavour in the carcass of a chicken,just adding water will create flavour!

        Bring it up to the boil and then let it simmer (low heat) bubbling away for an hour or two if you have longer. Then drain this through a sieve and this will make the best sauce for your chicken pie and also a base for the soup recipe below, so save some of this - you can always add more water to make it go further!

        Method for the pie filling

        Dice up a carrot finely and fry with one diced onion in a teaspoon of vegetable or olive oil and one clove of garlic. When translucent (softened) add in the diced in the chicken. Now add in a good knob of butter (about a tablespoon).

        When the butter has dissolved into the mixture add two teaspoons of flour and stir it in to the mixture.

        Now add in the stock, a bit at a time until it thickens.

        Once the mixture has thickened, put it to one side to cool down.

        Get your pastry out of the fridge and roll out. If you have a rolling pin great - but if you don't, you can use the tin of tomatoes - it will not be as easy to do, but it works just as well - I have tried and tested this method!

        Now grease a tin that you want the pie to go into.

        There are two ways of doing this. You can have a pie bottom or just have a pie top. I like to roll out the pastry very thin and have a pie bottom and a pie top!

        So roll out your pastry to the sides and then add in your cooled chicken mixture and roll out the pastry to cover the top. Seal the pie up ready for cooking in the oven. Before you cook it - use a pastry brush or your fingers and brush with milk.

        Cook in the oven for approximately 45 minutes until golden. Serve with carrots or see how many potatoes you have left, maybe you can have a bit of mash!

        Egg fried rice

        What will I need?

        2 eggs

        200g/7oz rice, cooked (there is enough rice in the shopping list, so use more if you're feeling hungry!)

        one onion

        Method

        Cook the rice according to the pack instructions.

        Fry off the onion in some vegetable oil in a pan - until it's softened but not browned.

        Add the eggs and whisk until they are beginning to scramble and cook

        Add the cooked rice and stir well to coat in the eggs. Stir in salt and pepper and serve!

        Tip* if you have any leftovers in the fridge add them in too!

        Carrot soup

        Stock image of carrot soup
        Stock image of carrot soup

        What will I need

        • 300g carrot chopped
        • 2 or 3 onions (see how many you have left)
        • 1 potato chopped
        • Leftover chicken stock, made the rest up with water to a litre (or add stock cube to water for vegetarian version)
        • Any herbs or spices you want to add

        Method

        Cut up your vegetables. If you don't have a machine to whizz up the mixture. Chop your carrots small.

        Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, then fry for 5 mins until softened. Stir in the potato, then cook for 1 min. Add the carrots and stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and cook for 20 minutes until the carrots are tender.

        At this point use a blender/hand blender to whizz the mixture together. If you don't have a blender that's ok! Serve with bread and butter.

        Pasta bolognese

        This is a large batch recipe. Don't forget only half of this will be used for the pasta bolognese. The other half is to make the chilli and pasta bake.

        What will I need

        • 2 small onions
        • 2 cloves of garlic
        • Mincemeat
        • 2 tins of tomatoes
        • water
        • 50g of pasta per person (or half the pack above)

        Method

        Fry off 2 onions and 2 cloves of garlic for two minutes, then fry off the mincemeat. Once browned of, add in two tins of tomatoes. Now if I had some leftover wine knocking around I would definitely add this in here - but this is a budget recipe afterall.....

        Fill one of the tomatoe tins with water (swill between the two tins) and pour into the bolognese.

        Now the trick with a good bolognese sauce...the longer you cook it the better it will be! This is so true. Therefore I cook it for minimum of two hours on a slow heat and then add a bit of water if it looks dry. Trust me will taste so much nicer.

        Serve with cooked pasta (follow packet instructions) and a little grating of cheese with half of the sauce! Save the rest....for the below

        Pasta bake

        This pasta bake is made with the intention of having it for lunch, so you will have smaller portion for lunch and so this should last over two days.

        What will I need

        Pasta (half the pack above is plenty for 4 people for lunch)

        Cheese

        Once cup of bolognese sauce from the batch recipe above

        Teaspoon of flour and a bit of water mixed into a paste

        Water

        Method

        Cook the pasta according to package instructions.

        Heat up the bolognese sauce and add a cup of water and the paste.

        Once thickened mix the sauce in with the pasta. Italians believe that you should only uses a little bolognese with your pasta and this is certainly what we're doing here. A little bit goes a long way - and remember this is for lunch.

        Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and serve.

        Chilli

        What will I need

        Leftover bolognese sauce - see above (minus one cup for the pasta bake)

        Sachet of ASDA Chilli Con Carne Mix (25 people rated this product 4.5 average)

        Method

        Reheat the leftover bolognese.

        Blend the contents of the sachet with 150ml cold water and pour into the saucepan, mixing well with the bolognese mixture.

        Simmer mixture for 30 minutes and then serve with cooked rice.

        tip *Now at this point you can add kidney beans - but here we're on a budget!

        Potato curry

        Curry sauce

        Potatoes

        Chop up the leftover potatoes (you should have two left)potatoes and fry in a teaspoon of oil. Add curry sauce and cook until the potatoes are fully cooked. Cook the rice to serve with.

        tip* raid your cupboards/freezer/fridge. I used this sauce, which was really nice - You can use any veg or leftovers in this, we're on a budget here!

        Homemade pizza

        Makes 2 pizzas, serves 4

        Now. Bear with me. This is a budget pizza recipe - not a Jamie oliver recipe!

        I LOVE this recipe. On a night when I had nothing in the fridge and the cupboards were bear...I made these and even though I say so myself - they were fantastic!

        You will also have a sachet of yeast leftover which you can use to make some flatbreads or bread.

        What will I need
        • 300g plain flour

        • 1 tsp yeast from a sachet
        • 1 tsp salt
        • 1 tbsp veg oil, plus extra for drizzling
        • 1 tin of tomatoes
        • 2 cloves of garlic
        • Cheese to taste
        • Pepperoni slices

        Method

        Sauce

        Fry off 2 finely chopped up pieces of garlic in a medium-heat for approximately one minute (don't burn).

        Add one tin of tomatoes and turn up the heat. Reduce the mixture until it thicken and add salt and pepper to taste. This is to go on the base of the pizza, so we want it thick and not runny.

        Set aside to cool a little.

        To make the dough

        Put the flour into a large bowl, then stir in the yeast and salt.

        Make a well, pour in 200ml warm water and the olive oil and bring together with a wooden spoon until you have a soft, fairly wet dough.

        Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 mins until smooth. Cover with a tea towel and set aside. You can leave the dough to rise if you like, but it’s not essential for a thin crust. I like to let it rise though.

        Method

        Roll out the dough: If you’ve let the dough rise, give it a quick knead, then split into two balls. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into large rounds, about 25cm across, using a rolling pin. The dough needs to be very thin as it will rise in the oven. Lift the rounds onto two floured baking sheets.

        Spread your thickened sauce and add a layer of cheese (however much you like) then add your slices of peepperoni, more cheese. If you have some olive oil, drizzle a little and then bake for approximately 10 minutes. If we weren't on a budget, I'd say serve with a salad! But there really is enough food here!