Day 1- 5 Eat for £50 a month Challenge

As I updated on the previous post the spend is £7.03 on the weeks essential food shop fruit, veg & protein and £8.57 on store items incl. rice, lentils, beans etc. The meal plan for the first week is for my sis who really wants to change things. Her requirements are to cut down on meat, eat more healthily, save money, not have too much time in the kitchen and less washing-up oh and she is gluten intolerant. We have decided to go pretty much cold turkey but tasty too 😉 I am also sticking to this menu plan and we bought the fruit and veg for two and split it hence the savings ( markets often do a large dish for £1). She does have a few items in her cupboard which we will use as well these are, paprika, soya, thyme, cumin, coriander, garlic, 2 lemons, icing sugar, frozen peas and gluten-free porridge oats and flour.

We will be starting really simply tomorrow and basing the recipes around wholesome, healthy food and flavours.  Breakfasts will be either porridge or gluten-free flakes accompanied by a banana or some plums.  Or some gluten free pancakes with bananas or plums. So the recipes will be for lunch and a main evening, on this post I am concentrating on day 1 -5.  I’ll have to get my thinking cap on for day 6 & 7, but I’m thinking egg curry and some chickpea related recipes.

Day 1 – Frittata with Salad (Lunch)

  • 1tsp oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 onion
  • 3 baby tomatoes
  • a few slices of fennel
  • 2 tsp of milk
  1. Fry the onion, fennel and tomatoes in the oil until soft
  2. Mix the egg and the milk
  3. Turn the grill on to hot
  4. Add the egg mixture to the frying pan on a medium heat and wait for 4 minutes until the centre starts to bubble slightly
  5. Place under the grill and keep an eye until it puffs up
  6. Serve straight from the grill
  • 1/2 fennel bulb
  • 3 plums
  • 1/3 lemon
  • 2tsp oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Take half a fennel bulb and slice thinly, set aside any fronds that are worthy
  2. Get some juicy plums and de-stone and mix with the fennel
  3. Take some of the lemon zest and add to the salad and juice of 1/3 lemon
  4. pour over the oil and add the salt and pepper
  5. Mix well and eat with the frittata


Day 1 – Dinner Rice & Veg (2 portions)

  • 1/2 cup of rice
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • chopped veg (I’m using a decent handful of potatoes, onion, fennel)
  • pinch of salt & pepper
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • Garlic
  • 1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 litre of stock
  1. Fry the veg gently in the oil using a decent sized pot with a lid for 5 minutes
  2. Add the garlic and rice and coat with the oil and put the lid on for 2 mins
  3. Add the paprika, salt and pepper and stir through so it’s well combined
  4. Add the tomatoes and stir through
  5. Add the 2/3litre of stock and stir once and pop the lid on for approximately 20 minutes, store occasionally and make sure to add some more stock if it is too dry or if you have the heat too high.
  6. Serve with a poached or fried egg and some Fresh Basil.  To make an Indian flavoured veggie rice just add some Tumeric, Coriander, Cumin and Ginger and Garlic.


Day 2 – Lunch Rice Noodles & Veg Salad

  • 1 nest of rice noodles
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 sliced fennel
  • 1 sliced carrots
  • 1/2 sliced onion
  • teaspoon of oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  1. Prepare the rice noodles as per pkt (often soak in boiling water for a few minutes in a bowl)
  2. Fry the other ingredients together in a pan until soft then mix the prepared noodles with the fried ingredients
  3. Drizzle over a little lemon and oil as required

Day 2 – Dinner Dal (4 portions)

  • 1 cup of split red lentils
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  1. Boil all of the Dal ingredients in a pan and then simmer for 30 minutes (check on it and stir occasionally)
  2. skim off any white film on the top of the water and discard


  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 2tbsp Oil


  1. Once the Dal is ready, fry the mustard seeds gently in the oil
  2. You will need a lid as they will splutter
  3. Add in the cumin seeds and fry for a further 30 seconds
  4. Add the fried seeds to the dal and stir, add some pepper and chopped coriander before serving.
  5. Use with leftover rice from day before


  • tip I often just fry an onion and some chills with some garlic and add this as my Tarka or just go ahead and experiment and find your tarka for your Tarka Dal  Enjoy!



Day 3 – Lunch – Dal Soup

Take some of the leftover Dal from the previous evening meal and reheat for lunch with some of the pre-cooked black-eyed peas included.

Day 3 – Dinner – Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

For the sauce

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp garlic oil (or oil with tsp garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1  can chopped plum tomatoes, plus approximately 1 can of water
  • 1/4 tsp pouring salt
  • pinch of black pepper

For the meatballs

  • 125g turkey mince
  • 1 small free-range egg
  • 1/2 tsp of mustard
  • 1/2 tsp soya sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • a little chopped onion (taken from the sauce prepared onion)
  1. chop onions
  2. Warm the garlic oil in pan, add the onion and thyme, and cook at a moderate heat, stirring every now and again, for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the can of tomatoes, and a can of  water, season with the salt and pepper, stir well until bubbling, then turn the heat down and simmer the sauce gently .
  4. Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs, including a little chopped onion in a bowl with your hands, just bring the mixture together gently.
  5. Roll them into balls (makes between 10 & 15)
  6. Pop the meatballs into the simmering sauce
  7. Let the meatballs simmer in the sauce for approx. 30 minutes

Serve with another fresh batch of vegetable rice or plain steamed rice.  Have some the following day for lunch or dinner (they are better the second day round in that fabulous sauce)

Day 4 – Lunch (leftover meatballs with rice)

Day 4 – Dinner Avocado with Tomatoes and Fennel

  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1 carrot ribboned with a peeler
  • 1/3 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • 1 small fennel bulb sliced thinly
  • 5 baby tomatoes (halved)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  1. Slice the Avocado into a bowl
  2. Mix in all of the other prepared ingredients
  3. Dress with the oil and lemon
  4. Finish with the salt and pepper and mix through with hands
  5. if you want additional starch then use some noodles from the store or some fresh rice

To keep the other half of the Avocado fresh I use this great tip from Dana Velden tip as we will use the rest of the Avocado later in the week.

Day 5 – Lunch Moroccan Carrot Salad

  • 6 medium carrots peeled
  • 3tbsp oil
  • 4tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 plumbs halved
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1/2tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp icing sugar
  • 1/4 tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 tbsp ideally of fresh chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  1. Boil carrots in salted water until just tender (approx. 20 minutes)
  2. Whisk all of the other ingredients in a bowl
  3. Cut the carrots into nice bite sized chunks whilst still warm (I do them at an angle)
  4. Mix the carrots with the other ingredients whilst still warm , adjust seasoning to taste, leave to soak for an hour or more (best prepared that morning or night before)


Day 5 -Dinner  Coop Pie

  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1.5 tsp Soya Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1tsp Worcester sauce
  • pinch  pepper
  • 3 carrots finely chopped
  • small cup of frozen peas
  • 125g turkey mince
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 3 small cups of water
  1. Fry the onion and 1 clove of garlic in oil until soft
  2. At the same time put 2 carrots & 2 sweet potatoes and 1 clove of garlic in a large pan of salted water, bring to the boil, then cook for 12 mins.
  3. Add the turkey mince and thyme and fry for 5 minutes
  4. Add the soya and Worcester sauce and pepper
  5. Add the carrots and peas put the lid on for a few minutes
  6. Add the water and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Check the carrots and potatoes after 12 minutes if soft then, drain add a little warm milk and mash well
  8. Get an oven dish and put the mince mixture and sauce in the base and cover with the carrot and potato mixture
  9. Put under a hot grill for 10 to 15 minutes until the top browns (I usually add some parmesan to the top).


A few points to note when storing and/or reheating rice :

  • ideally, use rice as soon as it has been cooked
  • if you want to store leftover rice, cool it a.s.a.p (ideally within one hour)
  • keep rice in the fridge for up to one day until reheating
  • always check that the dish is steaming hot all the way through if you reheat
  • do not reheat rice more than once



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