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Some Festive tweets and a few questions to think about
A budget Christmas?

Christmas Week Food

If you are on a tight budget, Christmas food can be very difficult, causing stress, and maybe even debt too. No need to get into debt, when with a bit of extra planning, you can enjoy a delicious festive meal, without spending a fortune. If you don’t know where to start, or would like a few ideas, have a look at this detailed, 2 person, 7 day Christmas dinner menu for the entire Christmas week.

If you are single, you might want to enjoy a lovely Christmas lunch with a friend, or if there are more of you, multiply up accordingly. If you do multiply up, look at a bigger joint rather than 2 of the 800g ones, it will probably be better value.

If you are going to cook for yourself, most of the leftovers will freeze or keep in the fridge or store cupboard, and you can spread them out over more days. I have tried to put in as many festive flavours as I could, using seasonal spices, cranberry sauce, stuffing, sage and mince pies.

If you don’t want turkey, a pork joint or chicken at the same price can be substituted and used throughout the week

You will need to buy or have available in the cupboard the following list which was priced at Asda in November 2016, updated in November 2017 and again in November 2018. I’m delighted that although the weeks plan has gone up, it’s only by £1 for the entire weeks shopping since 2016. So still a measly £1.67 each, per day, just 6p per day more than last year

You can either get Muscovado sugar, which I love for the nutty, deep taste and is used here on the Christmas dinner menu for pudding, or you could use ordinary sugar and add a little black treacle to get that nutty flavour. Use the rest of the treacle to make Ginger Cake – find the recipe here or there are lots of other ideas to use black treacle on this Pinterest board

Priced at Asda November 2018 using mySupermarket

ItemYou will needLeft at the end of the weekNov-18Nov-17Nov-16
smoked salmon pieces, 120g120g£1.65£1.85£1.25
eggs, 15 mixed weight8 eggs7 eggs£1.18£1.19£2.00
bread, smartprice, 800ghalf the loafhalf the loaf£0.55£0.59£0.50
Brilliantly Buttery Spread, 500g250ghalf the pack£0.90£0.90£0.85
turkey thigh joint, 800g800g£5.00£5.00£4.00
potatoes, 2.5kg2.5kg£1.30£1.19£1.29
cranberry sauce, Chosen By You, 200g90g110g£0.75£0.69£0.55
packet of value stuffingtwo thirdsone third£0.25£0.19£0.15
brussel sprouts80g420g£1.00£0.70£0.15
sausages, Chosen By You, 8 sausages 454g454g£1.50£1.69£1.50
cooking bacon, 500g250ghalf the pack£0.57£0.57£0.57
flour, smartprice, self raising, 2.5kg1.1kg400g£0.45£0.52£0.45
parsnips, frozen, Chosen By You, 680g680g£1.15£1.00£1.00
dried mixed fruit, smartprice, 500g260g240g£1.00£1.29£0.95
cream, 300ml300ml£1.05£1.09£0.85
muscovado sugar, 500g250ghalf the pack£1.50£1.50£1.00
rapeseed oil, 1 litrehalf a litrehalf a litre£1.09£1.09£1.00
mince meat, 822g Chosen By You £1.88 – OR411ghalf the jar£1.08£1.88£1.88
a box of 6 mince pies
£4.25£21.97£22.93£19.94
you will also need
digestives, 400g100g300g£0.33£0.35£0.50
value soft cheese, 300g150ghalf the pack£0.74£0.74£0.74
greek yogurt, 500g, need 200g200g£0.80£0.50£0.50
tin of value kidney beansthe tin£0.30£0.30£0.30
onions, 1 kg1kg£0.65£0.59£1.00
carrots, 1 kg1kg£0.65£0.30£1.18
value oats, 1kg, need 530g530g470g£0.75£0.75£0.75
cinnamon, 34g potmost of it£0.49£0.59£0.49
frozen summer or black forest fruits, 500g500g£1.75£1.75£2.00
bag red lentils, 500g250ghalf the pack£1.15£0.75£1.13
2 sachets yeast1 sachet£0.28£0.28£0.28
Total£2.17£7.89£6.90£8.87
Grand Total£6.41£29.86£29.83£28.81
Per person, per day£1.67
Grand Total
Nutrition
2000 plus 2500 calories
11% protein, 36% fat, 54% carbs, 31g fibre pp
Govt. recommendations 10-35% protein, 20-35% fat, 45-65% carb, 25g fibre pppd
This plan has, per person, a total of 5.2 portions of fruit and veg per person

 

 



You will need £29.86 at the checkout. The food eaten during the week, if you follow all the suggestions, comes to around £23.45 or £1.67 per person per day. Not bad for a week of great Christmas eating! There will be be leftovers, as shown in the table above, which can be carried forward to next week. Or just eat them, those digestives wouldn’t last long in my house! You could get a value bar of chocolate for 35p, melt it in a small bowl and drizzle it over the biscuits with a teaspoon

For ideas other than mince pies to use the mince meat, have a look at this post, I particularly like the brownies. Masses of ways to use the bacon too, how about this baconey tomatoey pasta (link to follow as I lost the post in the recent problems). Cheap and very delicious

I have suggested a Christmas lunch, with many of the traditional favourites, and lots of ideas to use up your ingredients during the rest of the week.

Christmas Day lunch

Christmas Lunch

Main Course – Roast turkey (or pork), pigs in blankets, stuffing, home made gravy, roast potatoes, sprouts, roast parsnips, cranberry sauce
Serves 2
All sourced at Asda, prices and details of ingredients in the shopping list. I used pork, as at the time of photographing it, no Christmas turkey was in the shops. It was extremely lovely. If I was served this for a Christmas lunch, I would be more than happy. If there are more of you than 2, multiply up the shopping list and recipes (buy a bigger joint of meat, rather than 2 or more as the bigger joint will be better value, you will get more meat)
200g of cooked turkey joint, £1.25
400g Potatoes 21p
Tblsp rapeseed oil 2p
75g Brussel sprouts 16p
1 sausage, 19p
50g cooking bacon, 6p
Quarter pack of stuffing, 6p
100g parsnips 680g/£1, 17p
1 tblsp cranberry sauce, 6p
Tblsp value flour

Total cost £2.18, £1.09 per serving

Method
Cook the turkey according to the pack instructions.

Cut the sausage into 4. Bash the bacon out into a flat piece and wrap the sausage lumps in pieces of the bacon. Set on one side.

Mix the stuffing with the amount of hot water given on the packet, form into small balls and place on one side.

Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and shake well to get some fluffy edges. Whilst still hot, drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Put in a baking tin.

45 minutes before the turkey is done, put the potatoes in the oven.
20 minutes before the turkey is done, put the parsnips, stuffing and pigs in blankets in the oven.

When the turkey is done, remove it from the tin, place on a warm dish, cover and leave to rest. Put the roasting tin on the hob and make some gravy with the juices. Depending on how many juices you have, you may need to add a little water/white wine/stock. Add a bay leaf if you have one, and a bit of grainy mustard too if you have it. Add the flour and whisk like mad until it thickens, add more flour if it needs to be thicker (it depends on how much liquid there is) whisk in any lovely tasty bits stuck on the tin.

Serve everything up immediately

per serving, 760 calories, 33g protein, 24g fat, 66g carbs, 9g fibre

Christmas lunch

If you have room, follow with this delicious pud. It takes just a few minutes to cook in the microwave. It can be prepared the previous day and kept in the fridge ready to cook or reheat. If you are reheating it in the microwave, just heat it for a few seconds or it will go rock hard

Pudding – Muscovado and mixed fruit pudding, with double cream

muscovado pudding

This makes 4 servings, so if there are 2 of you, keep 2 for another day. They freeze well.
1 egg, 13p
100g self raising flour, 3p
100g muscovado sugar, 30p or ordinary sugar and a tblsp of black treacle
100g buttery spread 18p
100g mixed dried fruit 26p
serve with 50ml double cream per person, 35p
Total of £1.25, 4 portions, so 31p each

Weigh out the sugar and put 1 tbslp in with the fruit, along with 60ml hot water, and leave the fruit to soak and plump up. You could microwave it for a few seconds to help it along a bit.

Put the remaining sugar and the butter in a bowl and beat together until creamy. Add the egg yolk and beat. Now add half the egg white, beat, and repeat. Add the flour and gently stir through, not too much, lots of stirring will make the pudding leathery.

Now, you have a few options. You can bake this in a medium oven for half an hour until golden, or steam it in a slow cooker for 2 hours, or microwave it practically instantly.

You can use 1 dish, 1 pudding basin, or divide it into 4 in ramekins, individual sized pudding basins or even microwaveable teacups or small mugs.

I used 4 little plastic pots with lids. The mix should only come about halfway up the pots, or the mix will spill out as it expands in the microwave. Put the soaked and plump fruit, and remaining juice into the baking dish / pudding basin(s) and the pudding mixture on top, dividing equally if using individual dishes.

Microwave in 1 dish for 6 minutes or individual servings for 5 minutes.

These puds have a lovely festive flavour from the Muscovado and dried fruit.

It could be enjoyed with cream, as here, or with custard or ice cream, or any combination of the three you fancy. A flavoured ice cream would be lovely, maybe Muscovado again, or rum/brandy, or a fresh lemony one, or how about a chocolate or coffee one.

If you have any, or have the funds to get any, you could substitute any other dried fruit. Chopped dates would be lovely, maybe with a few chopped walnuts mixed in, or figs, or fine chopped apricots. Or an exotic version with dried mango or dried pineapple. If you have any, you could use anything containing alcohol to soak the fruit in – Blue Curacao anyone? Or use a dollop of mincemeat and leave out the sugar. All these suggestions will supply lovely Christmassy flavours.

per serving, 672 calories, 7g protein, 45g fat, 60g carbs

So, we have spent quite a bit and had just one meal so far. It might be a huge meal, and hopefully, a delicious one, but it won’t keep you going for the rest of the week. How can we make best use of what we have left? Here are my suggestions to make best use of your leftovers, and for eating during the festive week, starting on Christmas Eve eve. You will need to buy, or have available in the cupboard, the extra groceries as shown above, to make these suggestions

23rd December

Breakfast porridge with cinnamon syrup, or muscovado sugar
Lunch spicy lentil soup, add some ginger and turmeric to the soup for a warming and wintery flavour
Dinner Spanish omelette using carrot, onions and bacon, served with home made oven wedges. 2 eggs each

Christmas Eve

Breakfast jammy oat bars
Lunch spicy lentil soup,
Dinner smoked salmon pasta , mince pie
use some of the dried mixed fruit in place of the jam in the oat bars, soak them first and add a little sugar, add some cinnamon too, if you like, to lend a bit more Christmas flavour
Use the flour and oil to make oil pastry and your own mince pies, you will get loads more mince pies that way, or buy a box of 6
Use a value pack of smoked salmon pieces, using half here, and half in the scrambled eggs on the 25th

Christmas Day

Breakfast Smoked salmon & scrambled eggs, toast
Lunch Roast Turkey and trimmings with Fruity pudding & cream to follow
Tea Turkey sandwich with stuffing & cranberry sauce
Sausage rolls
Make 3 sausage rolls each, cutting 1 sausage into 3 per person and use either the oil pastry, or buy a pk of pastry

 

Boxing Day

Breakfast Pancakes with red fruits, with mixed spice or cinnamon
Lunch Turkey stock soup with kidney beans, onions and carrots
Dinner Turkey and onion pie , followed by Frozen fruits cheesecake
mix cinnamon or mixed spice into the pancake batter at breakfast for a festive flavour. Serve with a few red fruits from a value frozen bag. Defrost them and macerate with a little sugar to make a lovely juice.
Using a little turkey, or any bones for flavour. Make a soup, adding some drained kidney or other beans and any veg you have handy
for dinner, make a pie using scraps of turkey, you could add some stuffing too if you like, and you will probably have a sausage or two that you could use here, or save for another day. Follow with a quarter of the cheesecake each and serve with a few more of the red berries

27th December

Breakfast cinnamon toast
Lunch spiced parsnip soup
Dinner gnocchi with sausage and stuffing. Use fresh potato rather than dried, as in the recipe, as you will have fresh in the cupboard, to make the gnocchi, followed by the rest of the cheesecake
Use a sausage each in the gnocchi and a little stuffing if you like

28th December

Breakfast oats with cinnamon syrup
Lunch spiced parsnip soup
Dinner pizza – any turkey, stuffing or sausages left?
Mince pie
Add any scraps of turkey left, and maybe a tiny bit of stuffing, to the pizza, or slice up any sausages left. Any leftover carrot or parsnip medallions would be delicious on the pizza. This pizza doesn’t use a tomato sauce base, or cheese on top either. Pizza is one of those base recipes that can accommodate a wide range of leftover ingredients. As well as the turkey, stuffing, sausages and vegetables suggested here, you can top a pizza with any combination that you think will taste good. I’ve never tried a pizza topped with leftover curry, but I bet it would taste great, its not that different to nan after all!

29th December

Breakfast jammy oat bars
Lunch turkey soup, as 26th
Dinner Make a quiche using 2 eggs in a two portion quiche and fill up the dish using bacon, grilled until crisp, onion, any veg available, a drizzle of cream if there’s any left and maybe serve with parsnip and carrot medallions, roasted in the oven, or home made oven wedges – or both! Spice them up with curry powder, or sage and rosemary if you have any

I hope this has given you a few ideas. You can eat festively, and deliciously, without breaking out of your budget. These ideas don’t neatly use up all the ingredients you will need within the week, but all the ingredients suggested are used by lots of recipes on Thrifty Lesley, so you won’t need to waste anything, you will be able to use them up by using recipes in the following weeks(s). All the leftover ingredients will freeze, or sit in the store cupboard until you use them

Christmas Lunch

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Some Festive tweets and a few questions to think about
A budget Christmas?
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