Since we’ve started our savings plan for the year, we’ve been much better at organising our lives and coming up with an affordable and delicious food plan for the week – nourishing, healthy meals that don’t break the bank AND leave us full to the brim. When Jack’s Supermarket, a supermarket owned by Tesco, got in touch and challenged me to do a weekly shop for less than £30, I knew I had a point to prove.
AD: This is a sponsored post with Jack's Supermarket, but as always, my thoughts remain my own.
Normally, we shop at Aldi each week – we’re lucky to have a decent one quite close to where we live in West Yorkshire and it’s normally not overly busy. We usually spend around £35 a week on food – including bits for lunches, a few snacks and a bottle of wine. I cook everything fresh – no frozen, ready made food – and I’d like to say we eat pretty well. Neither of us have particularly specific dietary requirements, although my digestive system isn’t the biggest fan of dairy products. A life without cheese? Not happening, let’s be honest.
We set off to Jack’s with expectations quite low, if I’m honest. We shopped at Tesco when we lived in Liverpool and we found that we spent almost double what we spend in Aldi now, each week. If prices were similar to that, the chances of us getting a week’s worth of food for £30 or less was very, very slim. Even so, I was optimistic and made a meal plan based on the stuff that we were planning on eating and made our way over to Wakefield, around a 20 minute drive, to Jack’s Supermarket. When I meal plan, I ensure that we use ingredients across multiple meals – so nothing goes to waste and we can save as much money as possible – it’s also worth noting that some of ingredients required, we already had in the pantry cupboard or else in the freezer. I don’t believe in buying food and wasting it if I know we already have it in the house and wasn’t about to break that in lieu of a successful challenge.
We dashed around Jacks in record time, list in hand. It was very easily laid out, all fruit and veggies looked incredibly fresh and the meat looked fantastic – good quality and very affordable. I’m going to leave the final total spent at the bottom of this post so as to raise a bit of anticipation but here’s a wee picture of all the bits and bobs we bought on the shop – can to have a guess on the cost?
Feeding 2 for £30 For A Week with Jack’s Supermarket
I haven’t included breakfast in this – we normally have toast or toasted current teacakes, or else a bowl of apple and cinnamon porridge if I have more time in the morning. I’ve also assumed that most people have pantry essentials – milk, flour, salt, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, sugar, garlic, rice and stock. If you don’t have these handy, then it may be worth considering this before giving my recipes a go!
Lunch: Tomato and bacon pasta
One of our fave easy lunches – cut bacon up into small strips, cook in a small amount of oil until slightly crispy, garlic, half a tin of chopped tomatoes, allow the sauce to reduce down and then add in cooked pasta. Top with parmesan or your choice of cheese. Simple but absolutely fantastic – and just how my Italian pal Silvia taught me.
Dinner: Sweet chilli beef and egg fried rice – Fakeaway
I started our challenge on a weekend – and weekends, in old, sensible pre-saving world may have meant a takeaway. Since January when our savings plan started, I’ve become queen of the fakeaway. We fancied a Chinese so I made us Sweet chilli beef and egg fried rice. Slice the diced beef into strips, cover in cling film on a chopping board and bash it flat, cover in corn flour and quickly fry until it’s browned on all sides, Remove from the pan and add garlic, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce and a slurry of corn flour and water. When the sauce starts to thicken, add the beef back in and top with spring onions. For the rice; pre-cook long grain rice in salted water until it’s lovely and soft, drain and allow to cool. Fry in a small amount of oil and add a generous dash of soy sauce, add 2 eggs and a bit more soy sauce, top with spring onions and serve. Delightful.
Lunch: Mini egg quiches with onion, bacon and pepper
Dinner: Slow cooked roast beef, roast and mash potatoes, seasonal vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and gravy. I spent a few hours slaving away in the kitchen and threw together the roast of all roasts – Jack’s Supermarket’s meat joints are particularly affordable; the beef cost us just over a fiver and lasted a meal and two lots of sarnies!
Lunch: Roast Beef sarnies with coleslaw, tomatoes and cucumber
Leftovers? You’ve got it. Waste not, want not.
Dinner: Prawn and Lentil Curry with rice and homemade flatbread
I absolutely adore this recipe – it’s a One Pound Meals special and is very filling – especially with the flatbread. No pictures I’m afraid as it didn’t look particularly appetising. Don’t forget to use the bread to mop up all the sauce.
Lunch: Mushroom and bacon pasta
I always have frozen veggies to hand for quick pasta dishes and I had some bacon leftover from day 1’s lunch. Cook in exactly the same way, with a dash of butter thrown in with the mushrooms to make them buttery and delicious.
Dinner: Lasagne and a side salad
We bought a big pack of mince meat for the week, knowing that between 2 of us, it would go across two meals at least. When we got home from Jack’s Supermarket, I split the pack of mince in half and whacked it straight into the freezer. Remembering to defrost things is arguably much more difficult than doing the actual cooking of things, I find, but I was on fire this week. I browned the mince in a small amount of oil and removed it from the pan once it was brown on all sides. I then browned onions and garlic in the same pan, added the mince back in and threw in a tin of chopped tomatoes and some passata. I also added a dash of Worcestershire sauce to the mix and a red wine ice cube that I keep in the freezer (top tip for wine: if you have a dash left that’s not enough for a glass, pour into an ice-cube tray and freeze for cooking purposes!). Whilst the sauce was reducing down, I used butter, flour and milk to make a béchamel sauce. Layered it all up and boo-yah… a fantastic, filling deal. I served with a small side salad of cucumber and tomatoes.
Lunch: Tortilla pizzas
One of my favourite, quick lunches is tortilla pizza with salad or coleslaw. Tortilla wrap base, with passata, mozzarella cheese and your choice of toppings. I’ve opted for leftover salami as my topping but anything goes… chopped up veggies and extra cheese another favourite choice!
Dinner: Bean Saucisson with bread to dip
Another Pound Meals dish – except we eliminated the sausage. Butter beans, tomatoes and other yummy delights with thick bread to dip in. A light dinner that’s perfect for veggies and vegans alike!
Lunch: Leftover Lasagne and side salad
We’re back to leftovers – I always leave it a day or so between leftover dishes so I don’t get bored of what I’m eating.
Dinner: Meatballs and pasta with garlic bread
Day 6 was a very pasta filled day – but we’re okay with that in our house! Day 6 was the rest of the beef mince – my boyfriend used this to make meatballs. Finely diced onions, garlic, beef mince, an egg, a dash of flour and some Worcestershire sauce – get your hands stuck on in there and mould the meatballs to the size of your choice. Leave them to rest for a while and then brown in a hot pan until they’re firm on the outside but not cooked inside. I made up the sauce using tomatoes, finely diced onions, garlic and basil and whacked the meatballs back in and allowed them to slowly cook there – a thick, rich sauce with delicious, soft meatballs.
Lunch: Tortilla Pizzas
As with day 5, only this time it was a simple mozzarella pizza with some basil, served with salad and coleslaw. The Jack’s supermarket mozzarella is thick and tasty and was just as good on its own as with toppings!
Dinner: Beef and veggie stir fry with egg noodles
Remember that diced beef from day 1? I froze the rest of it and defrosted it ready for stir fry. We had a few leftover veggies from last week’s shop in the freezer – some mushrooms and green beans – as well as the pepper, sweetcorn, sugarsnap peas and onions we bought from Jack’s Supermarket. We used a hoisin stir fry sauce but you could equally just use soy sauce and mixed in cook in the wok egg noodles. A simple and quick meal that’s full of goodness!
So, the final reveal… we successfully planned and bought ingredients for 7 days worth of stuff. The challenge for the week was to spend less than £30 on the main food shop – going around, I tried not to limit the purchases, made a list prior to going and knew I’d have to stick to the list and grab everything on it for the week to be a success. All in all, everything above included… we spent £27.33. Meat (including a roast beef joint??), veggies, fresh bits, stock cupboard additions all for less than £30! We’ve been back since and had similar results so it definitely wasn’t a one off lucky chance.
Jack’s Supermarket has multiple stores across the UK now – you can find out where your nearest store is by using this handy map search. I’d like to say thank you to their lovely team for giving me the opportunity to get stuck in with them and share my challenge! It was fun composing the menu and cooking the meals and even more fun eating the food!