There's no doubt that meat prices have sky rocketed over the last couple of years. It doesn't seem that long ago that Coles supermarkets ran a big advertising campaign highlighting their 1 kilo trays of beef mince for $5. That same tray now costs $12. Lamb prices have doubled now making it a luxury piece of meat. Roast legs of lamb and roast beef are now off our menu and we can forget about steak. Not that we had steak on a plate for a meal but now cooking a beef stew is too expensive. I just can't justify paying close to $20 a kilo for the cheapest steak no matter how far I stretch it in a stew - and yes, I can stretch it far.
The main meats we have been eating are chicken drumsticks, chicken fillets, beef sausages, frozen fish fillets, tinned tuna and salmon and beef mince. Last year when meat was hard to come by I did manage to buy one corned beef ( silverside ) and one tray of cheap steak. Over the last 14 months I've rationed that steak out to make Massaman beef curry and beef stew. I think I now have one 300 g piece of steak left in the freezer. Unless beef prices drop I will not be buying steak in the foreseeable future.
So with all this in mind, it's been a real challenge writing a menu plan with variety yet keeping to our $100 - $120 a month food budget. This budget includes food and kitty litter for Princess ( our cat ) and food, basic toiletries and cleaning ingredients for Darren and I.
I was blessed a few months ago with a large amount of TVP ( textured vegetable protein ) for free from a friend. When I first heard about it years ago I vowed I'd never use it. But desperate times call for desperate measures and TVP has been a real blessing for stretching beef mince without really noticing a difference in texture.
Below is the latest menu plan I have been using. Keep in mind it's just the two of us but I still cook for 4 - 6 people as per the recipe and freeze all leftovers. It's very rare that leftovers are eaten as lunches. They end up being dearer than a toasted sandwich and we don't need to eat meat twice a day.
From memory, all recipes for the meals below are in the recipe section.
Day 1 - Chunky Chicken Soup made from slow cooker stock.
Day 2 - Meatloaf, potato mash and steamed veg. Leftover meatloaf frozen
Day 3 - Leftover Chunky Chicken Soup with crusty bread
Day 4 - Salmon Patties ( bulk cooked and in the freezer ) with rice and steamed veg
Day 5 - Honey Mustard Chicken with rice
Day 6 - Sausages, potato mash and steamed veg
Day7 - Get Your Own - maybe toasted sandwiches, eggs on toast, leftovers
Day 8 - Lasagne ( made in bulk and frozen ) with steamed broccoli and silverbeet from the garden
Day 9 - Chicken Drumsticks Lemon Flavoured with potato mash and steamed veg
Day 10 - Massaman Beef made in the slow cooker served with rice. Leftovers frozen in single serves
Day 11 - Tuna Casserole served with steamed green veg.
Day 12 - Chop Suey served with rice. Leftovers frozen into single serves
Day 13 - Curried Sausage Casserole in slow cooker served with mashed potato. Leftovers frozen
Day 14 - Leftovers of some description
Day 15 - Tuna Pasta Bake ( bulk cooked and from the freezer )
Day 16 - Cottage Pie ( I call it shepherd's pie )
Day 17 - Chunky Chicken Soup from the freezer
Day 18 - Beef Stew in slow cooker served with potato mash
Day 19 - Homemade Chicken and Pineapple Pizza
Day 20 - Silverside with potato mash and steamed veg
Day 21 - Spag Bol ( sauce made in bulk and in the freezer )
Day 22 - Chicken, potato and veggie bake. Kale and broccoli used in bake came from our garden
Day 23 - Freezer meals or eggs on toast
Day 24 - Fried rice with small amount of chicken added.
Day 25 - Family Meat Pie ( portions from the freezer ) served with steamed green veg
Day 26 - Leftover fried rice
Day 27 - Fish portions ( from Aldi ) cooked in foil with lemons, served with potato mash and steamed veg
Day 28 - Honey Soy Chicken Drumsticks served with rice and steamed veg
|Chop suey in the making.|
|Slow cooker Massaman Beef Curry|
|Bulk Chunky Chicken Soup for the freezer|
|Honey Mustard Chicken|