You don’t have to live on beans on toast!

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good beans on toast dinner once in a while, but being on a budget shouldn’t restrict you to eating boring meals day in day out.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been especially thrifty with my shopping since moving into my flat and being on maternity pay.

I’ve started doing the majority of my shopping at Aldi as it’s just up the road from me now and it’s perfect for basics and baby bits!

I’ve found that making sure my cupboard is stocked with some standard essentials, I can put together a simple and tasty meal no matter how motivated I’m feeling. My standard basics consist of:

• Pasta

• Noodles

• Baby spinach

• Spring onions

• Blue cheese (a strange one but a little goes a long way and can be used for a quick pasta sauce or to snack on with biscuits)

• Cheddar

• Eggs

• Soy sauce

• Chopped tomatoes

• cornflour

• Bananas

• Onions

• garlic

• Milk

• Bread

• Yogurt

• Peanut butter – I currently have the PB powder as i found it for £3 in aldi. It’s great for adding to Thai and Chinese recipes and it lasts way longer than a tub of peanut butter

• Herbs & spices

• Stock cubes

All of which can be bought from Aldi for much cheaper than Tesco or Asda. I’ll then pick up any meat/ fish that’s on offer.

However, because Archie is on the hungrier babies cow and gate milk, I have to nip to Tesco once a week for a tub as Aldi don’t stock it. While there I’ve taken to scanning the reduced stock for bargains.

Over the last week or two I have picked up a fair few bits and bobs:

I’ve also picked up squid and loads of veg. Often people will bin these items based on the date the packaging says, but realistically the veg can last a couple of days longer than the date given. I wouldn’t ever chance meat or fish so I always freeze these as soon as I get them home.

The good thing about grabbing the discounted food is not only is there less waste, but it allows an element of creativity in your cooking. Whereas in the past I’d plan the meals ahead based on what I wanted to cook, I’m now inspired by what things I find.

From the above and my basic pantry items I have already made:

• Lamb stew (see previous post)

• Salt and pepper squid

• Chicken noodle soup

• Chicken and prawn pad Thai inspired stir fry

• Spaghetti with spinach in blue cheese sauce

Another tip I would give is buying frozen meat/ fish portions. Iceland and Aldi have some really good deals on these.

I would also recommend buying versatile veg, for example carrots, peppers, spinach and spring onions can be eaten raw in salads but are great additions to hot dishes like pastas or stir fries.

Hopefully this helps with a bit of inspiration to those on a budget like me. Eating nice food on a budget CAN be done if you’re smart with your shop 💁🏼‍♀️

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