Savvy mum of 11 children, Joanne Webb O’Rourke, reveals she spends just £12 per person, per week, for three nutritious meals a day at Aldi and has come to the rescue of busy families with her all-time favourite budget family meal. Joanne also unveiled her ultimate tips for feeding a family during the hectic working week, including setting up a breakfast station complete with cereal dispensers and creating a weekly ‘fakeaway’ day to keep things exciting for little ones.
With the autumn school term underway, it’s been revealed that one in four parents admit they don’t have the time to plan meals, and as a result, are making the same meals every day. Almost half (46%) say they sometimes give in and let their child choose what to eat to make life easier1.
Joanne comments: “Feeding a family doesn’t have to be hard work! I make sure I stick to my top ten tips including banning daily shops and keeping key pantry products replenished – it’s all about being prepared. The kids love my healthy chicken casserole, it’s a really filling mid-week meal and can be frozen in batches.”
Joanne’s ‘Top Ten Tips’ for feeding the family on a budget
Plan all the meals for the week on Sunday and do the food shop on Monday if possible, when supermarkets are typically quieter and there is more space to shop!
Ban daily shops. Milk and bread top-ups are fine but daily shopping can really skew shopping figures.
Make meals interactive with the help of fun themed crockery, cookie cutters to make shapes with (Stacey Solomon style), and personalised bowls.
Make meals your family enjoy so dinner times aren’t a struggle. Use meal requests as a prize for example, best behaved can pick Friday dinner.
Once a week make a meal that the family has never had before – this is a great way to introduce new foods to younger family members.
Set up a breakfast station, including a cereal dispenser, for a hotel style breakfast at home without the fuss.
Plan one ‘fakeaway’ meal night a week to keep things exciting. This could be anything from air fried chicken and chips or Chinese chicken noodles.
Make packed lunches the night before. Keep sandwich fillings simple and always include a piece of fruit and something sweet for a little treat like biscuits.
Make puddings and cakes from scratch as it saves a lot of money in the long run. Batch cook cakes and pop them in the freezer.
Main things to keep replenished – milk, bread, fruit and biscuits. These are my fail-safe items for lunchboxes and snacks.
Joanne’s Healthy Chicken Casserole Recipe:
3 x Chicken Casserole Seasoning Mix (19p each)
Button Mushrooms (75p)
Frozen Garden Peas (55p)
1 x Chicken Stock Pot (69p for a pack of 4)
2 x Bag of Potatoes (91p per bag)
Total cost: £11.02 / 85p per portion
For the casserole:
- Cut the chicken into small chunks and place in an oven dish
- Chop the onions, carrots and mushrooms and add to the dish
- Add the packet of frozen peas
- Mix up one stock pot with hot water and pour into the dish
- Add the chicken casserole mixes
- Mix everything together and season with salt and pepper
- Place lid on top and cook in the oven on a medium heat (160°C degrees) for around 2-2.5 hours
- Stir and check every half an hour – if the mixture looks a bit dry add some water
For the mash:
- Whilst cooking, peel and chop your potatoes and boil until soft
- Once soft, drain the potatoes, add a spoon of butter and a dash of milk and mash to make creamy mash potato
- Place your mash on to a plate (we like to make it into a circle or fun dinosaur shape) and add the casserole in to the middle