12 Nov

Written by Lizzie on November 12, 2015

Autumn Meal Planning

Eating is fun, and so is cooking if the time is right. But planning? Never. Unfortunately, evidence points to meal planning being a super effective way to save those pennies – with planners saving loads more than those who prep meal by meal. Our plan? Let us take the stress out of it for you. We’ve designed a line-up of dishes using seasonal ingredients, all of which are absolutely perfect for those dark Autumn nights. They’ll feed up to a family of four for seven whole days and sometimes there’ll even be leftovers…

Roasted Butternut Squash and Sausage Traybake Butternut squash can be a tricky character. If you’ve got a good knife feel free to take on the monsters whole, but some people find the prepared bags more convenient. This is a great choice if you’re lacking time – when you get home from work simply preheat the oven, open the packets and artfully arrange your cubed squash, sausages and a few quartered onions on a tray. Drizzle and toss in a little oil, honey and a few herbs (whatever you’ve got lying around should do it) and stick it in a 200°c oven for 30 minutes. Dish it up and serve with a hunk of crusty bread.

Roasted Pepper Pasta with Pine Nuts and Parmesan Everyone loves pasta, and it’s the ideal fall-back meal: quick to cook, always delicious and cheap as chips! But that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring. Slice two red peppers and roast them in an oven with a bit of olive oil and some garlic cloves. 20 minutes should do it, with a quick flip half way through. Cook your pasta and toss in the peppers, a palmful of toasted pine nuts and a nub of grated parmesan. Drizzle on another teaspoon of olive oil plus a little salt and pepper and you’re good to go!

Lamb Chops with Salsa Verde and Mash Lamb can get expensive, so if you’re keen to stick to a family food budget, keep it for those special occasions – it’ll taste extra scrumptious! Salsa verde is a fab option if you have a herb garden to pick from, or even if you can pick up a few pots on sale from the supermarket and keep them well watered. Chop up your selection and dress with a little oil and vinegar and some chopped garlic cloves, then spoon it over your chops and serve with buttery mash – easy!

Cottage Pie Using the leftovers of yesterday’s mash, top this winter warmer and bake for 30 minutes at 180°c or until golden on top. All the filling takes is a finely chopped onion, 750g of beef mince, two sliced carrots, a handful of frozen peas and a beef OXO cube. Simple! Spoon it out and bask in its glory.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Black Beans This dinner is everything you want for your comfy Friday night in. Roast your sweet potatoes in the oven for a few hours (or zap ’em in the microwave if that floats your boat) while you fry up some sliced onions, a chopped red chilli, a tin of black beans and a splash of stock. Simmer your mixture on the hob for half an hour until it thickens and then stuff your potatoes with it, before sprinkling with a little cheddar.

Mushroom Risotto For a sophisticated Saturday night it’s all about risotto. Intimidating, we know, but it’s actually surprisingly easy, you just need to make sure you stay at the hob stirring away. Make it with wine or stock, it’s up to you, and add any kind of mushrooms you like. A sprinkling of parsley will finish it off, as well as a swirl of mascarpone if you’re feeling fancy!

Sausage Plait with Caramelised Onions It’s Sunday, and we know that it’s usually a roast, but sometimes it’s fun to change things up. Nothing’s more autumnal than crisp, golden pastry with sticky sweet onions and juicy meat. A sausage plait is an awesome roast alternative, trust us. And the leftovers? You can tuck into slices straight from the fridge for the rest of the week saving on lunch and snack spends! There’s a recipe on the Tesco website you can follow for detailed instructions, plus with a stacked store cupboard you should be able to save some ££s on ingredients.

Total Spend: We calculated all of the ingredients needed for the dishes listed above (minus a few we think you’ll already have in your store cupboard) and the total came in at £52.27. What’s more, we’ve got a cheeky code on our Sainsburys Groceries page that entitled new customers for £15 off their first shop over £75.

That means you have an extra £23-ish to top up your cupboards, stock up on lunches and snacks and you’ll still come away with only £60 spent and a seriously full tummy. We think that sounds pretty good, how about you?

What are you eating this week? Do you prefer to cook off the cuff or plan ahead? Let us know down in the comments!

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