Frugal meal planning

A chicken and a bag of flour drove my planning for Live Below the Line this year.

 Inspired by several other budget cooks, I wanted to see just how far a single small chicken would stretch to feed two people. With just £10 to feed us both for five days, I’m hoping it’s going to stretch very far indeed.

 Chickentastic inspiration was provided by the Live Below the Line extravaganzas of Koj, from Masterchef 2012, and Ceri from Natural Kitchen Adventures, along with Miss South’s eye-opening Observer article about cooking on benefits, with recipes here. Jack Monroe remains a great inspiration on budget cooking in both her book and blog.

 In addition, a bag of cheap flour seemed to offer a myriad of possibilities such as pizza, bread, pancakes, Yorkshire pudding, pastry and scones – so long as I also add some eggs, milk, fat and yeast.

Two of the things I found hardest on Live Below the Line last year were watery UHT skimmed milk and attempting to cook without oil, so the flour helped provide an excuse to lash out on some fresh semi-skimmed milk and half a pack of butter.

Last year taught me that it’s possible to have too much carrot, especially when you’re doubling up between fresh carrots and frozen pieces in a bag of mixed veg.

It’s also possible to have too much carbohydrate, so I thought we’d stick to the cheap white rice and value wholemeal bread, and ditch the unappetising and little-used spaghetti.

 When money for food is pared to the bone however, there’s limited choice of the cheapest foods.  Despite poring over frugal recipes, and scrutinising the value ranges across different supermarkets I still ended up with substantially the same shopping list.

 Now I just needed to buy it.

 Sponsor Josh and me on our Live Below the Line challenge by donating to UNICEF here: 

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