This week we are going Italian, making meatballs and carbonara and other summery dishes. Although there are two meatball dishes, with the meatballs being exactly the same recipe (and being baked in the oven together to save time the next day), I tried to make them quite different. One is a tomato and meatball spaghetti dish, the other a mushroom risotto with meatballs.
With the fresh cod, rosemary, egg-pasta and the oyster mushrooms, costs added up quickly, coming to only a few cents below budget. I was lucky that the green beans were on sale or I would have been a little over budget instead. You can save extra costs by only getting spaghetti and not the more expensive tagliatelle as well, use regular mushrooms instead of the oyster mushrooms, use dried rosemary, frozen cod and a different type of potato. Skip the lemons if you must, and you will find that you can make all dishes almost the same way, but for a 3-4 euro less.
You can find the budget challenge recipes of all weeks under BC Recipes. They are linked below as well; click on the dish names at each day to get forwarded to the corresponding recipe.
My shopping list of this week (if I bought more, the quantity bought is between brackets):
- 230gr cod fillet (355gr)
- 350gr minced beef (500gr)
- 250gr bacon cubes
- 400gr green beans
- 2 leeks
- 1 courgette
- 1 little gem lettuce (pack of two)
- 250gr cherry tomatoes
- 250gr Swiss brown mushrooms
- 150gr oyster mushrooms
- 1 can (400gr) tomatoes
- 2 lemons
- grated Parmesan
- 125ml cooking cream (250ml)
- 190gr spaghetti (500gr)
- 130gr tagliatelle (500gr)
- 465gr baby Roseval potatoes (1kg)
I spent €24.97. This includes the following leftovers: 125gr cod, 150gr minced beef, 1 little gem, 125ml cooking cream, 310gr spaghetti, 370gr tagliatelle, 535gr roseval potatoes.
I used the following items from my pantry this week: 2 eggs, 3 onions, 1 stock cube, breadcrumbs, balsamic vinegar, honey
Plus these standard pantry items: Sunflower oil, butter, salt/pepper, dried herbs (basil, oregano), spices (nutmeg, paprika)
Day 1 – Saturday
Lunch: Lemon Beans with Baked Potatoes
A simple and fresh lunch. If you need something additional, serve with goat cheese or brie.
Pantry items: Butter
Dinner: Cod with Potatoes and Courgette
Although very simple, this makes a great dinner, especially in summer. If you want, use some defrosted frozen cod to decrease the cost, although with a dish such as this, which has no distracting flavours, I can recommend fresh fish for the best result.
Pantry items: Sunflower oil
Day 2 – Sunday
Lunch: Roast Balsamic Vegetables
Balsamic vinegar is a perfect ingredient to add depth to dishes. Unless you are Italian, it is also an underappreciated ingredient I find, but I always have some good balsamic vinegar in my pantry.
Pantry items: Sunflower oil, balsamic vinegar, honey
Dinner: Tagliatelle with Fish and Leek
This fish sauce is enriched with canned tomato, leek, garlic and rosemary. All relatively cheap ingredients. Substitute a cheaper kind of fish for the cod (or use frozen cod which is fine in this sauce) and spaghetti for the egg pasta to decrease the cost.
Pantry items: Butter
Day 3 – Monday
Dinner: Lettuce and Bacon Soup
Lettuce, bacon, mushrooms… soup. Need I say more? Whatever you have available can go ino this dish though.
Pantry items: 1/2 stock cube
Day 4 – Tuesday
Dinner: Meatball Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Fresh Tomatoes
Make the meatballs for today and tomorrow together, to save you time tomorrow.
Pantry items: 1 onion, 1 egg, nutmeg, breadcrumbs, paprika powder
Day 5 – Wednesday
Dinner: Meatball Risotto
With the meatballs baked yesterday, this is a relatively easy dish and won’t take you much time or effort.
Pantry items: Sunflower oil, 1 onion, risotto rice, 1/2 stock cube, dried basil and oregano
Day 6 – Thursday
Dinner: Tagliatelle with Garlic Beans
A very economical dish, without meat or fish, but filling and rewarding none the less.
Pantry items: 1 onion
Day 7 – Friday
Dinner: Spaghetti Carbonara
Finally, another very economical dish, the well known carbonara. Delicious, cheap and so simple to make.
Pantry items: Butter, 1 egg, nutmeg
Grocery costs: €24.97