Thrifty mother reveals how she can make a roast dinner for 10 people for as little as 74p-a-head

A thrifty mother has revealed how she can make a roast chicken dinner for ten people for as little as 74p per person. 

Jeni Dearing, 44, from Bromley, London, managed to make 132 individual meals for herself and her husband Kevin, and eight-year-old son Ronnie, which lasted the family six weeks – at a cost of £99 or £16.50 a week. 

She her meals by using cupboard essentials from budget supermarkets, vegetables from her local market, and a low-cost meat hamper from musclefood.

The hamper costs £79 and lasts about six weeks, and she spends an additional £20 on cheap fruit and veg from the local market, meaning her spend on lunches and dinners equates to £16.50 a week.  

Jeni, who likes to whip up spaghetti bolognese, chilli con carne and curries, says that batch cooking the meals and adding vegetables before putting them in the freezer cuts down on costs and time. 

Jeni Dearing (back middle) 44, from Bromley, London, spends £99 on food every six week for herself, husband Kevin (middle) and eight-year-old son Ronnie (second left)

Jeni Dearing (back middle) 44, from Bromley, London, spends £99 on food every six week for herself, husband Kevin (middle) and eight-year-old son Ronnie (second left)

Jeni Dearing (back middle) 44, from Bromley, London, spends £99 on food every six week for herself, husband Kevin (middle) and eight-year-old son Ronnie (second left)

A mother-of-one has revealed how she batch cooks for her family-of-three, with each meal costing around 75p and her weekly shop coming to £16.50.

A mother-of-one has revealed how she batch cooks for her family-of-three, with each meal costing around 75p and her weekly shop coming to £16.50.

A mother-of-one has revealed how she batch cooks for her family-of-three, with each meal costing around 75p and her weekly shop coming to £16.50.

She began shopping and cooking frugally around the time her son was born in order to cut down on her household's weekly food shop spend, and documents her cook-ups on her Instagram page. Pictured - Spaghetti and meatballs for five

She began shopping and cooking frugally around the time her son was born in order to cut down on her household's weekly food shop spend, and documents her cook-ups on her Instagram page. Pictured - Spaghetti and meatballs for five

She began shopping and cooking frugally around the time her son was born in order to cut down on her household’s weekly food shop spend, and documents her cook-ups on her Instagram page. Pictured – Spaghetti and meatballs for five

She also uses a £79 musclefood hamper, with the contents including chicken breasts, free range steak burgers, low fat bacon medallions and extra lean pork sausages, as well as a pork pasta meal kit and a chicken tikka masala curry kit.

From her £99 spend, Jeni planned her ingredients and costings before preparing a number of tasty and balanced meals including chicken and sweetcorn noodle soup, bacon and onion pasties, and toad in the hole, for as little as £1.41 per meal.

Jeni also managed to cook and prepare a roast chicken dinner for 10 which worked out at just 74p per head.

She began shopping and cooking frugally around the time her son was born in order to cut down on her household’s weekly food shop spend, and documents her cook-ups on her Instagram page.

Toad in the hole (serves 5) 

12 Lean musclefood sausages – £1.98

2 Eggs – 30p

225ml Milk –  12p

115g Plain flour – 4p

50ml Olil – 5p

400g Carrots – 24p

200g Onions – 14p

300g Frozen peas – 20p

1/2 tin of Sweetcorn, tinned – 20p

20g Gravy granules – 5p

Total: £3.32

Price per head: 66p 

Roast Chicken Dinner (serves 10) 

5 Musclefood chicken – £3.56

400g Sausage meat – 50p

85g Stuffing mix – 17p

2.5 kilos Potatoes – £1.09

50ml Oil – 5p

1 kilo Carrots – 59p

1/3 Savoy cabbage – 50p

907g Frozen peas – 62p

Tinned Sweetcorn – 20p

40g Gravy granules – 11p 

Total: £7.39

Price per head: 74p 

Jeni and husband Kevin also house foreign students that attend a local language college, and often have to provide breakfast and dinner for them too, so prefer to keep costs low where possible.

Since she started to cook in batches, Jeni has saved at least £80 each month on the food shop.

In order to make meals go further, and to make them healthier in general, Jeni bulks out Bolognese and chilli con carne with loads of extra vegetables like onion, celery, carrots and peppers.

Since she started to cook in batches, Jeni has saved at least £80 each month on the food shop. Pictured - Cornish pasties for her family

Since she started to cook in batches, Jeni has saved at least £80 each month on the food shop. Pictured - Cornish pasties for her family

Since she started to cook in batches, Jeni has saved at least £80 each month on the food shop. Pictured – Cornish pasties for her family

In order to make meals go further, and to make them healthier in general, Jeni bulks out Bolognese and chilli con carne with loads of extra vegetables like onion, celery, carrots and peppers.

In order to make meals go further, and to make them healthier in general, Jeni bulks out Bolognese and chilli con carne with loads of extra vegetables like onion, celery, carrots and peppers.

In order to make meals go further, and to make them healthier in general, Jeni bulks out Bolognese and chilli con carne with loads of extra vegetables like onion, celery, carrots and peppers.

Jeni says that shes quite fortunate as her son isn't a fussy eater and that he 'loves his meat and steak night'

Jeni says that shes quite fortunate as her son isn't a fussy eater and that he 'loves his meat and steak night'

Jeni says that shes quite fortunate as her son isn’t a fussy eater and that he ‘loves his meat and steak night’

She also adds tinned beans such as chick peas and butter beans to curries and stews as they’re cheap, filling and absorb the flavour of the meat.

 Jeni said: ‘I started batch cooking around the time my son was born. At the time, we lived in Cornwall, and I found that I just didn’t have the time to go food shopping in the evenings like I used to.

‘Instead, I’d pop to the fruit and veg market once a fortnight and then stock up on other essentials when needed.

‘Now, I tend to prefer to cook healthy, low-calorie meals to keep the pounds off, with lean meat where possible, and lots of veggies.

She also uses a £79 musclefood hamper, with the contents including chicken breasts, free range steak burgers, low fat bacon medallions and extra lean pork sausages, as well as a pork pasta meal kit and a chicken tikka masala curry kit

She also uses a £79 musclefood hamper, with the contents including chicken breasts, free range steak burgers, low fat bacon medallions and extra lean pork sausages, as well as a pork pasta meal kit and a chicken tikka masala curry kit

She also uses a £79 musclefood hamper, with the contents including chicken breasts, free range steak burgers, low fat bacon medallions and extra lean pork sausages, as well as a pork pasta meal kit and a chicken tikka masala curry kit

She pops to the fruit and veg market once a fortnight and then stock up on other essentials when needed

She pops to the fruit and veg market once a fortnight and then stock up on other essentials when needed

She pops to the fruit and veg market once a fortnight and then stock up on other essentials when needed

She also adds tinned beans such as chick peas and butter beans to curries and stews as they're cheap, filling and absorb the flavour of the meat

She also adds tinned beans such as chick peas and butter beans to curries and stews as they're cheap, filling and absorb the flavour of the meat

She also adds tinned beans such as chick peas and butter beans to curries and stews as they’re cheap, filling and absorb the flavour of the meat

‘I’m not one to plan meals weeks in advance, I just buy whatever veg is on offer and great value, then base meals around the veg and grab the meat from the freezer to go with them.

‘For example, if I picked up lots of cheap peppers, courgettes and aubergines from the market, I’ll couple them with chicken breasts or pork from the freezer to make a rogan josh, stir fried pork or Spanish chicken.

‘I’m quite fortunate as my son isn’t a terribly fussy eater. He actually loves his meat and steak night is his favourite, but we didn’t tend to eat lots of it as it can get quite costly in the supermarkets.

Toad in the hole (serves 5)

12 Lean musclefood sausages – £1.98

2 Eggs – 30p

225ml Milk –  12p

115g Plain flour – 4p

50ml Olil – 5p

400g Carrots – 24p

200g Onions – 14p

300g Frozen peas – 20p

1/2 tin of Sweetcorn, tinned – 20p

20g Gravy granules – 5p

Total: £3.32

Price per head: 66p

 

 Roast Chicken Dinner (serves 10)

5 Musclefood chicken – £3.56

400g Sausage meat – 50p

85g Stuffing mix – 17p

2.5 kilos Potatoes – £1.09

50ml Oil – 5p

1 kilo Carrots – 59p

1/3 Savoy cabbage – 50p

907g Frozen peas – 62p

Tinned Sweetcorn – 20p

40g Gravy granules – 11p 

Total: £7.39

Price per head: 74p

Jenni's son with their delivery of meat from Muscle food every month - something which helps them save

Jenni's son with their delivery of meat from Muscle food every month - something which helps them save

Jenni’s son with their delivery of meat from Muscle food every month – something which helps them save

She also shared her tips on buying meat saying: ‘It’s always worth buying lower fat, quality meat as it means you’re not wasting money draining off fat to throw away. 

‘One of my favourite things to do is chuck a load of chicken in the slow cooker and leave it throughout the day – then you’ve got lots of portions of shredded chicken which goes with pretty much anything.

Chicken bao buns (serves 6) 

200g Musclefood chicken breasts -70p 

550 Plain flour – 18p 

4 tablespoons Hoisin sauce – 30p 

1 sachet dried instant yeast – 8p 

100ml Milk – 6p 

1 tablespoon Sugar – 1p 

1 Carrot – 6p 

2 Spring onions – 2p 

Total: £1.41 

Price per head: 23p 

‘I also used the lean beef mince to cook a big batch of Bolognese which I then portioned up with pasta and popped in the freezer. Each portion worked out at about 250kcals, so it’s a balanced and easy option to pull out for a quick lunch throughout the day.

‘It also goes without saying, but I’d always recommend scouring your yellow aisles too. I managed to pick up some sausage meat for just 50p which I used for a roast dinner.’

 Jeni added: ‘One of the most important reasons I batch cook, as well as to save money, is to save time.

‘Batch cooking also means we’re not as tempted to have a takeaway because there’s always a few curries ready and waiting in the freezer – meaning we save more that way, too.’ 

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