5 nights of family suppers

Feel stuck in a rut with weekday family meals? We've worked out a five-night plan of satisfying, child-friendly food that everyone can enjoy together – and on a budget too.

When it comes to cooking on a budget, planning your meals in advance means you can maximise the use of your ingredients and minimise waste. Cooking separate meals for different members of the family not only creates a lot of work, but can easily rack up the expense of your weekly shop. We've chosen these recipes for their taste, simplicty and family-friendly qualities. Simply scroll down to view our handy weekly shopping list, as well as things to check your store cupboard for.

Turkey burgersMONDAY

Turkey burgers with sweet potato chips

Welcome the kids home from school with scrumptious homemade burgers, and you are sure to be popular. Turkey thigh mince is a lean but flavoursome meat, simply shape into patties with cheese and spring onions, and serve in healthier wholemeal buns. This hearty meal will count as one of your five-a-day and is high in fibre, iron and vitamin C. We're betting on clean plates all round.

Turkey burgers with sweet potato chips


Smoked haddock & sweetcorn chowder with herby garlic bread 

A creamy, wholesome soup that is a great way of getting fussy eaters to eat fish. Serve with buttery homemade garlic baguette and plenty of parsley for the ultimate warming supper.

Smoked haddock & sweetcorn chowder with herby garlic bread


Cauliflower & bacon pasta

What do you get if you add cauliflower cheese to pasta and bacon? Comfort food heaven. This creamy gratin will have everyone round the table in no time. And it's one of your five-a-day, high in calcium, folate and vitamin C. 

Cauliflower & bacon pasta


Oven-baked ratatouille & sausages

Pack in two of your five-a-day with sweet roast onions, courgettes and red peppers, then serve in a tomato sauce alongside sizzling pork sausages. A seriously tasty Thursday night supper.

Oven-baked ratatouille & sausage


Chicken & sweet potato curryChicken & sweet potato curry

Nothing says Friday night like a beautiful homemade curry, and this one will kick a takeaway to the curb. It's flavour-packed but mild enough for kids. It takes just ten minutes of preparation - so plenty of time to enjoy the beginning of the weekend with the family.

Chicken & sweet potato curry

Shopping list

Fruit & veg

2 spring onions
1.5kg / 3lb 5oz sweet potatoes
1/4 x cucumber (or 1 small Lebanese cucumber)
 2 x salad to serve with Turkey burgers and Cauliflower & bacon pasta (optional)
3 onions and 8 garlic cloves
small pack flat-leaf parsley
1 cauliflower
3 courgettes
1 red pepper
100g bag baby spinach


Meat, fish and dairy
500g / 1Ib 2oz turkey thigh mince
225g / 8oz cheddar
300g / 11oz streaky bacon
300g / 11oz smoked haddock
8 large pork sausages
450g / 1Ib boneless, skinless chicken thighs


Dry goods and bakery
5 soft wholemeal rolls
325g can sweetcorn
1 baguette
300g / 11oz dried pasta shapes
2 x 400g cans tomatoes
165g jar korma paste


Check your storecupboard and fridge
7 tbsp olive oil
tomato ketchup
400ml / 14 fl oz chicken stock
200g / 7oz potatoes
25g plain flour, plus 2 tbsp
900ml / 1.5pts milk
about 165g / 6oz butter
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp sunflower oil
basmati rice

Did you try our meal plan? We'd would love to hear how you got on. Or do you have any tips for eating on a budget? 


Comments, questions and tips

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1st May, 2014
@ Lily Barclay: As a "senior food writer", you really ought to know how to spell 'separately and 'preparation'.
toothfairy79's picture
9th Apr, 2014
When buying fresh herbs I often buy them and freeze them in zip lock bags or mixed into butter in ice cube trays. As I find I use very little of a packet or plant before they go bad. Adding them from frozen when cooking works well. They can be expensive to buy when on a budget. I also freeze meat bones/fish skins etc for making stocks. If I have time I make stocks and freeze them in plastic containers.
19th Mar, 2014
Could we have some vegetarian suggestions too. There are quite a lot of us you know!
9th Mar, 2014
Great idea. I would appreciate more weekly menus.
28th Feb, 2014
Love this. It would be. Great if you could sign up for these meal planners specifically. The shopping list is ace too as well as the recipes
30th Jan, 2014
I am going to do this next week - this is exactly what I have been looking for years for, so thank you. Please can you do more meal plans?
13th Nov, 2013
I have followed this meal planner this week and so far it's been amazing. It's so easy and there has been little wastee, which is great. I normally trawl through cookery books each week to make varied, family friendly meals. If the shopping list could be ordered directly from online supermarkets and if you could design another 51 of these, with a few puddings thrown in, my life would be complete ; -).
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