A savvy mum cooks 100 meals for 57 pence a portion

CHEAP MEAL: Lorna Cooper gave her top tips for feeding the family on the cheap

A savvy mum has shared how she cooks delicious meals for her family of four for just 57p per serving.

Lorna Cooper was able to cook 100 meals using a £59 value basket from MuscleFood. She was able to prepare a number of hearty dishes in five weeks to serve to her husband John and two children.

Lorna, 46, became a savvy shopper and cook nine years ago when a back injury forced her to stop working. The loss of her income forced her to expand her family food store. Her Facebook community, Feed Your Family, has more than 500,000 followers who turn to Lorna for savvy deals, tips and tricks to grow their money and meals while sharing theirs.

The Paisley-based mum is now a best-selling author with her book Feed Your Family for £20 a week and creates free weekly meal plans for around £20 a week which she shares with her audience. Lorna prepared a range of hearty meals for two adults and two children and bulked up the dishes using things like lentils, beans and vegetables to make the most of her basket.

Among the cooked items were two lasagnes, which cost a total of £5.20, two cottage pies which cost a total of £4.58 and a sausage chilli which cost £4.80.

Part of Lorna’s Meal Prep

When discussing the Value Hamper, Lorna said, “Good meat doesn’t need too much added flavor and the quality of MuscleFood’s Value Hamper meats are amazing value for money.

“I often find that meats bought from the supermarket shrink a lot when cooked and release a lot of water – both signs that the meat is heavily processed.

“The meats in the value basket were great in size and didn’t shrink at all when cooked – the chicken and sausages in particular were huge. So much bigger than the packs you can buy in stores.”

The key to making the basket even longer, she says, is to bulk up the dishes with things like vegetables, lentils and even oats.

When making her cottage pie, Lorna added boiled oats to thicken the dish, meaning she was able to make the ground meat go even further.

More delicious meals for 57p per serving

Lorna said: “Adding oats to a dish is actually an old trick from our ancestors. It thickens the meal and anyone who eats it will barely tell the difference between oats and meat because they are cooked together.

“Another way to fatten up a meal is to cut the meat. Round up a typical pasta dish by cutting up a few sausages. No one will know exactly how much is in it, visually it will look like a lot more has been added.

“It’s the same with chicken, personally I like to shred it and once it’s done it looks like there’s so much. It’s perfect to use as a sandwich filler voluminous!”

Here are Lorna’s top three tips for feeding families on a budget:

Always batch cook 2 meals – if you’re making a lasagna on a Sunday night for the week ahead, why not make another one for the freezer. It will take the same time to cook two as it does to cook one and you will save gas and energy in the long run.

Fill the freezer – it’s cheaper to run a freezer full of food than an empty one, so you might as well freeze your meats and other foods to help them last longer. Lorna suggests cooking something like a whole chicken and taking it out of the freezer as you need it to cut your cooking time in the week almost in half!

Create a price index in your head – Lorna advises keeping last week’s receipt and going to a new supermarket with it. In this way, you will be able to compare the prices of products from different stores and, eventually, you will know exactly which products are cheaper and from which store.

The latest budget baskets have been designed by MuscleFood to help Britons struggling with the current cost of living crisis. There are options costing £45 or £59 available. The £59 basket includes a total of 7.3kg of quality lean meats such as ground beef, beef steak, pork sausages and chicken breasts and is designed to cook 66 meals for less than 90p per serving.

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A savvy mum cooks 100 meals for 57 pence a portion

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