With food prices shooting up along with the rest of our bills, families are understandably wanting to cut back where they can. Homemade meals are often a fair bit cheaper than ready meals, especially when you can cook in bulk, and having a Sunday dinner doesn’t have to break the bank.
In fact Tesco has been plugging its own meal plans to show just how cheap shoppers can make them on a budget. The supermarket shared its ingredients for spaghetti bolognaise, working out at £3.37 for four, and its sausage and mash at £2.76 for four.
But the one that’s impressed shoppers the most is the roast dinner – at £4.60 for four. I decided to give this one a go to see what the family thought.
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The shopping list includes a whole chicken, a bag of carrots, a bag of parsnips, some frozen roast potatoes and a tub of gravy. All were among Tesco’s Aldi Price Match products, including its budget Willow Farm whole chicken at £2.89 and Stockwell & Co gravy, at 30p for a 200g tub.
There’s no debating it’s cheap as chips for a roast dinner and Tesco is certainly playing it safe with its ‘feeds four’ claim. We easily got five dinners from it and that was with some carrots – and obviously most of the gravy – leftover.
Sot. at 92p a head, how does it taste? Well, pretty good actually. We’ve had the chicken before, so it was no surprise to find out that it tastes pretty much like any other chicken really.
I always cook it in the slow cooker anyway so it’s always tender with the meat easily falling off the bones. The carrots and parsnips were tasty too, especially roasted for a change rather than our usual boiled.
As for the gravy, I was pleasantly surprised. Let’s be honest, at 30p a tub, most of us probably wouldn’t be expecting the best. In fact it was pretty tasty and I didn’t need to use too much of it for the thicker consistency we prefer.
My only complaint was the spuds. There was certainly enough of them – 800g in fact. And as we were eating the roast midweek, the fact they were frozen and ready to go straight in the oven made the prep time quicker.
But sadly they don’t compare with homemade roasties and most ended up being left on the side of the plate. And, when you can buy a whopping 2.5kg bag of potatoes for just 89p to make your own, there’s little sense in buying the ready made ones when you’re paying the price in every sense.
Overall though it’s definitely a thumbs up. And if you can add some cheap greens too – and get the kids to eat them – you’re definitely onto a winner with this one.
Here’s the full shopping list for the budget roast
- Roast potatoes 800g 60p
- Carrots 1kg 39p
- Parsnip 500g 42p
- Chicken 1.2kg-1.6kg £2.89
- Gravy 200g 30p
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.