Yes, You Can Feed Your Family On $100 A Week

With cash leftover for dessert as well.

Feeding a hungry family on a tight budget is no mean feat. The thought of stretching just $100 over a weeks’ worth of dinners might sound impossible, but the truth is it can be done.

"It doesn't seem like a lot of money but it can go a long way," says chef Miguel Maestre.

The secret? It's all about the planning.

"Thinking about what you're going to eat for the whole week before you go to the supermarket will change the whole game," says Miguel.

Maybe you're skilled enough to work that out yourself. But if not, here’s an example of what to buy, and what to cook, to keep a family of four fed for a week. That’s five yummy meals for less than $100, with enough cash leftover for a cheeky dessert as well.

Your shopping list

A quick note about savvy shopping - opting for home-brand or discounted products over their brand-name, premium alternatives is a smart way to lower the bill at the checkout.

1 leek and 1 Lebanese cucumber

1 brown onion and 1 Spanish onion

2 heads of garlic

1 zucchini and 1 bunch asparagus

1 bunch mint and 1 bunch parsley

1 cauliflower and ½ red cabbage

2 lemons and 1 lime

150g baby spinach and 1 punnet cherry tomatoes

900g deboned leg of lamb and 1kg whole chicken

½ free range dozen eggs

500g frozen peas and 1 kg frozen mixed berries

375g tub ricotta and 200g tub of Greek yoghurt

1 x 250g bag grated tasty cheese and 1 x 200g packet feta

1L milk, 300mL thickened cream and 300mL sour cream

1 loaf Turkish bread and 1 packet of 10 small tortillas

1 jar dried oregano, 1 jar smoked paprika and 1 jar ground cinnamon

1kg Arborio rice and 500g bag of spiral pasta

1 x 170g tin tomato paste and 1 x 680g jar passata

1 x 400g can kidney beans and 1 x 425g canned tuna in olive oil

Note: this list doesn’t include basic pantry staples such as sugar, oil, salt, pepper, butter, stock cubes and condiments.

Your weekly menu

Monday: Spring Risotto

A yummy spring risotto. Image: Pinterest/Stacey Findlay

"The secret to a great risotto is to add the stock one ladle at a time so the liquid can fully absorb, and to stir, stir, stir," says Miguel.

Tuesday: BBQ Lamb and Cauliflower

Lamb and cauliflower make a beautiful flavour pairing. Image: Pinterest/macquois

Choosing lamb that's been cut off the bone and spread out flat or 'butterflied' makes it cheaper and tastier - not to mention quicker to cook.

Wednesday: Lamb and Spinach Turkish Pizzas

Miguel's pizza uses leftover lamb from the previous nights' recipe. Image: Pinterest/E D

This Turkish pizza is easy and fun - get the kids involved. research shows that kids who cook their meals will be more willing to eat them - even if their are vegetables involved. It's worth trying anyway.

Thursday: Chicken Tacos

Corn tortillas are a great gluten-free option. Image: Pinterest/Samantha Davis

Miguel suggests cutting a whole chicken into portions to decrease cooking time. And don't forget to save the braising liquid for tomorrow night's dish. And that dish is ...

Friday: Tuna Pasta Bake

Miguel's tip? Drizzle the tuna oil over the top before baking. Image: Pinterest/cjs3145

After frying the cherry tomatoes Miguel adds the braising liquid from last night's dinner for a serious flavour boost. Now that's thrifty and tasty.

Dessert: Rice Pudding With Berry Compote

There's even space left in the budget for a creamy dessert. Image: Pinterest/myfoodbook

This super quick and simple dessert uses any leftover arborio rice from the risotto earlier in the week. Best of all, the pudding is self-saucing thanks to the warm berry syrup. Yum.